I click on Facebook more often than I should. I admit to having a burning desire to know what that girl from my 5th-grade Earth Science class is up to now that she’s in her mid-50’s. From what I understand, she’s unhappily divorced and living with her elderly parents and a three-legged cat named Squiggy. For the detail seekers amongst you, Squiggy was diagnosed with a rare feline circulatory disorder just over a year ago. Despite the prayers and smiley-face emoticons sent his way, Squiggy lost the wheel anyway. For his part, he doesn’t appear to miss the leg too much, though it’s hard to tell from the pictures.
That’s the thing with Facebook – you can’t always tell what’s really going on. There are posts and photos galore, but sometimes it’s hard not to imagine that there’s more to the stories. With this in mind, I’m developing something called the Social Network Objective Reinterpretation Tool, or SNORT. When completed, this tool will be able to take a standard Facebook post and reinterpret it to give the reader the poster’s actual message. The results look promising so far, but I’ve still got a few bugs to work out.
Here are a couple of quick SNORT interpretations.
Original Post: “I’m going to miss my son/daughter when I drop them off at college for the first time next week.”
SNORT version: “That’s right bitches, my kid is going to college! You whispered behind my back that he looked “a little slow” at that birthday party back when he was turning 6, even though I had already explained that it was because he was taking allergy medicine. I knew you didn’t believe me.”
Original Post: “Congratulations to my daughter Savannah and the rest of the Pikesville 8-and-under swim team on another great season! Go Pikers!!!”
SNORT version: “Savannah can swim, just not fast enough to get a medal. I hope this post soothes the sore feelings about my forgetting to bring brownies to the Tri-County qualifier meet.”
Original Post: (Inspirational Poster).
SNORT version: “I’m feeling like this quote from some guy I’ve never heard of is right along the lines of how I’m feeling today, but there’s a strong possibility that I posted it because I like pictures of unicorns and rainbows.”
Original Post: “If you’re against child molestation, you’ll repost this.”
SNORT version: “If you were a child molester, posting something like this would be a good way to make people think that you weren’t.”
Original Post: “This is a test…this will determine my future on FB
Don’t often do this but….It occurs to me that for each and every one of you on my friends list, I catch myself looking at your pictures, sharing jokes and news, as well as support during good and bad times….[blah blah blah blah for a ton more words, then ends with the following:]… So, if you read this, leave one word on how we met. Only one word, then copy this to your wall so I can leave a word for you.”
SNORT version: “A clever vehicle constructed to help people with failing memories remember how they ever came to know their “friends” on Facebook in the first place. Sadly, the use of a one word clue for the real-world connection is often insufficient to give the original poster enough information to actually recall meeting the friend. For instance, ‘church‘ is nowhere near as descriptive as ‘we used to go sniff glue together out behind the church’.”
Original Post: “Joe Blow is listening to Nickleback on @Okeydokey Internet Radio – you should too!”
SNORT version: “Joe Blow’s taste in music is nearly as horrific as his taste in TV reality shows. If you join him, all your friends will see what hideous taste you have.”
Original Post: “Joe Blow is watching the “Say Yes to the Dress” marathon on TLC.”
SNORT version: “Joe Blow’s taste in reality TV is even worse than we had originally thought. If you want to watch this crap, it’s your business, but letting everyone on Facebook know about it is just a bad idea.”
Original Post: (Biblical quotes, requests for prayers and/or offerings of blessings)
SNORT version: “I may not attend services with any regularity or behave in a very pious manner, but I’m hoping Jesus is on Facebook. If he is, I’ll try to friend Him .”
Original Post: “Hey everybody, click this link to see my latest blog post.”
SNORT version: “Thanks to this blog, I can tell people that I’m a struggling writer and not a middle-aged loser.”
Obviously interpretations like that last one are examples of the kinks in the program which still need to be ironed out. I’m thinking once I get this working well, I can create an app with it and sell millions of them. Once I’m rolling in the bucks, I’ll quit my dead-end job and maybe get myself a Trans-Am and some hair-plugs.