Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Facebook Gets Creepier

What a slow, odd li'l morning it has been. I must not have slept well because I feel bleary, and have a pounding headache immediately behind my left eye. In a grumpy fit, I cast my eye glasses aside like the iron mask in Sukeban Deka (which is the original literary reference for that image, I am sure…) and now I am walking around wondering where my 18 year old vision went. When exactly did I become old, and is there a homeopathic remedy for it? Something that doesn't involve beet juice, perhaps?

Instead of diving into my novel, I ate, then poked around Facebook while waiting for the food to kick in. That's when I noticed something. Why are these people in my preferred friends list? Do I even interact with them? Are these people the ones looking at my profile or can I select which faces peer out at the world from my page? Maybe there's a way to fix it, and in an ADHD flash of sudden energy I was off.

According to this article, Facebook claims that this is NOT a list of people cyberstalking you. They claim that it is a random selection from the top 50 people you have interacted with in the past month and a half.

So it's a list of the people YOU stalk?

Not exactly. Perhaps the Featured Friends is meant to be a wide composite list of stalkers and stalkees, but in practice it tends to only show the same group of people. Some of these people I have NOT interacted with in the past month and a half, and the other people have not interacted with me in that same period, but I *have* visited some of their profiles.

There is an author on the list who I have liked comments of, but who hasn't commented or liked anything from me for months. There is one guy there who I posted a "Happy Birthday" to a while ago, but who has never commented on any of my posts that I can remember. He doesn't even update his page anymore. And then there is one guy who I invited to join a writers group last February who has never, ever replied to me. Is he stalking me, lurking behind the scenes and taking notes for a tell all article on when I'm rich, famous, and foolish? Obviously not, but why is he there?

If you click on the hidden pencil icon next to the list, you can refresh that page and watch the list of Featured Friends faces change. You will likely recognize people you remember chatting back and forth with, for example, yesterday. But the friend list on the profile doesn't change and doesn't reflect people I have regular conversations with.

There was that girl who unfriended me last week who was always in my Featured Friends list. Whenever she changed her profile pic I would click on it to see what she had been up to. Who knows why Facebook put her face there? She never posted a comment on anything I wrote, but the only reason I knew she unfriended me was because her face wasn't popping up on my profile anymore. Makes me wonder whose poor page has my ugly gob popping up over and over again and if they think I'm stalking them.



And a complete waste of time. But this little exercise did the trick and I'm now writing and not so grumpy and ready to work on my book.

Follow me on Twitter for my ADHD escapades at @SplinteredMind or my novel writing project over at @DouglasCootey. And if you're a glutton for punishment you can friend me on Facebook as well.