Apply Yourself!

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In which Bwog contributor CML breaks down Facebook’s flashy new features, for those of us too scared to log on since they arrived on the feed.

While my brain has languished thousands of miles away from Columbia, Mark Zuckerberg and his henchmen have been busy, busy bees.  Over the past two weeks, I’ve watched assiduously as Facebook has undergone a great transformation, having installed a platform that enables CS-savvy users to add their own applications to the site. The explosion in possibilities leaves me yearning for its bygone days of narrow scope, even though I got my account barely more than a year ago.

Whether this Zuckerbergian gambit is intended to take over the lives of the 25-and-under set, or if it’s merely a plot to fatten the proverbial cow/website before leading it to the slaughterhouse/IPO, remains to be seen.  Meanwhile, the array of possible new accoutrements can get overwhelming.  Without further ado, an overview of some of the best, the worst, and the loudest bells and whistles:


Marketplace: Undoubtedly the most ambitious and most official of the additions, Marketplace is basically Facebook’s version of Craigslist.  If you wish to hawk your wares or find employees, you can place an ad for free in one of five distinct categories (For Sale, Housing, Jobs, Other, and Free Stuff); if you wish to find wares to buy or find employment yourself, you can place an ad for free in one of four distinct categories (Item Wanted, Housing Wanted, Looking for Work, Other Wanted).  Restrictions are lax enough to the extent that I was able to post the above ad in “Jobs” under “Writing/Editing” [picture of bwog sycophant ad], but traffic is stagnant enough in “Jobs” and other categories that I felt bad about leaving it up.  Still, “For Sale” is a far more convenient way of passing off your old cursed Orgo textbook to some poor bastard than posting fliers around campus, although still far inferior to the late trading site Dogears.net.

RATING:  Zuckerfabulous

30 Boxes Calendar: A high-tech, sophisticated response to the now-obsolete real-life wall calendar, 30 Boxes allows the user to click on a date and type words into a little box.  The words then appear in the box corresponding to the date you selected, just like a corporeal calendar.  But you probably check your Facebook far more often than you check that unruly thing hanging above your kitchen table.  You can also share your entire mundane routine almost real-time with the world by adding it to your profile–as banal as my summer is, I bet you’d get a kick out of checking it once or twice.

RATING: Zuckeruppagus

Gift Box: The gift box, though not really a recent thing, is notable for being the most immediate progenitor of all this chicanery.  For the nominal fee of a dollar, you can buy a 64×64 image for your new special someone to be displayed in his profile at his discretion, to show him that you just care that much. 

RATING: Zuckertarded   

iLike: The Borat-meets-Steve-Jobs hybrid of a name notwithstanding, iLike boasts a plethora of features ranging from the to the terrifyingly accurate “Discover New Music,” which gets you “free mp3s to match your tastes.”[picture of beethoven/related artists]  You can also see which (popular) bands are on tour,  “Play the iLike Challenge” (basically a music version of the Facebook staple, the “Friends Game”), or “Add songs to your profile” so the rest of the world can know how suave your taste in music is. 

RATING: Zuckeruppagus

Video: A logical progression from the now-ubiquitous Facebook photos, Video enables you to upload and view, well, videos of yourself and your friends and fellow Facebook-denizens, which is pretty cool but must be taxing on the server space. 

RATING: Zuckerfabulous

X me: Are you tired of poking people when you want to bang them?  Are you sick of this middle-school beating around the bush, or lack thereof?  Are you ready to graduate to more overt forms of Facebook flirtation, like punching in the arm, saying mean things, or outright molestation?  Do you also want to be able to get someone’s attention by “doing” something to them nonsexual as well?  Then X Me is for you.  Consent remains sexy. 

RATING: Zuckerfabulous

Games: The “Games” app features a staggering selection of six games, including the two-player Tetris euphemism “N-blox Evil Edition,” the sexually-repressed-preteenish “Stripjack,” and the objectively moronic “Wasabi,” description: “Place your sushi strategically on your tray, and then try to eat all your opponent’s sushi before they eat yours! Just don’t get it up your nose!” 

RATING: Zuckertarded

The Compass: No longer will the vague labels “Very Liberal” or “Conservative” suffice to explain your political views on Facebook: The Compass (from Washingtonpost.com) offers a ten-question survey that pretends to compute it to a much more accurate degree, then generates a nice image of a compass with the words “liberal” on the left, “moderate” in the center, “conservative” on the right, and a needle pointing to WHERE YOU STAND!  As if Columbia students needed dumber and shallower reasons to judge each other. 

