Lines from a Semi-Luddite: Ugh, Facebook

29 Oct

First, a word from Warring States philosopher Xun Zi.

Xun Zi states that rites “trim what is too long and extend what is too short.” Here, he is specifically referring to mourning periods — i.e., if the rite stipulates a two-year mourning period, someone who is in deep sorrow must learn to move on at the two-year mark, while someone who is relatively unaffected must at least try to process the event for two years.

I dislike Facebook for several reasons, but one of them is that they’ve turned social rites à la Xun Zi on their head by trimming what is too short and extending what is too long. That is, I’m not hanging out with cool friends nearly as much as I should, in part because I’m at my computer, learning wall feed minutiae of people I hardly know.

Second, Facebook introduced a new feature called “Friendship Pages” today. Mashable (via CNN) gives the breakdown:

Facebook is rolling out a new breed of Pages called Friendship Pages that pull together the public wall posts, comments, photos (based on tags) and events that two friends have in common.

The Friendship Pages feature was cooked up by Facebook software engineer Wayne Kao and then brought to life in an internal hackathon event.

The Pages are designed to the tell the story of two friends on Facebook through their shared activity.

Friends recalling how they met one another should happen in the context of a “remember when we … ?” back-and-forth. Not a “let’s click and see” type process. This new feature takes all the fun out of remembering the good ol’ days.

It’s also, erm, really creepy, considering you can chart not only your Facebook friendship with Friend A, but you can also track the friendship trajectory between Friend A and Friend B, given they are friends with each other.

***

Okay, I can barely bang out another sentence; I’m yawning right now. I have more proof of why I’m a curmudgeonly septuagenarian, but it’s past my bedtime and I have to go clean my dentures.

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