Image via Pixabay
We’re not sure exactly when it happened, but Facebook has become completely obsessed with “life events”.
Because apparently it’s not enough to flood the Newsfeed with status updates about the weather and over-filtered photos of yesterday’s brunch, the social media site is eagerly prompting users to document the milestones in their life – graduations, babies, relationships, breakups, big moves, overseas trips, and now, weight loss.
Most Facebook users aren’t aware of this. But if you look a bit closer, you’ll see the site’s hunger for intimate details is bordering on creepy – for instance, it encourages you to lay out your entire medical and nutritional history. Exactly what you want all your exes, awkward relatives and classmates you haven’t seen in nine years to scroll through, right?
We’re not kidding. Take a moment to visit the “update info” section of your profile. If you click “Add a life event”, you’ll be presented with a drop down menu of significant moments you may like to add to your timeline. As you can see below, the Health & Wellbeing menu is rather… comprehensive (kudos to the keen eyes over at Bustle for bringing this to our attention).
Time to get updatin', folks - after all, no Facebook profile is complete without "Had braces removed, 2002" and "Broke wrist, 1997". You're not limited to the options on the list, either. So if you're dying to tell everyone about that one time you caught gastro in India, go right ahead and create your own health "life event", then sit back and wait for the 'likes' to flow in.
You may have also noticed that "Weight Loss" also features on the list. Despite reports that it's a new thing, this function has been available since 2011, according to a Facebook spokesperson - although perhaps it just wasn't as clear as it is now.
As you can see, filling in this milestone isn't as simple as "Woohoo, my gym membership is working and I feel great!" Facebook encourages you to tell your friends list everything: where you did it, who you did it with, exactly how much you lost and the back story behind your body transformation, all accompanied with before and after photos.
It's like being the face of a weight loss brand without getting any monetary benefits.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with being proud of losing weight after working really hard to do so, and wanting to share that with mates. That's awesome and empowering. But on the other hand, in a world where mixed messages about weight and health abound, we're not sure why Facebook is trying to draw these stories out of its users. Are people obliged to create a new event if they put some of the weight back on? And what effect might an influx of "weight stories" have on users who are struggling with body image issues or eating disorders?
We'll just stick to stalking our exes and begrudging anyone who's on a tropical island, thanks.
What do you think of this feature - is it encouraging or potentially damaging?