Saturday 1 February 2014

Enough already

OK, so I'm a boring old... person. But I'm getting a mite tired of seeing "I got... [insert Muppet character, place to live, musicals]" on my timeline.

I laughed at the first few. Joined in with one or two. Giggled at a few friends' results (my husband getting Oklahoma - which he hates - as his musical was worth a smile).

But this morning, I lost patience. Of the first ten postings on my timeline, FIVE were the results of one or other of these quizzes. Yup, half my news for the day. And they all came from a site called Buzzfeed.

It's not a virus ("going viral" being, of course, something totally different). Yes, it's making great use of other people's material, and yes, what it posts is often pretty trite, but that's not a crime. It is a highly successful corporate initiative, making, it would appear, serious amounts of money for the folks behind it (as does Facebook), and good on them for that. It's no more (or less) offensive in the 'information' it provides than a lightweight magazine or freebie newspaper. This article gives a bit more detail.

However, my main problem is that it's drowning my timeline.

I like Facebook. But I like it for knowing what my friends (and yes, they are real friends) are genuinely doing and thinking. I like it to keep me informed about local events and about what old colleagues are doing now and about triumphs and challenges. I like it for learning and inspiring and understanding and introducing. And I'd prefer my newsfeed not to be flooded with results of quizzes that are, broadly speaking, entirely pointless. I'd sooner know about your new family member, whether feline, canine or human, than which animal your personality type (might) identify you with.

So: I've hidden the Buzzfeed postings. You can do this very easily with any application (or person): click on the down arrow top right of any posting, and you'll get a set of options. They vary depending on whether it's posted by a page, an application or a person, but the gist is the same: you can block. In this particular case, I was able to choose "Hide all posts from Buzzfeed".

NB: If I ever feel that I'm seriously missing out on vital 'buzz' and want to welcome the posts back, it's easy. Hover over the pencil icon next to the Newsfeed link on the left of the page, choose Edit, and find the item you've 'banned', and click on the x to remove it from the list.

Finally: you can do this with any page, person or app. Let's say that you happen to be one of my friends on Facebook and you get tired of seeing what I post ("not another 'photo of the day', please..."), but you don't want to actually unfriend me: the same procedures apply. Just hide my posts from your timeline, but you can always drop by my profile if you are curious about whether I'm still being annoying at a later date.

Oh, and if you're interested: my musical was A Chorus Line. You know, the one with a bolshy character called Cassie who muscles in where she's not wanted? That one.