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.


  1. Gabe, your writing is amazing :-D I really loved this entry. It had me laughing out loud in several spots.

  2. i love stalking! i also love being the semi-awkward person that does bring that stuff up in conversation and watch the person squirm trying to figure out how i knew so much!

    oh, and as for birthdays, i just keep the same calender. i've had an "office" tv themed calender since 2006 and i just flip through the months each year so i don't have to transfer birthdays anymore! it's great!

  3. 1. If ninjas could have electric cars, they would be way excited.

    2. There's this awesome apron on facebook. Poor thing was divorced by Jason. Everyone should be her friend.

    ...and no, I have nothing to do with this.