Facebook creeping just isn’t what it used to be.
Even though I’ve met nearly every one of my Facebook friends and foes in person, these days I don’t recognize half of them! My news feed shows updates from girls with two first names but no last names. Their profile pictures are useless — most are scans of ’90s childhood photos. Awwwwww so cute, look, it’s Christine Louise, my favorite Facebook friend! I can’t remember who the hell she is, but she looks about 7 years old in this picture of her at Disney World posing with Goofy and Pocahontas in front of Splash Mountain. Super cool!
I’m no mathematician, but I’ll guestimate that roughly 30 percent of my Facebook friends can be classified as Christine Louise. However, many of my friends have grown tired of the First-Name-Middle-Name-Kid-Photo formula. So vanilla! Lately, my news feed is filling up with updates from jack-o-lanterns, cartoon characters and black-and-white film stars with names like “Byron Boulderdash” or “Andre ‘Gyro’ Papakonstantinou.” This really throws a fork in my Facebooking. What’s a girl to do when a unicorn named Riley Rodríguez posts a Kings of Leon song lyric status, or a link to a hilarious YouTube video??? I’m no dummy. I know I never accepted a friend request from a unicorn with an alliterative name, and I certainly didn’t solicit that friendship.
I think — and correct me if I’m wrong — that part of the logic behind Facebook name mutation to keep employers and grad schools from finding freshman year party photos: you, living life with a red Solo cup in one hand and an iPod with nothing on it but the Sublime discography in the other. Maybe you’re thinking, “Yeah, Lauren Sieben, if you knew what was good for you, you’d change your Facebook name to LoLo Seeb-a-Seebz and use Loonette the Clown as your profile picture.” And maybe I will, ’cause I would hate for a potential employer to find the album I posted after my family went on a Carnival cruise — I had tragic blonde highlights and took a lot of stupid photos with the towels shaped like elephants that housekeeping left in our cabin. Career deal-breaker, right there!
But on a selfish and petty level, Facebook name mutation is terribly confusing for the people using the Internet to stalk you. When I see that Jacqueleine Madeleine with the nondescript profile picture updated her status, I wonder, “Who in God’s name is that?” and proceed to click through her entire page until I figure it out. So perhaps name changing is counterproductive — the mystery becomes so enticing that I will look at everything on your Facebook until I remember who you are! Ohhh, the never-ending challenges of being a Millennial.