I think we can all agree Facebook is a wonderful tool. Where else can you stalk others, waste time and tell strangers that “Lost” is your favorite television show, all at the same time?
“Well,” you may answer, “I’m pretty sure you can do those same things on MySpace.” To which I’d respond by saying, “Who asked you?” Really, Facebook has revolutionized the way we connect with each other, which is why I feel it’s my duty to warn you against the one imperfection on this otherwise perfect social network. The lone blemish on the Face of the Book, if you will. It is an application called “Compare People,” and you must not add it. It will make you feel bad about yourself, and I know this because it happened to me.
Let me explain through the magic of metaphor. Imagine, if you will, the girl’s bathroom in the Humanities and Social Sciences Building /Performing Arts building. Unless you’re a boy – imagine your own bathroom, creeps! This is the main restroom used by statuesque dance majors who, according to reliable stereotypes, are all beautiful and have great bodies. A trip to this particular location, then, often results in a relieved bladder but a bruised ego. “Compare People” is the Net equivalent of this confidence-crushing girls bathroom, except that you can’t use it to wash your hands when you’re through.
“Compare People” initially lures you into a false sense of security, allowing you to think YOU are the judge. The application pulls two friends off of your list, and then asks you to choose between them on topics ranging from “better taste in music” to “can drink more” to “would rather sleep with.” I have to admit, imagining myself to be the final authority on my friends is more than appealing. I imagine it’s like a jousting match, and that they both salute me from their profile pictures before jumping across the computer monitor to pummel each other.
The problem with this application is it also allows other people to judge you. I’d like “Compare People” if it was instead called “Jessica Judges People on Arbitrary Characteristics,” but the actual application falls tragically short. After you compare your friends, you continue to a page showing your rankings. The page indicates how many times you were up for a certain topic, and how many of those times you’ve been named the winner. And I have to say: I’m not completely thrilled with my standings.
It isn’t all bad. For example, I’ve received 100 percent of the vote for the “most punctual” and “would rather be trapped on a desert island with” categories, meaning I’ve been voted the victor one out of one times these questions were asked. Some people may think a one out of one vote isn’t exactly a great victory, and I’m being childish and overly simplistic. To those people, I would say, “I know you are, but what am I?” A win is a win, and if you’re planning to be stranded on a desert island on time, then you know who to call.
The problem occurs when I look at questions that have been asked as many times as twice, or even up to four times. Suddenly, my wins go way down. For example, I’ve won a disappointing two votes out of four on “more attractive.” That’s 50 percent. Based on that average, I’ve flunked being attractive. It’s a depressing thought.
It also concerns me that I lost in the “better sense of humor” category, garnering a pitiful one out of three votes. Either these people have not read this column, or read this column and think I suck.
The most disturbing loss, however, is under the “smells nicer” category, for which I’ve received a staggering zero out of two votes. I’d never considered the notion that I might smell bad, but this has suddenly caused mass anxiety. When I voiced my concerns to my sister, who also has the “Compare People” application on her Facebook, she pointed out that it’s all pretty arbitrary and relative.
“So maybe you don’t smell bad, maybe the people you were matched up against just smell especially good,” she suggested, leading me to suspect she’s one of the people who voted against me. My own sister! You heard it here, folks: “Compare People” tears families apart.
Well, no more. I refuse to let some silly Facebook application make me feel bad about myself. I’m taking immediate action: I’m getting some smellier friends.