Mouthing Off: Facebook Timeline

Stop me if you’ve read this before: “OMG I hate the new Facebook, I want the old one back!” Better yet, I’ll just stop there and let you guess what this is going to be about, not that you need any more clues or anything. On Christmas Day, Facebook made their Timeline feature available to the general public.

If I celebrated Christmas, this would have been the most pointless gift I ever received. It’s like a yearbook. Your year is highlighted with photos and text, and you only care about it for a year before it gets relegated to the attic, storage room or wherever you store useless books.

The idea of the timeline is to highlight the most memorable posts, photos, etc. that happen in a year. For some reason though, Facebook determines – before you can – what was important in a year’s worth of posts, pictures, friend requests, etc.

I looked at what Facebook believes to be my highlights of 2008 and nowhere do I see a post about how the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup. What do they have? They have a post of mine that tells people that I am starting on a six-page paper. Yeah, because that anonymous six-page paper, that probably has no significance in my life, holds more importance than a team that I follow more than I do a religion.

I get it though – Facebook wants me to do this myself. They want me to go through countless updates to find which ones “highlight a year in my life.”

It makes sense, but I don’t plan on spending my time looking through many status updates and photos in order to determine which ones highlight a year — I’m too busy having a life to be subjected to a petty task like that.

Facebook will soon realize that they failed to recognize just why people use Facebook. It’s not to chronicle your life on a single website. It’s just to tell others what you’re doing. How am I supposed to chronicle a year in my life anyway? With pictures of me wasted off of my ass? Does that make it to the timeline? Or maybe it’s a friend’s wall post, telling me how much of an ass I was to them the other night?

And don’t you think it’s just a little bit strange  how Facebook can see what we post and say to others?

Before, it was an invasion of privacy. Now with this timeline, it’s getting creepy. They’re seeing what highlights our year. What’s the purpose of them needing to see our timelines? It’s like Facebook is playing the role of God. Because they can see everyone’s posts and pictures, maybe they feel that they can create a new bible — the book of Zuckerberg.

Watch out Isaac, because God, er… Facebook might tell Abraham — the guy you friended a week ago after you met at Jacob’s party — to kill you. That way Facebook can add in their bible that Facebook told Abraham to kill Isaac.

But Facebook does accomplish something with this timeline. It accomplishes the acknowledgement that we as people are lazy. They showed us that we’re too lazy to tell people the memorable events in our own words.

Facebook has added a “Life Event” button, which lets people add a generic message that tells of an important event (marriage, quitting a habit, getting a divorce, etc.). That’s the perfect tool for people who don’t like to add creativity and emotion to their message.

My mother always tells me and my brother how our generation has become lazy in terms of sending messages. “When I was your age,” she would begin, “I had to write letters to people. Now this whole Facebook messaging has made people too lazy to write a letter.” Now, while I love my mother dearly, that is far from the case.

It’s called being up-to-date with technology. But this is me now. Maybe when I’m her age, I’ll be telling my kids how we had to type words out to send a message and now a single button does that, and in turn, makes us lazy.

With that, I’m left scratching my head. I thought life was supposed to be something you can’t describe. Now it seems that we can just click a button and add a few words to tell of an important event; slap on a few posts, pictures, and videos that highlight 365 days.

Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that I hate this timeline thing. I actually don’t hate it, but I don’t like it either.

What I do think of the timeline is that it’s just another meaningless user interface update that’s being used for marketing purposes.

Yes, our lives have become part of a marketing plan. And here I thought that you couldn’t put a price tag on life.