The Silly Season is here. So here’s an amusing 20 minute pinpointing of just how rubbish Facebook’s “Discover Groups” function is. Facebook’s suggestions for me are:—

Friends: “Momentum North Staffordshire” (extreme-left Labour Party members) and similar. Er, no, definitely not.

Location: “Shell Island, North Wales”. Probably lovely, but never heard of it and can’t afford to get to it. The vintage resort of Llandudno and its breezy headlands are more my style.

Parenting: “Can I Breastfeed In it?” and similar. Er, not for me. Man-boobs may make that possible soon, though 🙂

School & Education: “School of Education’s doctoral researchers at Staffs University”. I didn’t even know they had such a thing.

Sports: No. I have no interest in sports, other than the final few matches in the World Cup once every four years. Certainly not tabletop war-gaming.

Food: Nope, I’ve no interest in real ale either. I don’t drink.

Photography: “Peak District Photography”. Well, it’s the best suggestion yet. But I really don’t want to join a group that allows people to use it as their photo-dump for the 45 pictures of sunsets and ducks that they took today.

Buy, Sell, Trade: “Garage Sale – Bangalore, India”. Nope. It’s probably because I also participate occasionally in the Open Access India group, which aims to boost open access publishing there.

Professional Networking: “Forces Online Employment” or “Scaffold Jobs UK”. Not all blokes from Stoke are builders, Facebook.

Animals & Pets: No, I do not own a greyhound. Or even like dogs much. Not all blokes from Stoke are obsessed with racing greyhounds, Facebook.

Outdoor Activities: No, I’ve no desire to go camping these days – even in this nice weather.

Business: DisruptCyprus.com. No. But I guess it’s nice to hear that they’re having a disruptive business revolution in Cyprus, and not a petrol-bomb throwing disruptive revolution. Possibly I’m seeing this group because of some of my former students.

News & Politics: Ugh. Not everyone in Stoke is an old socialist, Facebook. The city is actually effectively run by the Conservatives, these days, thank goodness. Update your city profiles, Facebook.

Hobby & Leisure: Richard Corben Fan Club. Yes, maybe. A bit late now though. I mildly liked his early pre-1986 comic-book art, but haven’t followed him since.

Science & Tech: Finally, a good suggestion! “The Institute of Unnecessary Research”. News of unusual arts-science projects and opportunities. ‘Join Group‘!

Health & Fitness: “Vegans”? Eeeek!

Funny: “Jokes” groups. No. Ban them now!

Arts & Culture: “Patti Smith” and “H.R. Giger”. No, and I didn’t even like them when they were actually trendy back in 1978.

Games: “Boardgames” and hyper-realistic nerdy button-pushing “Space Simulators”. No interest.

Cars & Motorcycles: Nope, never owned a car or motorbike. Looking forward very much to the future arrival of the driverless robo-taxis.

Identity & Relationships: “BBW Big Women”. Just so wrong.

Neighborhood & Community: “Middleport Matters” and “Narrowboat Users Group”. Sort of, I do have a passing interest in canals and narrowboats due to living alongside a canal.

Home & Garden: For some reason “Synthesizer Freaks Music” is here. Does Facebook imagine that I’m sitting in a summer garden shuffling between early Gary Numan, Mirror System and Kraftwerk? They might not be far wrong there, if I actually had a garden.

Style: “Canal market place interiors”. Well, I guess I do live near a canal. Not sure I want to fix the place up to look like a canal narrowboat, though.

Travel: “Alfred Barnard Society” (visit breweries worldwide!) and “The Hovercraft Museum”. No, I don’t drink. And have no interest in hovercrafts.

Spiritual & Inspirational: “The Paranormal Billboard” and “Shanti & Jai Yoga”. No, no interest in all that silly ghost-hunting mumbo-jumbo, nor in yoga.


So, 95% wrong. Even if I had also included the suggestions I skipped. Similar to how wrong Amazon gets it, even after their taste system has been ‘trained’. Which all goes to show how poor website ‘suggestion’ services are. The first person to invent a decent suggestions algorithm that actually works will make a fortune.