On average, an ordinary, freedom-loving American spends about eight hours a month on Facebook. That's sixteen minutes a day, seven day a week, ninety six hours a year. Simple math aside, Mark Zuckerberg has you under his watch for eight full days. And, if you have Facebook on your smartphone, well then...
Some might use that tidbit of information as viral proof that, yes, the Mayan calendar is definitely accurate. Others might attribute this social media addiction to an absence of interpersonal communication in the self-obsessed digital age. And other others might just be on Facebook right now, too busy to care about those dumb statistics. But what do we Facebook-digest in those eight full days of the year?
Of course, we have cat photos, baby photos, last night photos, lyrics as Facebook statuses, funny articles to share, memes, gifs, jpegs, m4as, mp3s, blaring political statements, endless events, birthdays, declarations, proclamations, graduations and consolations on the stream of informational consciousness that is the "News Feed." None of these items bare any repeating.
But, this year, the day-draining site's engineers have taken it a step further to remind you how much time you're living/wasting with their product. The bubble has been reinforced when Facebook rolled out the new "Best in 2012" feature yesterday. When I logged on in the morning, personal listicles of what the social network deemed 'The Biggest Shit These People Have Done' on and off of the computer screen popped up on the screen like acne.
I took a look at what my 2012 existence was worth in cold hard megabytes, according to Facebook's logic. And, you know, I learned a lot about what I've been up to. But I still (nor never will) have no idea if I feel happy about myself.
I learned that I was in a bunch of blurry photos with people.
I learned that I have made exactly 153 new friends, many of which say 'Happy Birthday' on my wall once a year.
With that being said, 109 friends posted on my wall on July 15th, 2012. The rest of my friends who didn't? Well, I don't talk to them anymore so I wouldn't know.
I learned that I went to Myrtle Beach, North Carolina, in mid-August. I don't remember what happened that trip because I didn't take any pictures. Facebook made sure that I would notice my mistake.
However, Facebook also reminded me that I went to Montreal
in October and did
take pictures. Lucky me!
I learned that, in November, I registered to be an organ donor as an attachment on my request to switch voting locations. It was done strictly for scientific purposes.
I learned that I started (and soon left) a blogging job for a separate company that I'm pretty sure was a mob front. Good grief.
I learned that I shot photos of street art and stickers. Nobody liked them.
I learned that a friend of mine once thought I looked like this guy:
I learned that I opened up a book once and found the following message. Also, I am still absolutely positive that this summarizes America's discontent with their elected representatives more than anything else than exists on the World Wide Web:
I learned that many of my friends enjoy my post-graduation fears.
I learned that I started working at the Voice almost a year ago.
And I learned that 2012 has come to an end.
The "Best of 2012" feature is this uncomfortable satisfaction for us users as we edge our Internet heads into the new year - one abound with even more memes to dissect and GIFs to laugh at. It is Facebook's way of telling you that you are a member of society. Just look at everything you've done! You went to North Carolina! You became an organ donor! And you told people about it! More collectively, you told Facebook about it!
It is this awkward shift in social media to further solidify your bond with everyone else around you, whether it's a geotagged tweet, an Instagram of the beach, a check in on Foursquare or, in this case, a Facebook timeline of all the (mostly) great times you had with those people over the past few months. And, looking beyond 2012, you can always go to the end of your social network: last stop on the timeline - birth. Man, oh man, how the Internet and ourselves are transforming right in front of our eyes (read: monitor).
I'm getting too deep into this for my own good. I need to get back on Facebook. Onward into another year of stalking.