Gayle is... not agreeing with Facebook removing "is"

I woke up this morning, checked Facebook, and discovered that Facebook had removed 'is' from status messages.

Previously, because all status messages were preceded by "is", users have been forced to either reword their phrases to be grammatically correct (eg, "Gayle is looking for people to play soccer on Wednesday nights. Let her know!" instead of "Gayle: let me know if you want to play soccer on Wednesday nights."), or to deal with bad grammar. I personally was in the awkward rewording camp. No bad grammar for me!

Users had been fighting for this for a while via Facebook groups. While Facebook 'petitions' (aka, groups) can not save Darfur, elect Barack Obama elected (even if you are One Million Strong), or legalize gay marriage, it can in fact change Facebook.

It appears that I should have started my petition to keep 'is' in status messages while I had the chance. I think I'm one of the few people who don't support this change.

The Facebook 'is' was part of Facebook's personality - the awkwardly worded status messages, the "So-and-so is happy because she got admitted to Penn", and the people who would just say screw it and deal with their bad grammar. It's part of what made Facebook Facebook.

In a lot of ways, it reminds me of Google's "I'm Feeling Lucky" button. The button is pretty silly:

  1. You would only use if you know what the first result will be, in which case you probably would have bookmarked the page already.
  2. It clutters up the interface with something that's rarely used.
  3. It arguably costs Google money because it skips over search results, and therefore ads (or it would if people, you know, used it).

Any User Interface designer would tell you not to add such a button. But still, year after year, it remains. Why? Because it's what makes Google Google. It's "Googley".

Well, if you'll permit me to use Facebook as an adjective, 'is' is Facebooky. Of course, in a few months, it'll all seem silly. We'll forget that we ever awkwardly reworded our status, and high schoolers will relish with writing "Ana: omg Mrs. Crawford is so weird LOL!" instead of the more sophisticated "Ana is thinking that Mrs. Crawford is so weird." What's done is done - Facebook has given us more flexibility with status messages. What an application giveth it can't taketh away.