The News Feed

When I first joined The Facebook, there were about 500 people signed up. It was started by a random guy at Harvard my senior year, mainly for a practical reason.

All Harvard students, other than Freshmen, are divided into 12 "houses"-- each with about 400 people. Each house has their own online facebook, but you can only access your own house's facebook. It's stupid. Someone would say, "I'm in love with some girl in one of my sections," and instead of showing me her picture on her house's online facebook, I'd have to settle for a description, or perhaps a drawing.

So this kid Zuckerberg starts a site called The Facebook, so Harvard kids could post their pictures and a little profile and anyone could view anyone else, regardless of their house. He adapted the "Friendster" idea of having a list of your "friends."

Well it caught on.

It quickly became a thing at Harvard that everyone was doing and talking about. It was a phenomenal procrastinating device, and it was addictive. 500 people quickly turned into 3,000, and soon Zuckerberg extended the site to Yale. Then 10 other schools.

You know how the story goes-- it's a national phenomenon now, and latest I heard Yahoo! had offered Zuckerberg over a billion dollars for it.

Anyway nowadays I visit the site only sparingly. When I went on couple months ago noticed this horrifying new "News Feed" feature, which publicizes every single profile edit I make or new "friend" match of mine on the home page of every one of my "friends."

This is terrible for two reasons. First, from now on, every time someone really embarrassing befriends me, everyone will know about it. Second, the profile edit thing simply means that I will never edit my profile again. I've already seen on my News Feed a number of people add something like "chillin like a villain" to their Interests, and I cringe each time. A profile edit is just not worth it. That said, this was all a moot point, considering that I haven't edited my profile in over two years.

And then my girlfriend noticed that I was listed as "single" on my profile.

At first, she mentioned it in passing, in a joking manner. I explained that I was never going to change it to "in a relationship" because it would be publicized on everyone's front page and that would just be awkward. She understood.

Then one day she mentioned it again. She was becoming restless. Then she started threatening to change her myspace profile to "single." So finally, the other day, I said screw it, and I changed it. It couldn't be that big a deal, right?

An hour after changing it I got a text message from my sister: "Just so you know on the top of everyone's homepage it says 'Tim Urban has gone from single to in a relationship.'"

Then I got an email from a friend: "I'm glad you decided to announce to the world that you're no longer available."

Another: "It must be serious if you posted it on the facebook." I also got a couple phone messages. Thanks, Zuckerberg.

Even worse, any time anyone breaks up with someone, there's a public memorial on the News Feed-- "Johnny has gone from being in a relationship to single." Or, "Tom has gone from looking for friendship to looking for dating and random play.


On a completely unrelated note (so much so that it warranted a line), I can already see this Kenny Rogers pine tar cheating thing escalating to an annoying level. I really hope this doesn't get out of hand. I actually think it was classy of LaRussa not to try to get Rogers ejected-- it would have been a bitchy move if he had. I like Rogers, and I like Detroit, and it would be a damn shame if Detroit's great run was overshadowed by this. Yes, he was using pine tar, and yes, he lied about it afterwards. But according to the players, 60% of pitchers use it, so big deal. Of course, the media now has a new topic to write about, so this will become way overblown. This is a safe prediction, because if it doesn't become overblown, I can just go back and erase this paragraph.


Meghan V said...

the same thing happened to me. but i realized that i, like you, was being a retard, because you can go to privacy controls and tell them not to advertise anything on the feed. good to know if you ever break up.

(yes i read your blog)

Anonymous said...

i just befriended you on the facebook.

Anonymous said...

the kenny rogers thing has officially become overblown.