Yesterday’s Cherry Blossom Ten Mile race wasn’t great. Temperatures at the start were around 40 degrees. That’s too cold. It warmed up and the sun was out for the duration of the race, but it was still too cold. So to you, guy holding the “RUN LIKE FACEBOOK STOLE UR DATA” sign, and everyone else hoisting encouraging signs, thank you. But I’m confused.
Confusion due to a sign during a race is usually a great thing. I still remember seeing a math equation sign during the Baltimore Running Festival. It worked because it occupied my brain while my body didn’t want to work. Rather than focus on the action, I had to try to figure out the square root of a number. Intentional confusion is the best thing a sign can do for someone like me. I do not need or care for quips about brunch or wine or peeing while running. I understand people enjoy quips about brunch and wine and peeing while running, so to rail against them would be pointless. But your sign, your sign needs further exploration.
Your sign, “RUN LIKE FACEBOOK STOLE UR DATA”, confused me and hopefully every other runner. I first saw it around mile 5. You were next to two guys holding a Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl Champions flag. I understand why they held their flag. I did and do not understand yours.
I saw your sign again around mile 9. I saw that a friend Tweeted about how great your sign is while on a bus ride home. I’m still trying to figure out your sign.
Here’s how I read the sign.
A lot of race signs begin with run. I get it.
A lot of race sings are similes. Still on board.
Oh, no. A topical reference. Not a fan. Didn’t like the “You run better than Congress!” sign and I probably won’t like this.
Huh? Facebook stole something? Facebook didn’t steal anything. Cambridge Analytica stole data. People voluntarily used a free website to share beliefs and articles and what they ate for brunch and based on those beliefs and articles and brunch photos, were shown paid advertisements and boosted articles. But Facebook didn’t do that. Facebook made it pretty easy for an outside organization to obtain that data. At best, Facebook aided and abetted stealing of data.
You ran out of space and wrote UR instead of YOUR.
You definitely ran out of space because DATA was smaller and written on a tilt. This made me happy and reminded me of a John Mulaney bit.
The sign, while most likely well intentioned, does not make sense. To make it more confusing, who is it for?
Let’s say you used Facebook with all of the trust you’d give to a real life friend. You sincerely used a social media network thinking it’s not just a platform for brands and organizations to sell you stuff. And now you feel violated. Do you want to remind these people they were slighted? The point of a race sign is to encourage, not enrage.
I do not know you. I do not know your motives. If I had to guess, I’d say you’re a friendly person that wanted to show your support to friends by making a sign that referenced a social network used by friends. It most likely worked. Based on my friend’s Tweet, it did work. But it confused me. And I’m still confused.
Thanks for reading this article. I hope you share it on Facebook.
Photos by Armando Gallardo