Now I have the pleasure of explaining to even more people that I did not, in fact, succeed in graduating yet. One move would be to just delete it and hope no one saw it. If someone did, then I invariably get to enjoy that great conversation with someone that says, “I thought you graduated already? What happened man?” Because nothing sets the tone for an unplanned run-in with an old B-grade acquaintance quite like having to explain your greatest failings in life thus far. As if putting a good face on the situation for relatives that I see at weddings and funerals wasn’t fun enough, now I get to step it up and confront my failure to people that really aren’t emotionally invested in my success at all: my “friends” on Facebook.
But why stop here, Facebook? I think you should require people to forecast a time by which they expect to complete or accomplish other huge life goals, like getting married, having kids, writing that novel, or finally climbing Everest.
You could change the format, too. Sure, you could keep it the same and, on the expected date, just brazenly publish a triumphant announcement that so and so got married today, whether or not they did. But how fun would it be, instead, to force the person to answer whether or not they have accomplished the goal and then publish their response:
“Lisa still has not found someone who wants to have kids with her.”
“Joey never found time to sail the French Riviera.”
“Dan is still not making six figures.”
“Bob did not get married today.”
“Jen still lives with her parents.”
You could publish the failure on the expected date of success, or maybe you could even have rolling status updates, or a life checklist sidebar on my profile page: “Charlie likes Right Guard, Coca Cola, Diamondback Bikes, the Beegees, and has not found a female who will put up with him for more than a few months at a time.”
Facebook makes your private life public, and it does a great job giving you opportunities to celebrate the little things you have accomplished. But why not give us all a chance to really marinate in the bigger things we failed to do? It’s an untapped market; here’s my million dollar idea.