As a customer of your Facebook and Instagram services I wish to provide you with the following feedback and possible improvements to your services.
Whilst Facebook is far from perfect and your recent changes are particularly irritating (and already well documented everywhere) I still thank you for this service which enables me to keep in contact with relatives and friends all around the world. Admittedly, there is more of a tendency to share distressing world news or other people's stories nowadays instead of the preferable 2006-style model of updating statuses with the riveting details of ones day such as "Melanie is now eating a lobster and enjoying it very much". However, since joining "The Whippet Appreciation Society" facebook page, the emotional distress incurred as a result of bad news bombardment has been alleviated substantially. Sandwiched between inflammatory political rants and the horrific stories of children in detention centres are now cute photos of Whippets which really takes the edge off all of the bad news and has elevated my Facebook experience enormously.
|Image by Paul Croes|
It puts a smile on your face doesn't it?
Whilst I would never want to be blind to the atrocities of the world, I feel the old fashioned practice of popping on the TV for the 6.30 pm news or a quick read through a reputable news source just once a day is enough, although the latter is fast becoming a thing of fiction too is it not?
Suffice to say, I am happy to continue utilising Facebook at my leisure. Each of my 346 Friends are indeed friends and people I know in real life, except for 5 bloggers that I have not met yet but let's face it, after 4 years of reading their blogs I feel like I know them more intimately than that girl I went to school with in Year 1. My main point here is that I know all of these people and the practice of "unfollowing" or "unfriending" either doesn't happen or there is a perfectly acceptable reason for the "unfriending" such as the ex-husband of a girlfriend running off with the secretary and wishing to cut ties with his ex-wife and all of her friends. Hypothetically speaking, of course.
Which brings me to Instagram and the main reason for my letter. Despite Instagram being an overall enjoyable and positive experience, this one pesky business of "unfollowing" has been the source of some minor distress over the years but I think I've found an easy solution which may help the more sensitive souls of the world - "the Exit Survey".
The Exit Survey is similar to the ones you go through with an employer upon leaving a job in an attempt to leave both sides feeling all warm and fuzzy regardless of whether you have been sacked for misconduct or decided to throw in the towel in a disgruntled huff. I'm sure you are familiar with this practice Mr Zuckerberg being the CEO of some 70,000 employees.
The "Exit Survey" will give the Instagram user a multiple choice list of reasons they are about to unfollow someone, which will then be sent to the person unfollowed. Whilst this may be unpleasant, it would be preferable to the moments of life wasted wondering why you have been unfollowed - "have I done something to upset them?", "was it that photo of the gumtree that tipped them over the edge?" or "was I absent from Instagram for too long?". Upon pressing the "unfollow" button there would first be a prompt that says "are you sure you wish to unfollow X?" which would at the outset prevent 2-year olds from mindlessly unfollowing half of your followers by accident, a situation that has been known to happen around these parts. If you confirm "yes" to the prompt then you would be directed to a series of multiple choice reasons for unfollowing.
To assist, I have made a start on your survey following a brief conversation with 2 girlfriends over coffee this morning as to possible reasons one would want to unfollow someone:
"I have unfollowed you because:
a) I have left the world of Instagram and deleted my account.
b) You unfollowed me.
c) I followed you but you never bothered to follow me back and I prefer my social media exchanges to be based on mutually beneficial friendships, except if you are Sam Heughan. Sam does not need to follow back.
d) I no longer have an interest in taxidermy/antique lace/hermit crabs [insert former hobby here].
e) You are a robot and not a real person. I only want to be social with humans.
f) I used to find you inspiring but if I see another photo of your Sunset/Rose/Offspring/House/Lifestyle [insert object of beauty here] I'm going to poke my eyes out with a fork. I'm insanely jealous and can't bear to see another photo of that again. It's me, not you.
g) Your curated life and the hours you spent arranging your raisins on the plate with that whimsical caption was verging on the ridiculous. It's you, not me.
h) I only want to see beautiful photos with horizons that are horizontal. I'm sure you're a wonderful person. Let's still have coffee.
i)You are now posting too many photos a day and clogging up my feed so that in the 2 minutes I allow for scrolling I can't see the photos of everyone else's breakfast or laundry drying on the line. I still love you.
j) You have bought followers and I find this action a bit weird and I no longer feel the same about you.
k) I followed you because of that photo you posted of the Sloth eating the Strawberry but ever since that photo all you post are photos of stairwells. I wanted more sloth.
l) You haven't "liked" or "commented" enough on my photos and I need more interaction from you.
m) You are "liking" and "commenting" too much and too soon on every single one of my photos and I find this behaviour a little stalkerish and needy. I can't cope with it anymore.
n) I followed you when you displayed an interest in my product/workshop/service etc but once you handed over your hard-earned cash I didn't need to follow you anymore. That's business, sorry.
n) You unfollowed me after taking my money and I have an ethical problem with you now. That's a very odd business strategy if ever there was so I need to unfollow you.
o) None of the above. I have no idea why I want to unfollow you. I follow and unfollow willy nilly without any thought or emotional attachment to the person behind the photos. It's just Instagram. Harden up Princess.
p) Your comments and responses on each of your photos are the length of a novel and clogging up my feed. You seem very chatty, have you thought about blogging?
What do you think Mr Zuckerberg? This new era of social media is a tricksy thing to navigate. Perhaps it's only natural to feel a bit cynical about it as the years go on.
I still remain your loyal customer,
PS: Here is someone else with some interesting thoughts on technology, AKA "who pleases me today, who shall I delete"