And I say that in a HP Lovecraft sense of the word. Awesome can be good news. Awesome can also be the powerful destruction of a landslide. Or in the case of Facebook, its the awesome and semi horrifying realization of what I have been doing all along. I have been chronicling my life. One status update and new friend addition at a time, since 2004.
The internet has been watching. Deep down I knew it… but until Timeline it wasn’t quite as tangible the sheer amount of data I have been supplying to the Sheila Chronicles. In other words, I have looked into the abyss and it has blown my mind.
Google+ vs. Facebook vs. MySomething or Another: Pre-Timeline
Since the release of Google+, there have been murmurs of Facebook going the way of Myspace or My _________ or whatever you call that dinosaur built entirely of blinking gifs.
Honestly, despite being one that has been sucked into the ease and inventiveness of Google+, I had no real fears for Facebook. At least not for a while. Myself, I have found I mostly post articles I want to share (like on Twitter) on Google+ but add any real personal data to Facebook.
My Reasons Two:
- People (gentiles) are on Facebook. Google+ gained momementum quickly but only my most avid technophile friends have stuck to Google+. Let’s be fair Facebook has the CONTENT to keep people for the time being. One big complaint I have heard over and over is, “Google+ is boring”. And it really must be for anyone who does not have rabid googlephiles adding to their stream. In addition, with the Google+ API only just released, I have no easy way to post to all my Social Media bases, sticking just to Facebook/Twitter where I can get bang for my metaphorical buck. Takes time to tend your Social Media ant farm!
- Like candy to a search engine baby – I consider myself a rational person but I can’t help but feeling I am handing over very personal data to a search engine. And while I trust Google with my personal/business mail, documents, calendar… I just can’t shake the feeling that I should not give them all the milk. On the other hand when I post blog links and other professional data publicly on Google+, I feel like I am “optimizing my SEOs”. Its a mix of paranoia and reality. Facebook is just as bad if not worse but somehow it just didn’t feel as blatant… until now.
Into the Abyss
Today I activated Facebook’s Timeline via the developer preview. I wasn’t a hundred percent certain what to expect since first reading about it in Mashable’s doomsday/coming-to-god like article “Prepare Yourself for the new Facebook“. And since the beta release the overall consensus has been one of admiration that you don’t see usually attributed to a website.
- OOo let me see here… Cover photo!
- ASCII penis art and a chainmail status posted by my friends in 2004? Good lord I can go through each month and see what was posted on my wall…
- This is semi terrifying, wonder what my security settings are?
- Oh wait, this information is not correct let me add my actual highschool.. birth.. etc… information
The Genius of Facebook
Facebook has done which few can… and honestly it is a bold step. A revealing of cards which few can boast.
You can’t leave me… because I AM you.
The emotional tie, their coupe de grâce, is revealing what we have been building all along. Our internet legacies or our own graves, depends on how dramatic you want to be.
And at first you react with surprise and try to cover up your nakedness but then you say “Hey! They assumed my anniversary was my marriage anniversary and not when we started dating! I better correct that.”
And “Oooooo there’s a big button that says add a photo next to my birthdate. Better add a baby picture! I already uploaded those a year ago to some album…”
SOYLENT FACEBOOK IS PEOPLE!
For the first time, and I am not a paranoid person (just ask my husband, it irks him), I have to ask myself what Facebook’s TRUE intention is. And as an internet professional, I wonder: What is the harm? Is this what our users want? A way to mine and then reflect on their personal data?
In the end, is Facebook providing us the ultimate service? A legacy, in which our grandchildren, barring we keep our security settings open, can come to understand? A reflection base in which to look back on our accomplishments and week moments? Or just TMI?
But is this hubris?
It’s pretty ballsy of Facebook to give us a glimpse of what they have been collecting, though its been available for download for years now. They really have laid down their cards in a connect the dots kind of way.
When released into the wild I can see this going as follows:
- There is a max exodus of the already paranoid Facebook base (mostly to Google+ or to a bomb shelter).
- In the end, the majority are winned over by sheer self consumption. It is pretty flattering and interesting to go through your life story of the past however many years…
- The Facebook ball gets bigger. And after a short lag Facebook continues on detailing the human existence in the modern age. Only now with more granular clarity, as the Facebook antfarm, now more than ever, has swallowed the sugar water and understands the bigger part of the “mission”.
Repercussions for Sheila Suarez de Flores
How do I hide the ASCII penis art from my grandma? I need to probably figure out these circles.. lists… security thingy majig.
“The most merciful thing in the world… is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.”
― H.P. Lovecraft”