Monday, April 30, 2012

Thoughts on Facebook Timeline

I upgraded to the newest incarnation of Facebook (the "Timeline" for you historians reading this in the 22nd century) the other day. Normally I don't upgrade anything unless it's mandatory as I don't like change, but Facebook told me that it was gonna update next week anyway whether I liked it or not so I figured what the fuck, why not. Also I was bored and it seemed like it would give me something to fiddle with.

So I upgraded that shit and to be quite honest I'm not that keen on it. Now I know there's droves of people who complain every time there's the slightest little change to Facebook's layout, but I haven't had a problem with any of the changes. Even the ones I thought were a little bit extraneous (i.e., the most recent update to the chat system), I grew accustomed to them almost instantly and they never bothered me at all.

Now this Timeline thing has been around for a while - some of my more advanced Friends got it months ago I guess - so I've seen what it's all about before, however, some of its more irksome qualities really got in my face now that it's infected my Page. I'm not quite a Facebook junkie, I don't play Farmville or any of those other games they got on there (I'm more of a social junkie - I compulsively check not only Facebook but also my e-mail, comments on my webcomic and blogs, various forums I frequent, Twitter, on the offchance that someone wants to talk to me), but I'm on there enough that changes do affect me.

The most irritating thing I find about Timeline is the fact that there's two columns of stuff, which makes it hard to read other people's Pages. Not that I sit down and religiously read other folk's shit, but you know if there's a hot guy I wanna stalk it makes it sort of inconvenient. Also, you have to put up, like, two Profile Pictures which is weird. Why two? I had a helluva time trying to find a wide enough picture for my Cover Photo that wasn't copyrighted to somebody other than myself.

I ended up putting the above picture on there because it's an octopus and that.

Anywho, after I got that done, I started exploring Timeline's other features. There's a thing called Activity Log, which is I guess a log of all the acitivities that I did on Facebook since the dawn of my account... not really sure what the fuck the point of that is but whatever. There's also an option to post Life Events, which range from graduating high school to having a baby to buying a house to getting a tattoo. Everything you could possibly think of, except criminal records. All you have to do is punch in what happened, when, where, with who and slap a photo in and it adds it to the timeline of your life.

I sat there and dutifully added life events to my Timeline - moving to Gagetown, buying my first car, kissing a dude (seriously, one of the optional events is "First Kiss"). I quickly got bored and started making shit up, but there's a lot of real stuff on there so my Friends can learn all there is to know about ME!

Then I started wondering, what the fuck is this for exactly? Does anybody actually want to know any of this shit? I don't really want to know this kind of thing about other people, except for maybe the aforementioned hot guys I'm stalking, whose profiles are all maddeningly devoid of helpful information, like criminal records. So okay, if some dude wanted to know what I was all about without talking to me, he could sit down and read my profile, although most of what I've got on there is lies. Other than that... what's it for?

Advertising, that's my guess. Timeline asks you all kinds of questions about your life, pretending to be interested in the Real You or something, tricking you into sharing your information, but all it really wants to do is fine tune what kind of ads you're likely to click on. People who have more than one tattoo are statistically more likely to want to buy X, people who dropped out of high school are more likely to buy Y, it's all a formula. I figure posting half truth half bullshit is almost my liberatrian duty, skewing their numbers and potentially throwing off advertising everywhere by the slightest degree.

Now imagine if everybody in the world did that. They wouldn't be able to get inside their heads to sell us shit... or at least it would set them back while they tried to come up with a new statistic - people who lie about wearing hats are more likely to buy argyle socks or some shit. But at least we can fuck them up a little bit. Come on people, let's do this.

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