25 things – banal drivel or human revolution?

25 reasons we like to talk about ourselves (iStock)Facebook has gone viral. I cannot go anywhere without hearing about the 25 Things About Me list that has been circulating on the site for no one knows exactly how long.

I’ve gotten ping after ping this week, as my contacts respond to various points on their 25 Things list. Last night I overheard while at RiteAid (a sure indicator a phenomenon has hit critical mass), a girl telling her almost boyfriend, “I tagged you in my 25 things list on Facebook, did you see?”

Not surprisingly, blogs are buzzing over the phenomenon. Who created it, who first sent it, and why has it caught on with users to become a mass movement, inspiring equal amounts of hatred and vitriol. Full disclosure, I was tagged three times before I finally gave in and wrote the 25 things, but I could not abide and tag 25 people while releasing my intimate details publicly, so I tagged five people and sent it via email–I thought it a good compromise.

The Wall Street Journal seems to feel that the most fascinating reason aspect of the 25 Things revolution is why, that is, what compels people to answer its call by the millions. This, however seems pretty easy to answer: People like to talk about themselves. Social media is nothing if not many narcissistic individuals shouting at each other about their views on life, politics, brand names, etc. Yes, that includes me. I wish I really believed in the proverbial community, but ultimately, this Facebook note confirms my darkest suspicions about the medium.

And yet. At the same time, who cares? So what if we’re a bunch of self-involved slogs trying to open ourselves up and get those friend and work crushes to finally finally see who we really are, because if they just read #11, they would like us back? Who cares if it’s a little nauseating and cliche if this viral note is connecting us? Who cares what narcissistic tendencies social media serves, so long as it does connect us?

Meanwhile, Facebook is laughing all the way to the bank. CNET reports Facebook had a 60% increase in profile creations for January, when this 25 Things meme shot up the charts. Yup, this chain mail thing’s gonna get real old, real fast. In the meantime, check out Time’s irreverant collection of 25 Things the writer would rather not know.