Thursday, March 26, 2009


LivingSocial is a facebook app that has taken me (and many of my friends) by storm. The LivingSocial website describes itself as a place where a person can catalog his or her "collections" and share these likes and dislikes with others. On facebook it's seems like an image database, run not very differently than many other facebook quizzes. A question is posed: name five films that twisted your mind? What are your five favorite kid shows? What five albums shaped you? You rack your brain, type the answer, and hopefully up pops the appropriate album, movie or cartoon thumbnail. This game is of course frustrating, as we are all fascinating creatures who certainly have more faves than the magic number of five (five thumbnails fits ever-so-conveniently on a computer screen, however.) It's so frustrating that we want to play it again. And again. And again.

The power of facebook is that you're not just waxing nostalgic in a vacuum. Once I proclaim that my five greatest television shows were Angel, Buffy, I Love Lucy, The Odd Couple and The Tudors all my friends can see it and my fellow Buffy fans are revealed. Who knew? And they post their faves in the same and other categories until there is a pop culture back-and-forth frenzy of posting.

Movies that warped my mind

A Clockwork Orange Blue Velvet Brazil After Hours Orphee [1950]

A Clockwork Orange, Blue Velvet, Brazil, After Hours, Orphee [1950].

What makes this particular app more appealing than the countless other memes and quizzes that populate facebook is the power of the visual. Most of the movies, books, etc. have an appropriate icon. You get to see a visual capsule of a person's tastes. It is also quite enjoyable to dredge up one's personal mythos, albeit via pop culture as diverse as Clockwork Orange and The Flintstones.

Most importantly, this app understands the basic premise of facebook - put yourself out there and see who will respond. Use your past and present to define who you are. We live in a random, high-speed society and social randomness is where it's at. The only thing I can't figure out is why they haven't made all the books, shows and movies we're citing clickable to Amazon...


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