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Gaze into Your Virtual Facebook Mirror

If you feel compelled to curate more of your Facebook life, there’s an app for that: Timeline Movie Maker. Go to TimelineMovieMaker.com and click the green button. As with most Facebook apps, this one asks for your basic info, email, profile info and your Timeline stories. Then Timeline builds a one-minute movie for you. It’s similar to Intel’s Museum of Me, a virtual museum of you – all it needs is access to your Facebook data.

The other week, Facebook launched 60 new social apps, including food-sharing app FoodSpotting, shopping app Fab.com and pin-terrific app Pinterest. Each of these apps focused on getting you, the user, to do something. The Timeline Movie Maker app brings the focus back to you, so that you can think about yourself.

In the age of social media, our Facebook profiles can become a virtual house of mirrors. Yet this concept isn’t new.

Orson Welles’ The Lady from Shanghai (1948) is a typical film noir. Man (Michael) meets mysterious woman (Elsa). Michael learns that Elsa is a manipulative femme fatale who is already married, in this case to a gentleman named Arthur Bannister. Despite many warnings that this chick’s bad news, Michael pursues her. There’s a bizarre murder scheme that Michael somehow involves himself in, with the hope that he’ll get the girl, Elsa. Of course, nothing goes as planned – and in the end, somebody’s gotta die. In this case, it’s Arthur Bannister, Elsa’s husband. The film ends with the famous surreal shootout inside a hall of mirrors, the Magic Mirror Maze. Elsa is mortally wounded after killing Bannister. (To be sure, in classic Hollywood films of the 1940s-1950s, mirrors are “generally seen as symbols of mental disorder and more specifically fragmented personalities, sometimes to the point of multiple personality disorder,” according to HistoryofEconomics.com.)

In the myth of Narcissus, the hunter who was renowned for his own beauty starred into a pool of his own reflection. He continued gazing in it for too long, not realizing it was a mere image. Because he couldn’t leave the pool, feeling too entranced by his own reflection, he eventually died.

As Facebook continues rolling out new apps and uses for Timeline, users can once again relive their self-obsession of adolescent years gone by. So go ahead, create a movie of yourself, reinvent the past with a photo scrapbook, and stare into your self-contained pond of never-ending beauty. Just don’t start shooting at someone (yourself?) while inside a house of mirrors.

“With these mirrors, it’s difficult to tell,” says Bannister, as Elsa fires off shots, “…but killing me is killing myself, but you know I’m pretty tired of both of us.”

Images via TotalFilm.com and Wikipedia.

For more stories on social media and self-obsession, please visit Jon Mitchell’s story, “Path, Timeline & Worship of the Self.”

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