Facebook’s Categorial Imperative

Facebook’s newest feature adds some much-needed relevance to the huge proportion of its data hoard that no user has seen or, if we’re honest, thought about, in days, weeks, or years. But Graph Search is ultimately nothing more than a handy sorting algorithm, and it’s indicative of the fact that really, Facebook doesn’t understand the first thing about us.

(As a quick excusatory aside, this doesn’t mean I think it’s useless, of course: The tool they’ve created will make it a snap to find that one picture of your friend on that camping trip in July of 2009 (or was it 2010)? And “Friends in Seattle who like Poker” is a great way to set up a card game. These problems, trifling though they may be, are solved. Also, a “sorting algorithm” is not in any way inherently bad, and many useful and powerful things can be described as such, so no slight intended there either.)

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