A few things about 25 things about me

Monday, February 16, 2009

Facebook's phenomenon, "25 Things About Me," is a lot like a chain letter but without the curse. Scott Lamb, editor of Buzzfeed.com joins The Takeaway to deconstruct the web's latest social networking trend.


Scott Lamb

Comments [5]


25 things isn't new, it isn't a meme and Facebook notes don't need to be public. So I don't get the fuss.

There's no good reason that the whole world has to be able to read your Facebook notes. Most Facebook users and parents of Facebook users should read: "10 Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know"


I know that I have professional contacts in my Facebook network. Most of them chose to friend me, and if they don't want to know that I eat breakfast every morning and wish I could draw, they don't need to read my 25 things.

Some people are witty and clever. Others, not so much. So not everyone's list is gut splitting. So what? It is a little window onto what your friends and acquaintances are thinking about. Harmless.

We could all stand to have a conversation about privacy online and offline, but trying to draw grand conclusions about a game like 25 things is just silly.

And: it is a game, but it isn't a meme.

Feb. 16 2009 10:35 AM

The "25 Things" is a new version of the old "Chain Letter" of the past. If you have any sort of personal discipline, you can ignore it.
I was introduced to Facebook by one of my former students (I am a middle school teacher in the Bronx). Through it I am able to keep in contact with old friends. I can be appraised of my pals and some of my colleagues. I can IM with people who just happen to be on at the same time.
Facebook has its function and place in our new world. However, it is not as fulfilling as a good old fashioned phone call. Also, we have to remember that Facebook has a dark side to it. You friends can find you... so can your enemies and the kookies that slither around you world. I never put out information that is personal, compromising or hurtful to others. Follow that simple formula and you should not go wrong.

Feb. 16 2009 09:06 AM
Kim W.

I think the "25 Random Things" is something people do when they feel like they don't have anything "real" to say. what makes this spread is the fact that you tag more friends when you post your list, and those friends "have" to respond next. Since I was tagged for 25 things, I've seen -- and been tagged -- for even more lists: "48 things", "16 things", "25 things about being a new mother", "18 things about your senior year in high school", "30 firsts", blah blah blah.

I posted only one, but I've ignored the rest -- even though I've been tagged -- because I found it inane; the people on my Facebook who really know me know all those things already, and the people who do the most tagging didn't really take the time to learn any of this before now, which has me skeptical about the whole thing. Someone else on my friendslist came up with the best response I've seen -- he mined his blog for a series of 25 of the most inane-sounding statements that began with "I", and set them to music.

Feb. 16 2009 08:43 AM

The story on this meme felt a bit inaccurate and disingenuous to me. First, the 25 things isn't an application. The note module on Facebook is an application. People use it to post things like 25 things, or anything else they want to say that's longer than the status update.

Second, this really isn't new. Questionnaires like these have been around the web for over a decade; it's the mode of transmission that's changed. From email to MySpace, now Facebook.

Third, not everyone can see what you post unless you want them to. I only have about thirty friends and only they see what I post. If people with 300 friends want all their friends to see it, well, that's their choice.

Lastly, when at least three news outlets are covering this 'trend' then said trend is officially over, and culture writers should exercise a bit more work in finding something unique and worthy to write about.

Feb. 16 2009 08:01 AM
Tamara Busch

Seems like all the articles about this (LA Times, Joel Stein) and recent observations that Facebook is more for parents of MySpace users just push the idea of getting everyone online. So, "25 Random Things" was the ice breaker.

So, a few random things about me:

I cry during the Star Spangled Banner
Believe that numbers are male and female

Feb. 16 2009 06:36 AM

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