How the New Facebook Timeline Represents Post Postmodernism

daniel adler
Facebook Timeline reminded me that I had a chinstrap when I was 18.

Facebook’s new Timeline demonstrates what the internet is becoming: a constant flow of information. But instead of looking at the internet in a linearly chronological sense, let’s think about other ways to approach it. If you really wanted to Facebook stalk someone, you would spend the first few minutes on their page admiring their most recent posts and pictures; then you’d want to check for consistency, phases and eccentricities. You’d go back in time.

Then after finding what you’re looking for — their last significant other, pictures of them with their family, or what they looked like in high school — you’d return to the recent stuff. This would give you a good idea of what they’re like, how they’ve changed and how they’ve stayed the same.

Of course, as the internet becomes more linear, more streamlined, there will be less desire to go back to what is old, unless something really stands out. How many people would want to read the New York Times headlines from October 14, 2005? But I bet a lot would want to read the headlines from September 11, 2001.

Now imagine someone writing a novel like that, a piece of classic literature that fits into our Internet era, going with the grain, and against it. Post postmodernism, anyone?

By Daniel Ryan Adler

Daniel Adler writes fiction and nonfiction and is finishing his MFA at University of South Carolina.

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