Scrubbing the Likes

Do you delete your old social media posts?

These things were meant to be ephemeral, right? Blips of consciousness that would be gone in an instant.

But the value of Facebook, Twitter et al – their market value – is of course based on retaining all that instantaneous, inconsequential information. Accreting an ever more detailed data picture of you: your life, loves, needs and desires. Your political leanings

Which is why FB and Twitter make it ball-achingly hard to delete those old posts. The “post” button is large and easily accessible, the delete option hidden in sub-menus and shrouded in a mass of confirmation pop-ups.

And deleted posts have a habit of lingering, depending on how you search for them. My Twitter profile currently shows two pages of tweets, but the counter tells me I still have 1,200 of the bastards, lingering out there like the half-baked nonsense that they were. Are.

My old posts are embarrassing, mildly, but offensive to me alone. They ARE inconsequential. But I still believe that if they’re ephemeral, they should eventually disappear, like a fart in a gentle breeze. Deleting them though, takes ten times as long as making them in the first place.

It feels vaguely psychotic, going through and unliking friends’ updates, deleting tags on old party pictures. It’s obsessive, a collosal waste of time, and feels like the world’s most passive aggressive gesture – if, of course, your friends were even to notice. I *hope* none of my connections regularly audits the likes on old posts to see who has retracted their previous tiny endorsements and affirmations.

And it’s one thing to delete a like of a funny status update. Birthday wishes, well, will they really be missed? Congratulations on a birth, that’s a little harder. And messages of support after bereavement? That one I have trouble with.

The fast track of course is to delete your account. But while I’m happy to delete an entire blog (and they do all get deleted, sooner or later), abandoning an FB or Twitter account would mean losing all those connections – connections which would be a huge pain to remake when setting up a new account.

I don’t know what the answer is here. Am trying to wean myself off that g–d– Like button. (Woo.) Otherwise I’m stuck in a timesuck loop of manually deleting old posts, which I hate, but not quite as much as leaving all that data up there for FB in particular to monetise.

Seriously, can’t we just start paying for this shit? $0.99c a month? Hell, I’d pay the full dollar if it came with a bulk delete button.


Death to the Comma (Dath to _)

Barker_The Forbidden

So it’s been doing the rounds over the past week or so, Prof John McWhorter’s contention that the humble comma could sling its hook and perish, without any of us feeling any adverse effects. After all, some people don’t use commas when they tweet. (People skip a lot of stuff in tweets. Things they don’t always use include: full stops; spaces between words; the letters “aughing y ss ff” w.r.t. the phrase LMAO; and basic common decency when addressing other human beings. But let’s gloss over that for the moment.)

Of course it’s a wonderful idea to do away with the comma. It’s elegant effective and definitely doesn’t make you sound like you’re talking in a manic rush but why stop there?

The letter E is so omnipresent in English that you have to wonder how many humanity hours could be saved by eliminating its use from the language. Yes some words would look “strang” at least at first but if you’re struggling to make sense of a word all you have to do is reinsert letter Es at every point where your comprehension breaks down.

It’s rally a marvllous ida and on that I could nvr hv arrivd at myslf without having bn shown th way by th prcptiv and groundbraking work of Profssor McWhortr.