I’ve been reading a lot about people who are none too pleased with the algorithms used to create Facebook’s “Year in Review” App.
When I first saw these popping up on other people’s Facebook pages, I thought I couldn’t wait until it showed up on mine. I love these little things, because I love my life and the people in it. I thought I would see pictures of my lovely daughter’s smiling face, my husband and I at Disney World, family celebrations and quiet nights with friends.
I got something very different. The first picture I saw was innocuous- a seven year-old picture of my husband and I at our wedding, sharing the first bite of cake. My mouth is in an open, mischievous smile as I fork some into his mouth, tilted upward. One of my favorite pictures. How could I not click on it to see what my year had for me?
The next picture was very different. The caption read “Finally home. Now the hard work begins.” There I am next to my husband on our bench, my hair wet from the shower I just had, the first one I had had in weeks. My smile is forced and lopsided, my eyes blank. Facebook, in all its infinite wisdom, decided that what I needed to remember most about my year was what I had tried the hardest to forget; that I was hospitalized, that I almost died, that my husband and parents had to take care of me like I was a child, that they had to plan for a future without me.
The other pictures were the same. Me in a hospital gown, my head covered with gauze and wires. Recovering at my house, were I had to be under constant surveillance. Pictures surrounded by colorful balloons and stick figures celebrating my horrible year.
The standard text for these posts is “it’s been a great year! Thanks for being a part of it.” I immediately changed “great” to “terrible.” But then I felt a strange obligation to temper that, to not make others realize how sad the whole thing had made me. So I added “j/k, only half of it was terrible.”
And that’s mostly the truth.