Apr 20, 2009

Mon: I like facebook

In case you haven’t heard. Facebook now has 200 million people signed up. It’s entirely possible not all of those are real people, and a couple are dogs or aprons, but still 200 million is a lot of folks. That’s 30 Arizonas, 10 Australias, 5 ½ Calfornias or 2 Mexicos (They pack them in there pretty tight south of the border). So the site is pretty popular. Because of that, people who never dreamed they would have facebook pages are finding themselves forced to participate because peer pressure really has no age limit. That, by the way is going to be a great slogan some day –“peer pressure has no age limit”- maybe for hideously expensive hybrid cars or adult diapers. I’m not sure yet. Anyway, I was talking to a recent addition to facebook the other day who wanted to know “why…why does this thing exist?” For a minute I was kind of at a loss. I enjoy facebook, and a lot of other online social stuff but I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. I don’t think there is an overall easy explanation. Just small reasons, here are a few of those small reasons:

Status Updates
I think Facebook changed the name of this to “What’s On Your Mind?” which makes a lot more sense. It also blatantly rips off Twitter, but that’s a different discussion. Most of the time what’s on people’s mind unfortunately is music lyrics. On the rare occasion that music lyrics aren’t the perfect thing to describe what you’re feeling; the status update is a really cathartic way to dump all those seemingly obscure thoughts you have throughout the day. More often than not you’ll discover other people are having very similar thoughts such as:

- loves the smell of rain….. almost as much as the smell of scotch tape.

- wishes the *(insert sports team name) would get it together

- thinks ninja’s would really love electric cars.

- Just realized that plagiarism is basically the Gospel. We take credit for someone else’s work.

- is going to work.

Someone is always going to work. Always.

Picture Albums
Before facebook when someone wanted to show you pictures of something, they had to drag out their albums, and then stood there and watched as you flipped through them. Not terrible, and even better when we discovered digital cameras and could just flip the pictures right there on the digital camera. The main problem always was that they watched you look through their pictures. This meant that you had to flip through at a respectful speed, making sure to ooo and ahhh and comment on even the most run-of-the-mill pictures (Ooo nice picture of a flower…..oh what is this the sky?..nice… Oh there’s that flower again, hoho). with facebook, you can just get straight to the good stuff, and you don’t have to hide your dis-interest in the local vegetation.

I can’t remember anyone’s birthday. Ever. I also don’t keep a calendar on me that I spent 4 hours at the end of December transferring said birthdays from 2008 to 2009. I know some people do, and I think that’s admirable. Really I do. Thankfully facebook also keeps track of everyone’s birthdays and lets you know some of them are coming up. Then you can just go over to their wall and wish them a happy birthday. No crazy animal greeting card, no awkward telephone calls. It’s simple, and simplicity is really what good ideas are all about.

Most people prefer to call this “Advanced People Watching” but let’s just call it what it is. Looking up old 7th grade friends to find out how they turned out, finding people from work and discovering that they are VERY different people at home, or even just watching the conversations of your friends, it’s all inexplicably gratifying. The weird part (at least I think) is whatever you see or come across you can’t really bring up in conversation without sounding like a creep. It’s a weird disconnect.

Me: Hey man I saw that picture of your family celebrating Christmas, that turkey looked amazing!
You:….Oh…umm Thanks…..You saw that?
Me:Yeah it was on your profile.
You:O yeah……right.


Me:So I heard you went and saw The Phantom of the Opera, how was it?
You:It was….good… How’d you hear about that?
Me: I think you were telling (so and so) about it on facebook.
You:Yea, it was good… I have to go.

So there’s a ton of other things I didn’t mention. Things like Bumper Stickers, facebook chat, surveys, snowball fights, etc. If I remember maybe we’ll revisit them in the future, or you the reader can just tell me about it in the comments, either way.

Apr 7, 2009

"Fri" I look forward to finishing books.

I missed writing meaningless stuff on here, so I hope you’ll humor me as I resume wasting everyone’s time with thoughts on minutia. One new thing I did realize, these thoughts need to be shorter. So don’t be surprised if this blog gets streamlined to leverage my core-competencies accomplishing mission critical objectives and synergizing the harvesting of low hanging fruit for future applications (business school, I miss you).

So back to what we were discussing; I look forward to finishing books. I’m not one of those people that enjoys making a list and then checking things off said list because checking things off is fun. But I do like to finish one thing before I start another. Lately, through gifts, and inadvisable trips to amazon.com I’ve been piling up books that I want to read. Now I have a pretty substantial pile of books that I really want to read. There’s only one problem; I’m a monogamous reader. I feel like I’m cheating on a book if I stop midway through and move on to a new book. Every time I crack open “the other book” all I can think of is my original, sitting on my shelf, with the bookmark still painfully stuck through its midsection. It’s terrible. That why its such a relief to finish a book. It’s like a clean slate. Thoughts have been heard, a complete story told and that book can finally rest in peace on the “finished” side of my bookshelf.

Aside from just trying to get though the books I want to read I also enjoy finishing books because then we can talk about them. Books are weird, they're not like news or current events which have a nice clean time window for proper conversation. Books have kind of a nebulous window. You hear from a friend that they’re reading a book that you are reading or plan to read, then you have to try and synchronize reading that book with that friend otherwise you’ll have nothing to talk about. Or even worse you’ll finish too late and by then your friend is already 4 books ahead of you and not interested in talking about that book from 3 months ago.

Another great part of books is just remembering them. Thinking back to the amazing things they taught you, or incredible adventures they told. Not finishing the book robs you of this for obvious reasons. You never know how the story ended; people and characters you had invested in are just frozen with no resolution. That joy of nostalgia and rediscovered wonder that you get from recalling that book is gone, all because of a lack of dedication. It’s sad.

So moving forward (the last business jargon I’ll use for awhile, I promise), hopefully I can be more dedicated, and knock out some of those books that are on my shelf. I look forward to giving it a shot at least.

O yeah I also look forward to finishing books so I can use them build a hidden passage in my house one day. I'd feel like a phony if I used books that I hadn't read.