Facebook Year In Review: I Won’t Participate in a Fake Showcase

The near end of another calendar year means Facebook is showing you your “year in review” — a Facebook-made highlight reel of this past year featuring your “most liked” photos and videos. But is it?

The answer is simply, no.

I am convinced Facebook’s algorithm is designed to highlight what seem to be happy memories and not sad. I get it. It makes sense that photos of recently lost loved ones would trigger a flood of emotions around an already emotionally charged season. However, I need to point out, not everyone’s life looks the same. Let me repeat that louder for the folks in the back. NOT EVERYONE’S LIFE LOOKS THE SAME.

For me, I want to be as authentic as possible. I hate that social media is a highly edited, airbrushed version of life. A lack of authenticity will only leave you feeling alone and isolated. Life is not photo perfect. Life is messy and unpredictable; that is what makes it so exciting. And when you open up, you will find more often than not, you are not alone in your thoughts, worries, stresses, etc.

My life is far from a magazine spread. I am not your typical mom. I have kids who spend far too much time in hospitals to be typical. I have children with chronic health issues. I have a child with a prominent disability. This is my life. It may not look like your life and that is OK. If my life makes the masses uncomfortable or sad, that is not my problem, and I refuse to apologize for it. My life, my family, is beautiful.

I want my year-end highlight reel to include our real life, and the victories we had, no matter how unconventional they are.

Facebook thought my highlight reel should feature:

  • A photo of my youngest daughter playing.
  • A snarky weather report that told me I live too far from Miami to be a Golden Girl.
  • A video of my youngest son using a fork.
  • A photo of my older children’s first day of school.

Some of those items are fine. The video of my youngest son with a fork is absolutely a great memory. It was huge for him. However it was not my most liked video, which is how it was labeled. Here are the highlights I want to remember from 2019:

  • I changed an ostomy bag for the last time ever, and everyone pooped from his/her butt.
  • Two of my children learned a new sport – baseball!
  • My eldest daughter broke her arm.
  • My youngest son, for the first time in his life, had the ability to move around thanks to an adaptive toy car.
  • My eldest son got a crazy hair style.
  • All four of my children had a great summer of fun, and spent most of their days by the pool.
  • My youngest daughter remained spirited while battling cancer.

These are the events of my life. These are the times that matter to me. All these memories I want to look back and see highlighted, were shared with friends and family on Facebook. Many of them had significantly more likes or reactions than what made the highlight reel; the reel I can’t add content to; the reel that doesn’t acknowledge the struggles that make our happy memories meaningful. After all, I’m not asking Facebook to help me remember 2019 as the year 75 percent of my children had surgery…at the same hospital…within a four-month span. I’m not asking to remember this as the year I was told another one of my children had cancer.

All I’m asking is they make the algorithm smarter, or give people more control over the highlight reel’s content.

Author: Momming Good Bad Ugly

Leslie is a stay at home mom of four - two girls and two boys, including a set of twins. In another life she worked in healthcare public affairs, and spent the her first seven years of motherhood working outside the home. Motherhood is nothing like she anticipated. She began writing again to both process the curve balls her children throw, and to drown out a decade's worth of animated programming.