On Facebook, a few days ago, I noticed a weird trend. All of a sudden, I’d been getting a new type of notification. I posted about it, and got a ton of replies:
For years, inside of facebook, I argued that the app could help deepen friendships instead of just cataloging them. What about a “people who used to be close to, who you haven’t messaged [or commented on their posts] for a while, feature”? How about proactively helping heal cross-cutting cleavages by reminding you that you’re friends with people of identity X?
I have no inside knowledge here, but something weird has been happening on my facebook lately. I keep getting notifications that “person X has posted”, where person X keeps changing. Is someone on the inside finally trying to make it happen?
But this new feature has problems. It’s a good idea, but I’m not sure it’s implemented well. Why are these notifications and not feed units? If you change the behavior of the app, you’d want the initial interactions with the new feature to be of high quality, yet they typically link to low-quality posts. And rather than an invitation to reconnect with a person, they are an invitation to view that person’s posts, with no explanation.
Typically, when fb notifications start pushing something that isn’t directly tied to me (“person X commented on your post, Y people liked a post”) I click the ignore button a few times. Then the system learns, and they stop. It’s been over a week, and these notification units keep coming. Either I’m in a half-baked A/B test, or someone really, really, is pushing this new feature. If I’m right, I salute the impulse. But the implementation is not ready for prime time.
Is it just me? Am I the only one seeing these? Or are y’all getting this too?FB post here
The whole episode got me thinking. Can I break out of my normal habits and use, say, Facebook, in ways that make me happier? I already cut out all pages and groups, but maybe I could do more.
So I spent ten minutes looking through stories on FB Messenger / IG, and replying enthusiastically to slices of life from old friends. It was … invigorating. It’s easy for me to type up thoughts. But maybe the real key to internet happiness is just cooing over a cute baby.
In that vein, here’s a picture of Sarah and me dressing up for new years, right before we started an epic battle in Gloomhaven. No big idea, just a little glimpse of a life.