Back in the bad good-old-days; Before Facebook, AOL, Compuserve, BBS’s, DARPANET, and computers the size of that lady I see in Coffee Bean every morning, peoples lives were mostly private. You’d have to put in some time and true effort to let the world know what you thought about last nights episode of 3 Stooges or Lassie. Now we expect it via Facebook, Twitter, etc.
My brother went to Cornell which got Facebook shortly after Harvard. The second he told me about it, I was ready to sign up (Of course, the second he told what Middle School lunches were like I was ready for that too. Meatball subs?!). The day Facebook opened up to Syracuse I was there. Since then, I’ve had a handful of serious girlfriends, crazy nights, cross country adventures, scandalous apartments, and various forms of employment. All these events are marked by status updates, videos, pictures, and wall posts. Facebook (and to a lesser extent MySpace, YouTube and Twitter) contain my complete life history starting from my sophomore year in college. I’ve willingly given up so much more private information than the watcher of 3 Stooges would have ever imagined.
I wonder, what could Facebook tell me about myself?
A somewhat popular meme is Facebook walls of old public figures – the Founding Fathers, God, etc. While borderline unfunny like most memes, it’s also a look into the not too distant future.
There are 10-20 people I’m Facebook friends with (who I’ve since blocked from my public timeline because they’re annoying) that have had kids. Everyday they post a new picture of them, update us with what they ate, how their bowel movements looked, and when they took a nap. In 6 years or so (At what age should children join social networks?) they’ll be on Kiddebook and five years after that on whatever replaces Facebook. They’ll have an online presence literally from birth with the Flip cam video of them exiting the womb. One of those people will be the next President of the United Sates or the Brad Pitt of their generation.
Normally, we wait until a public figure publishes a ghost written autobiography that no one reads. But imagine an interactive timeline of their life, curated from their social graph containing gigs of videos, pictures, updates, and posts. An entire life portrait without the luxury of a retrospective edit to modify, delete, and enhance. I see something like HBO Imagine only for an individuals life. Slap some ads on that and there you go.
And you know what? Pretty soon I bet there’ll be a (Facebook) app for that.