The new Facebook Timeline feature was no doubt created to help people record and display their experiences.
It looks more like a collection to showcase, what I call the "photo opp" in corporate political environment (being seen in the act of doing something), than social gesture.
I cannot help but think that it is going to encourage indulging the latent voyeuristic and narcissistic tendencies in people. Who, in an effort to document experiences, will possibly dilute the very moment worth savoring first.
The ticker? Let's face it, how can you be intimate with all your friends watching in the room with you? Activity as performance. Then performance as identity.
At every turn, Facebook seems to have subverted the intimacy of social experiences by turning them into public performances. Not only has the intimacy of what was once private slowly eroded into the public, but more and more of Facebook users’ online activity is being drawn into the performative identity. [Joe Moon; hat tip Gina Trapani]
We do have some of that on Twitter, of course. Thankfully, Twitter slips away the moment it's recorded. And now, with its faithful companion at its side, Klout, it encourages what I call the treadmill effect -- people busily going nowhere, just to keep up.
Google+ is a great place to have those conversations and have them stored in your profile, which now you can search. Since they opened the network to the general public, new conversations and threads are populating the stream. Filling it with the interesting, if sometimes tangential, chatter of a public square, and the occasional direct message from people you don't know.
Facebook is the place that wants to keep you coming back and stay in to cultivate your image. Although you end up having no idea if they will preserve the documented narrative of your memories, nor who is recording and watching behind the scenes.
In light of this, which one is more important to you: Having an awesome experience, or recording and documenting it?
If you're a business, are pinning your hopes on people talking about your product or service, and don't know where to invest your first dollar, take heart. People still get things done face to face, by email, or by phone.
[chart: hat tip Jackie Huba]