Facebook shows us with a little video how great the brave new world can be, one that you can now create: The life of a Facebook employee from his birth to present day, in video, photos and text — and we should all follow suit according to the will of the Zuckerberg company.
Have I already gone jogging today? What music did I listen to four years, two months and six days ago? Where was I on Sept. 11, 2010? Aren’t these the small details that tell our true life? For all these things there have been websites and applications for computers and portable devices for years. We can digitally record our entire life.
The former social network Facebook is now turning its main idea upside down. Instead of, as up until now, being part of a network in which one shows one’s friends something, the provider is now turning the wheel further: One no longer shares; one allows to be shared. The site automatically compiles a record of someone’s life and allows them to share it.
Facebook is further opening its technology for use from the outside, in order to mature from one among many pages on the Internet into a virtual central platform — the place where we manage our life and our identity.
In principle, that is not an especially new idea. Microsoft employee Gordon Bell recently undertook a research project between 2001 and 2007 to log his life digitally. Do we like that? Do we want to have everything available at any time, anywhere, retrievable and traceable? Are we no longer able to forget?
Anyone who views Facebook profiles today will determine that the information published there by many people only depicts a part of their life, their identity and their abundance of facets: That which we are prepared to place under the nose of a web-financed firm and its inquisitive friends and acquaintances. He who is funny is rewarded with likes; he who is successful with congratulatory comments. It is a digital makeup mirror.
Even if it is a distortion, however, how much of our lives would we ultimately like to toss to the jaws of the blue-white giant? The information will potentially remain for a lifetime, and there is no probationary period regarding whether what we are publishing will be right for us tomorrow.