Asymptotic Algorithms That Are Ruining Your Friendships

The Facebook video…

Yeah, you know the one I’m talking about.


If you don’t, then here goes. Recently, Mark Zuckerberg’s adorable underlings ominously compiled 15 images and moments from each of its Facebook user’s history, all set to uncool music. The look-back video (which is what the kids are calling it) is probably one of those things that seemed like a really good idea at the time, like throwing your empty vodka handles over the balcony at the sorority house across the street.

With the genesis of these personalized flashback videos Facebook has created to celebrate its decennial; I’m left wondering if it’s all just a big joke. Like, why is the Facebook team doing this now? Who decided it would be a good idea to cajole me to step back and take a look at the eight-long-years of my participation in this social media experiment?
My paranoia with this may or may not stem from having watched too many Ryan Trecartin videos. But, with that aside, one thing that I am sure of is the disgust I felt immediately after having watched my look-back video. I wanted to choke on a garbage bag of dicks. Basically, I was inundated with visual reminders of how I cowardly let myself become saddled with drive-by friendships throughout the years.

Drive-by friendships as in the people still floating around on your friend’s list from your tubby days who sometimes comment ironically on things you post, only to realize their sardonic undertones actually feel like rusty metaphors with sharp teeth.

Watching the look-back video made me wonder how much it really means to keep these drive-by friendships in my life. Do I keep them around to encourage social cohesion within my friend group? Or is it because I secretly hope they will post something heinous so that I can finally have an excuse to delete them?

Seeing this video shook me, and not because it was revolutionary in any way really, but because it made me recognize that I can choose how I react to these drive-by friendships, which is now really clear to me: DELETE. I have literally become too much of a virtual yenta anyway, wanting to know everything about everyone from every picture they post on every-god-damn-trip they make out of the country.

It doesn’t seem healthy anymore to want hold onto the fragile friendships that were tenuously shaped by my real-life interaction with them anyway. In many ways, I realized I should stop caring about the passive aggressive tactics people use to let me know they are mad at me (like hiding posts I’ve put on their wall, or flat out deleting them).
With the freedom Facebook has allotted me, ultimately, comes responsibility …something the look-back video made very clear to me. But, if there is anything this thinly veiled marketing campaign has done, it’s made me acknowledge that Facebook isn’t reeaaaallly ruining my friendships, it’s just obliquely altering them. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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