I remember these things. I remember standing in the courtyard in junior high, this girl I knew but not very well responding to my “Hello” with “I have something for you” and stuffing the something into my hand. It was a square of binder paper covered in clean-cut AZN girl handwriting.
It wasn’t specifically addressed to me, though she said it was “something for [me].” Nay, it was a chain letter. Perhaps this girl did not have e-mail or was only allowed to go on for x hours after homework was done or maybe she e-mailed the chain to all of her core friends and reserved the remaining y copies to distribute to B-list people on actual, physical binder paper.
Whatever her reasons, I did not forward her note. (How lame that one of my initial memories of the communicative action “to forward” is from chain letters!) I did not copy it, did not count the minimum n people I had to reach with its message. I just remember thinking, “Damn, you actually took the time to write this y times?”
With quizzes, blogs, and the relatively new invention of tagging, the junior high chain letter has hit its third wind. I’ve been tagged multiple times since I first saw the return of “# things about me” a few months ago, and I haven’t read a single one of them. I have not initiated any drafts of 25 things about me (as this version of the chain requires 25 things). I have not counted a list of 25 Facebook friends I’d consider tagging (as this version of the chain requires 25 people). Aside from the fact that I read those Facebook notifications that “[I’ve] been tagged in a note,” I have done nothing to further the meme.
Now, though, I am suspicious that the 25 Things Meme of 2009 is really a guerrilla customer acquisition campaign cooked up by one really clever person working at Facebook. Read, from The Social:
Analytics firm Compete.com says that there may actually have been a boost to Facebook traffic as a result of “25 Things,” at least in the U.S.: 60 percent more Facebook profiles were created in January than in December. That’s not surprising, because Facebook still requires a user account to access all its content–curious newcomers who read about “25 Things” would need to register for accounts in order to explore it.
Editor’s Note: People who really want to learn 25 random things about me should just pop on over here, because hey: I HAVE A BLOG. Just because the human mind better consumes things in lists, that doesn’t mean I’m focused enough to think of 25 things that I haven’t told anyone already. (My stories are simple and so oft repeated that they might just be “classic:” pushed MC Hammer’s daughter, can whistle through my nose, am a twin, blah blah.)
To satisfy the voyeuristic reader in you, though, here’s what I posted in response to the 25 things findings:
I’ll sum up 25 interesting things about me here:
1. I have not read a single one of your “25 things.” It doesn’t mean I dislike you. It just means I don’t have time to read 25 things.
25. I will only do 25 things if Facebook pays me.