Did Facebook send a photographer to my house?

By | September 9, 2019
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A bit about Facebook this time – but don’t worry if you don’t use it – there’s more on other ways of keeping in touch using your PC, tablet or phone in just a moment…

I don’t use Facebook a lot but I do use it a little bit – mainly to share photos and snippets about the boys with my family and see the news and photos my family have put up.

And, as you probably know, it’s back-to-school time.  Last week was their first week back into their new school years.

Lots of parents have put up photos of their little ones in their new school uniform before they set off for the first day.

I’d been meaning to take a photo of the two of them together – but forgot in the rush to make sure Alastair had his glasses on and Edward hadn’t left his bag behind.

But then a bit later in the day I opened Facebook on my phone and lo and behold, there was a photo of them both in school uniform.

What’s going on – have Facebook secretly sent a photographer to my house?  Have they managed to “fake” a photo by taking a different photo of the boys and sticking school uniform on top?

What Facebook do is every so often show you a photo you took (and put on Facebook) a year ago… or two years… or three.  And in this case they were showing me last year’s photo.

The idea is that it’s supposed to be a nice surprise – a reminder of what was happening in your life a year (or several) ago.

But if you don’t know what’s going on, it can feel a little, well, creepy.

There are two things to remember:

Facebook only shows you photos you had already shared on it – it’s not rifling through all the photos you’ve taken or anything like that.  It’s just that they’re from a while ago so you might not remember at first.

Facebook doesn’t share the photos this time round – not with any of your friends on Facebook.  It just shows them to you. Of course, chances are they were shared with your friends the first time, but any comments or likes you see are from that time, not new.

It does give you the option to share it again – saying something like “Can’t believe how long ago this seems now” or in my case “I can’t believe how Edward hasn’t changed a bit but Alastair has” so your friends and family get to see it again (and of course people you’ve connected with on Facebook since the original photo probably never saw it at the time).  But you don’t have to – it’s up to you.

I hope that makes sense – and means you won’t be wondering what’s going on if this happens to you.  And it leads me on neatly to talking a bit more about using devices like phones, tablets and laptops for keeping in touch…

Keeping in touch with friends and family…

Back when I first started using a computer, it never occured to me you might use it for communication – not in the normal, every-day world.  

But now, you can use PCs, tablets & smartphones to keep in touch with family and friends in all sorts of ways. (Not just the obvious ones.)

And I think it’s one of the most important things about this kind of technology.  The way that (if you know how) you can use it to be closer to the people you care about – whether they live nearby or not.

It’s not just for making video calls to people who live on the other side of the planet, either, though that’s great.  Even if you live quite nearby to someone your PC, phone or tablet can help you keep in touch in all sorts of ways that just aren’t possible without them.

As usual, the snag is that until someone’s shown you how, you don’t know.  Which is why we’ve been working on a book. It’s not finished yet so I’m not quite ready to tell you all about it yet but with a following wind we’ll have it finished very soon – and I’ll let you know a bit more about it shortly.  Watch this space!

2 thoughts on “Did Facebook send a photographer to my house?

  1. kiggle

    I suppose that Facebook are doing this business of finding an old photo and putting up now. Maybe there are kind thoughts behind this. However there is a whole lot of risk here. Perhaps it has not occurred to them that the person now being shown may no longer be with us, and there is a possibility that seeing it might bring on memories that are too deeply upsetting. I hope there is a degree of thought being applied to this.

    1. Tim Wakeling Post author

      it is a risk. I honestly don’t know exactly how they choose the photos to use and whether there’s anything they’re doing to try to reduce the chances of that happening – I suspect they probably are trying to avoid it, but I don’t know for sure.


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