Welcome to The Jerky Loudspeaker - an independent sports and culture newsletter, I’m super excited to have you here! Before you dive in, let me quickly break down how the newsletter is structured. Think of it like a mini newspaper, with three sections:
Deep Dive - Each piece/series in this section will be an in-depth analysis of the thoughts and emotions that arise from my interactions and experiences with the arts
Consumption Corner - A weekly review of what I’m watching, reading and listening to.
Balls, Bats & Baskets - As always, sports on the back page. In this section I’ll geek out about the happenings in this world of balls, bats and baskets.
Passion Projects - Once a month, I feature Q&As with creatives from different professional and personal backgrounds.
Reminiscing the Facebook of old
Last week, Facebook announced that it would be changing its name to Meta. Zuck is widening his vision and wants to build a metaverse for the Internet. Social media is no longer the forefront of the company’s ambition anymore. Officially.
It may just be PR, but there’s something about the name change that feels symbolic. The company is entering a new era, but Facebook the social media platform seems to be entering the first stages of irrelevancy. Officially.
When you think of Facebook today, you think of privacy issues, political polarisation and murky algorithms. But, it wasn’t always like this. There was a simpler time when Facebook wasn’t an ad aggregator but a social network.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this old Facebook in the past week. And some of the ways in which we used to use it.
Changing your DP was an event
No one will admit it now, but we all cared about the number of likes we got on our DPs. There was an elaborate system behind this quest for validation.
Asking Friend #1 to take pictures of you that are ‘dp material’.
Sending the pictures to Friend #2 to help narrow your choice.
Editing the picture / reaching out to Friend #3 for help.
Googling lyrics and quotes that have no relevance to what you are posting. Friend #4 might be deployed to help you find a caption.
Changing your DP at a time you think most people will be online. 8-11PM on school nights were peak hours.
Giving PC, SC, EC, CC in your caption to avoid Friend #1, #2, #3, #4 spamming the comments section with ‘Credits??’.
Continually refreshing your notifications as you pathetically track each like and comment.
There are two types of people in the world - those who’ve spent hours going down rabbit holes stalking people on Facebook and liars. One minute you’re scrolling through your crush’s timeline, the next thing you know you’re on her cousin’s friend’s brother’s girlfriend’s page.
But, you know what’s worse than this? When you end up tagging yourself in one of the photos of your crush’s cousin’s friend’s brother’s girlfriend. And don’t know how to remove that tag.
We all know that one guy who only shared football related stuff. Who took it himself/herself to be the unofficial spokesperson of the team they supported. Who posted three status updates for each game and changed his DP each week with a different player. I was that guy ( at least for my first couple of years on FB)
Today, footballing banter remains largely restricted to Twitter. But the real ones know that Troll Football was where football meme culture took its birth.
You know how on your friend’s birthday you post a picture of the two of you on your story and tag them? And instead of just replying to this story and thanking you, they repost it on their own story? Yeah, I find that incredibly irksome.
It was much easier on Facebook. On your birthday, your friends would just pick your most embarrassing pictures and post them on your timeline. And you’d return the favor on theirs.
Still no idea what that was.
Quirks of the Newsfeed
There was a period between 2016-2018 where it felt like there was a Facebook Event page for everything - from concerts to flea markets to marathons. These events would appear on your timeline whenever a friend RSVPd. But rarely did people mark Going and almost no one clicked Not Going. Everyone was just ‘Interested’ in everything. There’d be events which I had no intention of going to, but I’d still just mark myself Interested. These FB events captured the ambiguity that plagues my generation.
The algorithm did this weird thing where it would make friendships public? Like if my friend Saurav adds a person X, it’ll come up on my newsfeed ‘Saurav and X are now friends’. And if that wasn’t weird enough, I’d also have the option to comment on the friendship. Man, I hated that feature.
I remember one time during my first month of college, when 30 of my friends liked my friendship with this girl I’d recently added! And the charming guys they are, they even commented on it with things like ‘Is this the girl you were telling me about?’. This girl lived in my dorm, but I had never actually spoken to her. I had no way of apologising for my friends, so instead I carefully avoided her for the next four years. Anjali Balakrishna, if you're reading this, I’m sorry.
What I’m reading: This review of Ed Sheeran’s new album that pokes fun at how the artist’s cliche lyrics manage to resonate with millions.
Rhyming “shape of you” with “push and pull like a magnet do” and rapping that his ÷ Tour “grossed half a billi” remain some of the silliest lyrical shortcuts in British pop history. What’s not to mock?
What I’m watching: I just finished Only Murders in the Building, a show about three true crime podcast aficionados who come together to solve a murder that takes place in their building. They decide to document their investigations by recording a podcast of their own. There’s a Knives Out vibe to it - a whodunnit wrapped as a comedy.
Tweet of the week: