Dear Facebook and Youtube, Please Don’t Nail Your Own Coffins.

I miss Bebo. Those were simpler times. The networking site unofficially died around 2005 when Myspace came along with a far stronger formula for social networking success. With a quick Google search you can still occasionally find a mate’s old Bebo page and use their cringeworthy past as ammunition. I used this form of terror against a friend I shall not name and shame, whose Bebo page described them as, “just a little bit odd but hopefully one day the world will get me”. Awh.

Yes, Bebo and Myspace are the cyber equivalent of old family photos you don’t want any of your new friends to see. But this is soon to happen to Facebook, with the widespread introduction of… Timeline.

Zuckerburg and Co. developed Facebook Timeline back in the autumn of 2011, and now they are forcing it upon us, like a vicious political regime.

One day (February 21st 2012), I logged on to Facebook to receive a less than courteous message from the people at FB telling me I had 7 days to prepare until my Timeline automatically went live. I felt the little boy in The Ring. It was distressing.

The basic premise behind the platform is to make your Facebook profile an online map of your life. Even your birth is on there. And to make it compulsory is a little too far.

For one, I don’t really like the way it looks. It’s confusing. I still don’t know how to change my cover photo, which makes me feel old, as if Facebook is now an under 15 thing. Secondly, you can access anyone’s cringeworthy statuses from the earliest moment they signed up to Facebook, essentially making the site as bad as Bebo, Myspace and Piczo. R.I.P.

Similarly I miss Limewire. It was my first port of call for any album, track or film I wanted to watch. Since being injected with piracy morals by a friend who is a part of the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC), a group of artists against filesharing, I now no longer download music illegally. But I still don’t pay for it. Instead I listen on Youtube, like many others do, just because I can’t constitute paying 99p on iTunes, unless I really really REALLY like the track.

But in the last few months Youtube has also become a similarly stressful experience to use. Everytime I want to listen to a song, I’m forced to watch a 30 second advert involving the human monstrosity that is Pitbull, prancing around some stadium in Brazil, or Cheryl Cole walking towards me with a L’oreal product and loads of weird bouncy hair that makes her look like an extra off My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. It’s unfair Youtube!

Hopefully these sites aren’t nailing their own coffins. The short history of social networking sites shows that with change people leave, and last year 6 million Americans waved goodbye to Facebook.

Will you do the same?

Jack Rooke

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Filed under Opinion, Technology, Video

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