So, it's been a pretty wild ride since June. After parting from my former employers I traveled across America by Greyhound, uprooted myself from Virginia, lived in Colorado for six weeks, and have now moved to beautiful Astoria NY. I try to keep this blog work-focused, and though I have had work it's not easily shared.
If you'd like to keep track of my adventures in New York, please direct your internet browser-machines toward Dispatches From Fort Eddy.
Today I'd like to share with you something I wrote a few weeks ago that, sadly, was not accepted for publication. Because it is rather timely, I thought it would be best to share it here then shop around stale humor, so please sit back and enjoy:
Notes On The Release of The Facebook Phone
By Max Eddy
"In an e-mail, Jamie Schopflin, a Facebook spokeswoman, said the company is, and has for some time, been developing various features and services to integrate its social functions into various mobile phones and applications. But, she wrote, 'Facebook is not building a phone.'"
Facebook, Inc. Meeting Notes 8/19/10
Special meeting called by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Malinda Robins transcribing.
Zuckerberg: Now I know that all of us are not on "cloud nine" right now. We've got those movies coming out in a few weeks, and, lets be honest people, they are not going to make us look very good. And there's been all this bad press we've been getting lately -- people saying that we don't take privacy seriously, that I have an "irresistibly punchable" face, that we're a bunch of sleazebags acting cavalier with the world's largest repository of personal data.
Well, we're going to prove them wrong. Because, friends and members of the board, I am here to present to you: the Facebook Phone.
(Mr. Zuckerburg whips back a cloth to reveal a blue, shiny smartphone on a rotating stand; those in attendance look on with interest.)
Zuckerberg: Now, our goal was is simple: make Facebook the center of people's lives. People may spend all day updating their status, stalking their ex's, and looking for pictures of coworkers in bikinis; but that's not enough. Let me show you.
(Mr. Zuckerberg picks up the phone and begins prodding at the buttons.)
Zuckerberg: Each phone is linked to an individual person, so you log in with your Facebook account, and it pre-loads the phone with information about you. I can browse my friends, find my buddy Matt, and call him. But we've designed the phone as a social hub, so as soon as I hang up my phone, my Facebook status is updated so everyone knows I made a call.
But that's not all: every person in my phone book, and anyone I have ever called, will receive a message letting them know about my private conversation with Matt. My college buddies will know, my mother will know, the receptionist at the Bellview Medical center will know, everyone will know.
The same goes for photos. If I take a picture with my phone, it's uploaded to Facebook and pushed out to everyone. Not only that, we've developed new technology that digitally improves the photos: removing red-eye, airbrushing, and automatically removing the clothes of the people in the photo and adding procedurally-generated sleazy Asian men to every photo you take. I point my camera at Malinda -- say, "hi," Mal! -- and take a picture.
(Everyone's phones buzz)
And now each of has received a picture of Malinda, completely naked, and being side-humped by an Asian guy with Venetian Blinds sunglasses and faux-hawk. You'll also notice that Malinda now appears to be fall-down drunk. That's just another photo-improvement feature we'll be rolling out with the Facebook Phone.
Recently, we've seen Google Voice make a splash with it's hilariously inept auto-transcription of voicemails. Well, we're taking it a step further. Not only will all of your calls be transcribed by our proprietary software, but they'll be uploaded to Facebook in real-time. Let's take a look at a phone call I made to my friend Matt last night.
Zuckerberg: (Reading) From my Facebook profile: "Mark Zuckerberg just called his friend Matt Richards! Mark said that stings were pretty food, rowing off his new bone, and that he's shaving an affair with Matt's life! Matt said that sounded fleet, and would go rave on his face." Isn't that great? Now everyone can know the content of our conversation.
Zuckerberg: As you can see, we're going to beat those other social networks at their own game by removing the barriers between users. And to seal that victory, we're going to give these phones away for free.
Now, you may be wondering how we can afford to give away phones with all this advanced technology. Well, people are used to seeing ads on Facebook, and I've bought a single jet made of six other jets with the revenue from Mafia Wars ads alone. With the Facebook Phone, we'll take it a step further: contextual ads, weaved seamlessly into your conversation using samples of your own voice. I'll demonstrate by calling Matt.
(Mr. Zuckerberg dials and Matt's phone begins to ring.)
Zuckerberg: Hey, Matt!
Matt: Hi, Mark.
Zuckerberg: Hey, did you want to meet up after work? (A feedback-filled electronic voice continues) AND GET SOME DELICIOUS CHIMICHANGAS FROM CAPTAIN BURRITO?
Matt: Sure, Mark. That sounds great!
Zuckerberg: Ok, how about at 8 tonight? THAT WAY WE CAN MAKE IT BACK HOME IN TIME TO CATCH THE BEST PRIME-TIME PROGRAMS ON FOX.
Matt: Sounds good.
Zuckerberg: Ok, Matt. I'll see you later. FOR AN EVENING OF SECRET, ILLICIT HOMOSEXUAL ACTIVITY IN COMFORT WITH ASTROGLIDE GEL.
Zuckerberg: As you can see, we're taking mobile advertising and social networking to a whole new level. Any questions? Yes, Roy?
Roy: What if people complain that the design of our system violates their privacy and that we, as the service provider, should make a better system that takes their needs into account?
Zuckerberg: That's a good question, Rpy. And I hope everyone heard it. All of my Facebook friends did! (Indicating the phone, to general laughter.) The answer is simple: we're not responsible for people's behavior -- they are. Just because our system is built on making it difficult to control information about you does not mean we're responsible for that information. If people lived clean, healthy lives and never did anything wrong, then they'd have nothing to be ashamed of.