Happy Birthday: Now Spill All Your Secrets.

What were you doing at midnight on February 4, 2009? Sleeping? Chomping down a late-night snack? Facebooking? If the latter, you were unwittingly celebrating Mark Zuckerberg’s creation on its fifth birthday.


Five years and 150 million users later, Facebook is still the topic of heated debate. What does this construct say about our society? What impact is it having? What social mores is it changing? These questions, and others, will continue to be posed and considered for years to come and, fortunately, Facebook will keep delivering material for speculation. Take, for example, the “25 Random Things” note racing through this social network’s veins like some epidemic virus. The object is to fill out a list of 25 things about yourself, a blend of the private and the personal, and publish it to your friends. They are then supposed to fill out a list about themselves in turn, and pass it on. As John Timpane of the Philadelphia Inquirer observes, after one person sent this note to ten others, and those ten sent the note to ten of their friends, “soon Facebook – a virtual living room where people hang out and tell everyone else what they’re doing and thinking – is awash with personal revelations, admissions, info once kept private.”

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