If you are ever on Facebook (and who isn’t?), you know what it is at year end to be bombarded by countless friends’ “Year In Review” photo montages. It’s all part of Facebook’s endless crusade to keep their users actively engaged in the site.
The problem for many, however, is that Facebook automatically generates these montages without a user’s consent. Admittedly, they do not post them publicly without consent (a user must select the option to “post” the review), but that doesn’t stop FB from creating them and then inserting them into your news feed repeatedly in the hopes that you’ll eventually opt to post the review. This keeps your page active, generates lots of “likes” and “comments” from your friends, and overall boosts Facebook’s exposure and vitality.
While many are all too happy to look back at the past year and smile at the images from the past twelve months, for other’s it’s a painful intrusion into a chapter of their lives they’d just as well leave locked in the vaults of yesterday:
Such is the case of Eric Meyer, who lost his 6-year-old daughter to brain cancer, reports the Washington Post. And while seeing endless tags proclaiming, "It’s been a great year! Thanks for being a part of it" was one thing, seeing the image of his dead child surrounded by partying clip art figures went beyond the bounds of decency. "For those of us who lived through the death of loved ones, or spent extended time in the hospital, or were hit by divorce or losing a job or any one of a hundred crises, we might not want another look at this past year," he writes on his blog …
Meyer is asking Facebook to rethink the entire process by allowing users to choose up front whether they’d like Facebook to auto-generate a montage, or by allowing the user to choose for themselves which pics and posts would be included.
Meyer isn't alone, notes Mashable: Many users are upset with Facebook's persistence in pushing the feature. Part of the problem is Facebook's culture of default positivity, writes Darren Orf for Gizmodo. "After all, you can only 'like' but never 'dislike,' so it's not surprising that the company may have overlooked the idea that many of us, like Meyer, had a pretty terrible 2014 and really don't need to be reminded of it."
New Year’s can be a time of looking back on the past year with delight for all that we've learned, accomplished, or experienced. Conversely, it can be a welcomed time of turning the page on a difficult or painful chapter in our lives to which we’re relieved to say good riddance. For most of us, it’s probably a little of both.
Either way, in the light of God’s love, grace, and sovereign will, we are able to reflect upon the last year with godly perspective, and to look to the new one with faith and anticipation.
Every clip that appears in the montage of our lives is only there after having passed through the permissive and gracious hand of our Heavenly Father. For the child of God, “All things work together for good.” With this mindset, we, like Facebook, can enjoy a kind of "default positivity." That doesn't mean we have to "like" everything God allows in our lives, but we can appreciate it as being dealt from the hand of a loving God who always and in every way intends it for our good.