RATING: Zuckertarded


My Last Songs Played: Now visitors to your Facebook profile can see that not only have you listed “Red Hot Chili Peppers” under your favorite music, but also that you listen to nothing else on iTunes, after you install an auxiliary program or two on your hard drive and wait a few hours for your music to be reorganized.  Unfortunately, the ratio of street cred gained from the app to hassle undertaken from installing it is hella low.  I couldn’t get this to work, but had I been able to, my last songs would surely have lit a fire under any women who viewed my scrawny white-guy profile:  “Mussorgsky-A Night on Bald Mountain,” “Brahms-Piano Concerto No. 2 Movement 4,” and Brahms-Piano Concerto No. 2 Movement 3.”

RATING: Zuckeruppagus

Hot or Not: But in order to seduce, one must find a chick worthy of snaring—a “babia majora,” in the impeccable Latin of Mike Myers.  Such a task becomes infinitely easier with the new application “HOT or NOT,” designed to appeal to the voyeur in us all, and a useful aid in sifting through the dirt of 2011ers to find a few diamonds worth taking advantage of.  Posting your own photo, thankfully, is optional. 

RATING: Zuckertastic!

Horoscopes: And with your new lover, is there any subject more conducive to wrapping up an awkward and vapid conversation with a score than horoscopes?  A wise man once told me that the key to seducing a woman is knowing more about her than she knows about herself: reading and reciting her horoscope is sure to make you a self-fulfilling prophet of love.


Causes: Designed specifically for the armchair activist in all of us, Causes lets anyone on Facebook to start a cause (samples range from the frivolous: “Eradicate Poverty” to the heartfelt: “HELP ME TAKE OVER THE WORLD!!!”) and donate money to it.  But aggregate donations for all causes seem to hover around four figures, and some leading intellectual luminaries, like Xavier Sala-I-Martin and Ayn Rand, contend that gifts of cash are either ineffective or immoral, leading me to the revelation that college students are, on the whole, poor and ill-disposed to throwing mounds of cash away. 

RATING: Zuckertarded

Audio: Smacking of Myspace, but pleasantly easy to disable. 

RATING: Zuckeruppagus

Conclusion: Orgiastic clutter does shake the darling aesthetic of Facebook, but its eternal chokehold on our lives shall not fade.  Remember when everyone was quitting over the Newsfeed?


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  1. Terrifying:

    There is also the new application Trakzor. Short description: "Want to know who is viewing you on facebook? How about who is viewing your friends? If so, install the Trakzor application." Continuing to make facebook more incriminating for the stalker in all of us.

  2. interesting...

    BWOG, this would be interesting if I could actually read it... but for some reason my screan is bugging out... the control panel that is usually on the left side of your website with the "about us" and other links for some reason is showing up in the middle of the page blocking my ability to read this posts... is this just me? or is something wrong with the site?

    • ndebele

      ive had the same problem. are you in zimbabwe cause i am, maybe mugabe is making the internet crash!!! chasjnosdf

      anyway just try firefox now i can read the dumb stories (yet entertaining) all the time!

    • ditto  

      Ditto with the bar down the center. I use IE.

      Also, with the Trakzor thing on Facebook, it only logs your visit if you click one someone's "See everyone who has viewed my page" button on their Trakzor app...so as long as you don't click that, your stalking secrets are safe.

  3. nice post  

    except i really do like facebook games.

  4. I was

    pleased by the absence of alliteration in this post. is CML maturing...or is his mind languisihing in the summer heat?

  5. ARR  

    Love the graphic.

  6. dammit

    the left hand column is still in the center!

  7. CML

    I am still a fan. when you grow up and become a disgruntled alex beam-esque columnist for the seattle post-intelligencer or whatever, don't forget the off-the-hand, need-no-introduction graphics.

  8. trakzor

    searched for it...can't find it. was it removed?

  9. Number 3 Again

    Actually in California... Schwarzenager and Mugabe are proly in it together...

    It must be an IE thing then.... BWOG, are you trying to get us to stop using microsoft products?

  10. zerowing  

    Convert to Firefox! ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US.

  11. CML

    I'm using Safari and I can't really see my own post, which is cool. What terrifies me more than Trakzor (which I apologize for being lame enough to miss) is that the fame of the PI has spread to the Bwog.

  12. word on

    the street is that Trakzor doesn't work b/c you aren't tracked unless you click on someone's Trakzor thing, which no one would do if they don't want to be tracked.

  13. Anonymous

    Great post, though for the compass graphic, dont you think its a little much to put Kulawik´s face right next to Hitler? Just a thought...

  14. The dial

    Hitler wasn't exactly conservative, 'National Socialist Party'?

  15. fact-checking  

    Bwog, please improve the accuracy of your reporting. David Judd is an extremist left-wing radical, not a liberal.

  16. polls

    guys... theres another whack new feature overlooked in this post: facebook polls... theyre not in the applications but on the menu on the very bottom of the page, between about developers jobs advertisers and terms privacy help

  17. Cam

    'Darling'? Facebook has been ugly and dysfunctional for a long, long time.

    I think we're just about past the point where FB is a uniquely college-centered creature. The closer it moves toward MySpace, the easier it will be for a more privacy-focused competitor to steal its base.

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