It seems Facebook may have gotten just a bit more 1984.
The social media site has quietly released a new feature to its mobile application called “Find Friends Nearby,” which hold pretty true to its namesake: One can open up a page and see if any of their Facebook comrades are hanging out in the general vicinity.
Not only does this allow for potential social disaster – don’t use it if you’re trying to avoid someone! – but in my opinion, it marks a certain stage in the overriding of normal human interaction. Whatever happened to the pleasant surprise of bumping into someone? Or even the excitement and build-up of an invitation? A simple text message asking, “Want to hang out?” has more to it than the click of a button that can tell you that your friends are already “hanging out” and you can walk two blocks and find them.
Pretty soon we’ll all be keeping tabs on each others’ every move and there will be no need to make plans at all. And “Big Brother” may not just be the authorities…it might actually be your big brother, come to tag along with you and your hot friends he noticed from miles away.
At least Sgrouples maintains a simulation of real life situations. Invitation only, no tracking your location; just pure 2012 technology with a conscience.
*UPDATE: It turns out, Facebook has removed this feature as of June 26, 2012 – just as quickly and quietly as they instituted it. I suppose they weren’t happy with their online reviews.*