Sunday, February 6, 2011

40DLD-21/LAFB #7: Status Updates, or, Death of Original Thought

As I've said before, anything FaceBook ever put out seriously, someone would find a way to make it sarcastic.  The same holds true for the Status Update.  Originally, it was conceived to tell people whether you were in class, at work, at home, or any of several other generic places you might be, along with a "choose your own adventure" option.  So, instead of "Zechariah is working," I could put in "Zechariah is at the mall."  Later, that would sarcastically become something like "Zechariah is killing time until his next class by FaceBooking."  As this caught on, we would check out one another's pages to see what clever status message we could come up with.  Before the days of the mini-feed, there was a separate page for photo uploads, events, and status updates.

The first problem encountered, which took probably a year or more before FaceBook decided to do anything about it, was that pesky little "is" locked in there.  Those of you who care know what passive voice is: "Zechariah is wanting ice cream."  This means every verb has to play second fiddle to the almighty "is."  This was especially fun for couples who shared a profile back in the day: "BradandStacy is driving to Nashville."  Seriously, both of you are driving at the same time?  Are you both sitting in the same seat, too?  Because that would be awesome...but would make more sense on a tandem bicycle than in a car.

After they rid us of that pesky "is," all bets were off.  At some point, we all got tired of trying to make it a sentence anymore that began with our name, and by this point most of us forget that our name is even attached to it, as in "Zechariah Brewer WHAT'S WITH ALL THE PEOPLEZ UP IN HEAH!?!??!?"

Initially, you would only see one or two updates per day.  That way, I could look all the way down my brand new news feed that FaceBook developed in 2006 and find out what all my friends had been doing that day.  Before long, however, people realized that it was worth your time to update your status more often, as other people were also updating more often, meaning whatever you had posted earlier would probably get buried.  I remember selectively creating events and posting things I wanted people to comment on during times lots of people would probably be online, meaning more potential responses.

But I couldn't be satisfied with just posting it, I had to ask people, "Hey, did you read my status update?" Because, after all, if they had read it, I'd hate to repeat myself and get the dreaded "I know, I read your status update."  This would ultimately become like the prison where everybody had read the one joke book so many times, they knew them all, so they would just call out the number to the joke and everybody would laugh.  Now, we have people who are serial posters.  They update their status about every five minutes with some new wit, insight, quote, or general nonsense about what they're doing that's not really all that important anyway.

At some point, I noticed that my desire to blog had severely diminished, since whatever idea I had for a blog could be shortened into a thesis that could be put in status form, and any further explanation could follow in comments if it attracted attention.  In turn, you also saw a decrease in one-line blog posts, which used to be very common.  The only problem is that now, there's such an overload in status updates (along with celebrity tweets - because their opinions mean so much) that they're very easily lost.  Like comic strips, they're so plentiful and so consistently renewed that hardly anybody remembers a strip after the first day unless it's really good (or if they have it in a book or cut it out of the newspaper and saved it).  Nobody's going around saying, "Hey, remember that status update I had 12 Wednesdays ago?"

Ideas are just so plentiful that they get lost in the mix throughout time.  Nobody cares to go back and read about your statuses from this time last year.  Had our parents' generation had this, there would have been programs for printing said statuses and keeping them in a book like a photo album.  But now, we don't need to keep them on paper (no matter how clever they might have been) because they're on the internet.  If anybody ever really cared to read them, they could just go back and find them, right?

Whatever the case may be, don't cease to write stuff down.  It's all fun and games until the year 1984 rolls around. 

No comments:

Post a Comment