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The Internet is Great

5 March 2012

This is the first in a series of three linked posts.
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This means something. This is important.

On Friday night, I finally made the switch. I finally said “what the hell” and switched over my Facebook profile to Timeline. I know, I know. This is rather important for you to know — the Facebook preferences of an ebook author has to be the most interesting subject on everyone’s mind right now.

Here’s the thing, though — the Facebook Timeline is amazing. It plots for you, right there, your entire history for the time you’ve been on Facebook. Now, I’ve talked about archiving memories to the Internet before, but that’s sort of a different thing — I was talking about blogs there, and most of us at least have an idea of something we want to say when we put together a blog entry. Facebook is different.

A lot of the stuff we post to Facebook (and I’m generalizing, but I’m doing so using 150-odd friends as a relative sample) is generally throwaway stuff. What we ate for dinner, a picture of the dogs, some movie quotes. But then, it really isn’t throwaway stuff. It’s an indicator of our mindset, a snapshot of our moods, feelings, likes at a particular time. It’s a quick-and-dirty profile of who we were at a specific moment in time. And not just who we were — who our friends were, and what they were thinking.

Facebook Timeline is more than a cool design choice from a fun little social media site — it’s a historical document. A collection of little snapshots, a smattering of who we used to be and who we are, available for easy viewing. Looking at my Timeline on Friday night reminded me of so many little events, little conversations I’d almost forgotten.

And here’s something it did that I didn’t think anything could do — it made me love my wife even more. Now, stick with me, because this is where it gets all Hallmark-ish. I realized (not for the first time; but the realization was stronger than it has ever been) that my wife is, in all actuality, my best friend. Yeah, I know. Everyone says that, to the point that it’s a cliche… but it’s 100% true. Her interactions with me on my Facebook wall are those of a good friend, someone who gets my jokes, calls me on it when I’m being a jackass. I’ve known my wife is my best friend for years, but to see it posted right there in front of me… it was a powerful feeling, and I owe a lot to the people who put together Facebook Timeline.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. 5 March 2012 1012

    Like you, when I saw the timeline, I saw just how much I knew about my relationships with others. Especially my wife. I saw that long days at work and feeling cruddy were never Facebook post fodder because at the end of a long day, I got to hang out with my wife, who knows more about me than anyone ever will. (And I’m a pretty open guy.) We’re a single income household, and there are times we think, “Man, we’ve never had a big vacation.” But then I look at the timeline and see our long weekends together, and all the things we do during the week that make it all a blast.

    I find Internet archives to be a good reminder of things. I can look at old LiveJournal posts bemoaning that I wasn’t productive, and I can see reasons why. And…I can see that there was a period of time when I was just lazy. I can see why I’ve been with my wife coming up on 20 years. Seeing all those trends really is cool.

    So…All Hail the Internet!!!

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