March 5, 2012

Why Timeline isn’t Entirely Lame. ~ Dani Katz


I was as adamant about hating on Facebook’s new Timeline as everyone else was.  I’m not twelve, I railed.

I hated MySpace the first time it came around, and why would I want to put time and effort into building and decorating yet another (albeit virtual) identity when I’ve worked so hard to unravel my three dimensional ones?  I cringed when clicking through to “friends’” pages, only to find wildly decorated statements of cool and sexy and hipster marred by clumpy columns of inchoate activities and updates.  The layout was neither linear nor logical, and the horizontally stretched images of bikini-clad yoga bods and elaborate sacred geometry illustrations were an affront to my sense of online decorum and my appreciation of humility.

I was only supremely horrified when the Facebook overlords hijacked my profile page and strong-armed it into the monstrosity that is Timeline.  I was indignant.  How dare the thoughtless techno-geeks who were offering me a free social networking service take it upon themselves to change the structure without my input!

It’s one of the most maddening and macrocosmically transformative aspects of Facebook and our global addiction to it.  The Facebook folks – clearly add twenty-somethings myopically obsessed with their jobs – are ever and al(l)ways “updating” the system and how we interface with it, thus forcing us to adapt at a pace we’re neither used to, nor comfortable with.  Given the illions of us who tap into Facebook on a daily (okay, hourly) basis, we are necessarily learning to integrate and navigate change exponentially more quickly than any species on the planet ever has.[1]

Sean MacEntee

Forced to come to terms with this hideous new interface that I’d never really explored, only resisted and declared wretched because it was new and it was different and it was happening against my will – the trifecta of human reasoning for hating anything, I decided to dig in, and see what it was about.

I clicked on the epynonymous “timeline” and was transported back to 2007 when I joined the site.

The nostalgic trip down virtual memory lane was precisely the procrastination for which I was searching because deadlines only encourage writers to avoid work at all costs by wasting time on the Internet.  Three years and a dozen Timeline curated windows into my virtual Facebook life later, I noticed a pattern – a big, ugly shadowy pattern that was inviting a shift.

I was quickly and unequivocably facing with a habit that had me posting dozens of photographs of injuries –the blisters I earned in dance class, the bruises and scrapes I endured when I crashed my scooter in the rain, the finger I smashed in the bathroom door at my favorite Vietnamese restaurant – there were scores of them plastering my yesteryear’s walls, comprising a giant, pixelated testament to my identification with pain and suffering and injury and blood.

And as I swallowed this not quite so bitter as it used to be when I was lobbying for attention and sympathy for my every scrape and spill pill, I experienced an unexpected surge of appreciation for this dreaded Timeline that inadvertently showed me an aspect of myself that was inviting acknowledgment, which then allowed me to let it go.

Thank you, Timeline and Facebook overlords for the gentle bitch-slap, and the inspiration to let go of the blood and the drama, as I scour my photo albums for an appropriate profile banner.

[1] Root races, notwithstanding, though possibly them, too.  I don’t have conscious memory of day-to-day Atlantean life, so it’s hard to say with any certainty.


Edited by Hayley Samuelson


Dani Katz established her reputation as one of Los Angeles’ finest literary talents by way of her bold voice, her expanded perspective and her mastery of language, having published hundreds of articles in the LA Weekly, Los Angeles Times, Whole Life Times, LA Yoga and Swindle, among others.  In addition to her broad spectrum of practical experience and formal studies, including a Master’s Degree in Journalism, she has spent the past seven years immersed in the study of integrated languaging and conscious communication, researching and perfecting the myriad ways, whys and hows that language influences our every human experience.  Katz currently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she just finished writing her first book, which may or may not be called Love in the Time of Chemtrails.

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