I'm not quite sure why things like this bother me, but they do. Perhaps I'm a bit neurotic (I prefer "perfectionist)." Whatever you want to call it, I believe that Facebook needs to make some changes.
Now, you're probably thinking, "Absurdity of absurdities! Facebook is perfect! What changes could possibly be made?"
Alright, fine; you probably weren't thinking that (I hope). We all know the Facebook experience can be improved. And the truth is, they're already doing a decent job, constantly upgrading and adding new features. Last November, Zuckerberg announced a new messaging system
, which will soon integrate text-messaging, IM, and e-mail into Facebook conversations (that's right, look forward to email@example.com
). And what's more, rumor has it that Skype video chat
will soon be making its way to the site.
Still, Facebook's last major overhaul left something to be desired. As you may recall, they completely revamped our profiles. Overall, I believe the upgrade was a step in the right direction--photographs are easier to navigate, profiles are more customizable, and the "See Friendship" feature is pretty neat.
What's my problem then? The "Info" section.
This, as you may recognize, is the "Arts and Entertainment" portion of your profile. Certainly an improvement upon the old system, which merely allowed users to type in the names of artists they listened to. Now there's a nice picture to go along with the name of the band. Looks great. Here's a look at the "Television" section:
Again, clearly an improvement by my standards. However, there is one problem. These are the bands and television shows that I claim to be interested in. These are not necessarily the bands that I actually listen to. These may very well be the bands that I want you to think I listen to. Likewise with television series. Let's not kid ourselves, we've all been guilty of this phenomenon at one point or another. After all, Facebook is how people express their individuality through the creations of others (thank you, Stewie). We want to give off a certain impression of ourselves, and so, sometimes, we lie.
Facebook can do better than that.
People value accuracy when it comes to social networking. We want photos with accurate tags and descriptions. We want to know where people work, what classes they are taking, their political and religious affiliations. And with the recent advent of geographical tagging services such as Gowalla
, we want to know exactly where a person is and when.
Of course, people would be displeased if Foursquare merely let its users type in where they claimed
to be at a certain time instead of where they actually were. "Jeffrey just checked in at the Playboy Mansion, suckaaaaaas!"
This sort of cheating
is looked down upon. And yet, this is exactly what Facebook is doing with our profiles.
But do not worry, for I have a solution!
Services such as Last.fm and Netflix provide its users with a more comprehensive profile. Last.fm keeps track of every song you listen to, whether it's on their radio, iTunes, or your iPod. It even synchronizes with services such as The Hype Machine
, a music-blog aggregator.
Last.fm provides a more detailed and accurate account of the bands a person is actually listening to. Netflix provides a similar feature:
It is my opinion that the more accurate the information, the more valuable it is, especially in a world where people will stop and read what you had for breakfast this morning. Social networking is built around the assumption that this type of information is interesting to our friends and acquaintances. Why settle for less?
I predict that Facebook will integrate services such as these in the future. Imagine being able to, with the click of a button, sync your profile with your Last.fm, Pandora, Netflix, Google TV, Goodreads, even your Nook or Kindle! By doing so, Facebook could create a more vibrant and valuable social networking experience.
Okay, so maybe "neurotic" wasn't such a bad choice of words after all...
Would you like to see more accurate profile information on Facebook?
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