Some ideas fail because they were bad in subtle, complex ways that weren’t obvious at launch. Others… are Facebook Secret Crush.
The app, which has already rolled out in some countries and is due to come to the U.S., has lunch stains on its tie from the start. It lets you select nine of your Facebook friends as people you have a yen for. If one (or more) of those people also lists you, the app informs both of you. If not, the other person only knows that he or she is the object of someone’s “secret crush.
If this sounds fairly junior high school to you, you’re not wrong. If you’re no longer having to rush to make 3rd period before the bell, you should be able to decide if you’re interested enough in someone to say so. Maybe you wouldn’t want to risk it, in which case you don’t want that person enough to do so, but that’s a choice adults can make without resorting to, “Yes, but do you LIKE me like me?”
So off the top, it’s pretty juvenile. Then it gets awkward and a bit creepy.
Let’s say you get such a notification. Someone has a “secret crush” on you. Leaving you to wonder who it is. Maybe you don’t care at all. Cool. But maybe you start wondering who it is, trying to decipher it from clues you think you find… maybe you start talking to people differently, because you don’t want to encourage this person in his or her unrequited love. Maybe…
I don’t need or want to know if any of my Facebook friends are eyeing me for romance, or a quickie, or whatever. It could only make things awkward. I also don’t want to know if my friends think I’m as homely as a baboon’s butt and NOBODY finds me attractive. Before Secret Crush, this was something that wasn’t even on my radar. I never wondered about it. It’s not a major obsession, but now I do wonder. Yet I still don’t want to know, and I’m certainly not going to ask.
One more thing to be insecure about. Thanks, Facebook!
And let’s say you’re the person who put that person you fantasize about on your list and… nothing. Cue crickets chirping. Now you get to wonder if s/he doesn’t find you attractive or simply isn’t on Facebook Dating. So… awkward chat where you ask and find out yes, s/he is (so doesn’t find you attractive, or at least you don’t make the top nine), or no, in which case you suggest s/he try it. “It’ll be fun!” And s/he does or doesn’t, and you aren’t on the list, or you are… this sounds exhausting.
The one thing that saves me is that I’m married and not on Facebook Dating. But if you are, get ready to find out if any of your Facebook friends find you toothsome, or none do. Or someone does, but you don’t, so you know someone does, but not who… And eventually, why would they not extend it to all users? It wouldn’t be the first time someone looked at a bad idea and thought, “The problem with this poop pile is that it’s not big enough!”
Facebook, social interaction can be difficult enough for most of us. It does not need you laying land mines all over the landscape like a dog who isn’t housetrained yet.
Given Facebook’s history of trouble handling the personal information of users, what could possibly go wrong there?
They say they won’t use the information for marketing purposes, but they’ve said similar things before, so… You do know those cute “click here to find out which Beatle you are” surveys are for gathering data, right? Facebook can be fun, but it does exist, as a business, to gather and sell information about users, and target advertising. That’s the business model.
So far, messages are just text, no pictures (thank God), so if you’re using Facebook Dating and that weird guy (whose friend request you accepted only because you work together and it seemed awkward not to) wants to send you pictures of his junk dressed up in a little top hat and bow tie, he can’t… at the moment. Wait for the new feature that has a filter of silly outfits you can put on photos of your stuff! I haven’t heard it’s coming, but I don’t doubt that it is.
Why the cluelessness? This may go back to Facebook’s DNA as a place to rate the attractiveness of other people. It’s baked into the cookie, in this case, a chocolate chip/used deoderant cookie. Someone decided to add something to the basic recipe that it absolutely didn’t need. Might look okay, but as you get closer, no. Just… no.