All About Me
It charged like a wildfire through dry timber, the 25 Things survey spread across Facebook in just a matter of days becoming a sort of Internet phenomenon. Its success is due in part to basic organizing fundamentals, a kind of phone tree, one person tags 25 people, and those 25 tag 625, and those 625 tag 15,625, and those 15,625 tag 390,625 other people and so on and ad infinitum.
It's the same principle used to great effect in the Obama campaign. At many, if not all, of President Obama's campaign stops he implored supporters to call friends and encourage them to vote - for Obama, of course.
The survey was novel in its breadth and concentration through Facebook, but not in its intent. Many similar solicitations have been floating around the Internet for some time, mainly in the form of emailed chain letters. And even Facebook has offered users prefabricated quizzes like, "What Brand Are You?" and "Which Twilight Character are you?"
But what's most fascinating about this recent flurry of self-disclousre is that it highlights our desire to share ourselves, or at least project a more pristine image of ourselves to others.
But is it too idealistic to imagine that there is a push for introspection here, too? Books like "All About Me," and "All About Us," or this book from Starbucks that I'm carrying today, "FIVE: Where Will You Be In Five Years," can offer some insight into who we are - who we've become. I think the same is true for the Facebook survey.
My 25 Things took me three hours to complete, but reading it again before I posted it was pleasant, refreshing and provocative. It gave me a sort of homesick feeling, a little nostalgia for the person I was and some perspective on the person I've become; I remembered the passion I had for some things and the naivete with which I considered others, and maybe exposed some of the cynicism that has crept into my personality.
Maybe we need more of these surveys, especially in a world where it seems we do more running than sitting, more multi-tasking than concentrating, more blurting things out than composing our thoughts, and more being impulsive than being gracious and reserved.
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