I was checking out my Facebook page a couple of weeks ago when I noticed I’d been tagged. I was mentioned in someone’s note, “25 Things About Me”. Actually, I wasn’t mentioned in any of the 25 things. Instead, I was being asked to write 25 things about myself. I’ve been writing a consistent blog for about a year now and have more than 400 separate entries on my site. They tend to fall in a few categories: something about me, stories about people I know, how I feel about something. There is one common thread running through all of them: me.
I ignored the tag until I was tagged twice more. I have a Facebook page, but I also have a MySpace site (I also have a Twitter account, but we won’t go there). MySpace tends to be more anonymous. I have many friends on MySpace, people whose blogs I read and others who read my blogs and send me comments, but I’ve only met a handful of them in person. Surveys abound on MySpace. I think they’re more prevalent because we don’t know all the little details about one another. Facebook seems to be geared towards linking you with people you already know: friends from high school and college, relatives near and far. Surely I didn’t have to post 25 things about myself when all of these people knew the real me.
By now, I had been tagged a dozen times. So, I took a look at some of the lists people were providing. There were some facts that I knew about, major seismic events in their lives. Some of them were totally trivial and – frankly – not worth the pixels on my screen to read. But there was a third category too. As I write this, the “25 Things About Me” request has gone viral on Facebook. It’s been mentioned in Time Magazine. Other sites make fun of it or adopt its conceit (“25 Things About the Economy”).
As someone who has never sent money to Nigerian princes online, someone who is really not interested in adding 37 to my age and dividing it by two, as someone who does not fill out surveys at restaurants and has risked ancient curses by not passing chain letters on to twenty people I know, I do recommend coming up with your list of 25. It turns out even the people I’ve known all my life hold small secrets that I was not aware of. And – since I’ve posted my 25 – I’ve gotten some of the same types of notes back. It may end up being a big marketing scheme or a way for the government to ferret out more information from its citizenry, but I think we all can risk a bit of ourselves to bring our deeply-divided, widely spaced world just a little bit closer together.