My previous post was fairly critical of Facebook’s new timeline profiles. And here, just a few weeks later, I’m ready to embrace it.
So what prompted my change of heart?
A month ago I bought a new computer. My initial plan was to use the clean hard drive as a second chance to get social media right, start with a clean slate. Opera would be be my “Facebook only” broswer, while serious web surfing would happen in Chrome. Facebook wouldn’t be able to track my browsing behavior outside their little quarantined zone. Victory would be mine.
You might be wondering why I’d go to such lengths to isolate my Facebooking. Snobbery, for one. Facebook is a technology for the masses and being part of the masses doesn’t sit well with me. Smart internety entreneurish types say “if you’re not paying for the product, you are the product,” and I don’t want pimp Mark Zuckerberg to play me like that.
Furthermore, I hadn’t really accepted Facebook; didn’t trust it. But what do I have to hide? Photos of me with a beer in my hand, looking like it’s not the first one I’d drank? I’m okay with that. By comparison, there’s two video cameras in the lobby at work, and another three in the lobby of my apartment building. Those cameras in my apartment building have probably seen much worse, and I have NO idea where those images go.
In any case, my clean-slate, get-it-right, Opera-for-Facebook experiment lasted 1 week. Then I gave up, got tired of alt-tabbing, logging into gmail in Opera so I could follow the link to the thing and then view the photos and waste some time, then flip back to Chrome. Oy vey! Turns out I visit Facebook several times a day for a minute or two or five. Zuckerberg has already sunk his claws into my life and I’m okay with that.
So with fresh eyes I looked again at the timeline.
Suddenly it made sense. Time is universal, we will always organize our memories along a timeline. I bet it’s gonna be one of Facebook’s core innovations, in the same veign as Apple’s single-button iPhone and iPad. My initial suspicions that it was just a gimmick to boost the stock price during upcoming their I.P.O. were to cynical.
So welcome, Facebook, into my internet circle of trust. Inside that circle you’ll find some familiar names: google, amazon, github.com, heroku.com. Each inside-the-circle company provides me with services I need or want. For Facebook, those services are:
- Log in with Facebook - less typing, no more remembering passwords, confirming by email, filling in a profile, uploading a profile photo
- Photos taken of me, by other people - I don’t have to bring a camera anymore
- Invitations to events - I have more stuff to do than time to do it
- An easy, unified way to start new acquaintances. Some may be friends, but many are internet-only relationships.
- The occasional conversation over Facebook chat
- Links from friends to good distractions, such as this list of the worst album covers of all time; check it out!
- Timeline - a unified photo album/scrapbook, and I need to do little or nothing to maintain it.
And I get these for free. Win.
Sorry Facebook, for letting my snobbery and fear cloud my judgment. So here’s me publicly contradicting myself. This is why I’ll never be President. Our culture puts a lot of value on maintaining consistent opinions; but screw it. Changing my mind feels good.