Guest blogger Neal Pollack has been a satirist (Vanity Fair), a sexologist (Nerve.com), and a cultural anthropologist (McSweeney's). Here, Pollack will explore all the wild, weird, and noteworthy stories you may have missed.
The social media apocalypse has finally arrived in the form of a craptastic marketing gimmick from the Coca-Cola Company. According to a creepy press release, the world's ultimate sugar-and-caffeine peddler has created the Facial Profiler: "a one-of-a-kind application that leverages the face-detection industry's most advanced technology to provide users a unique opportunity to perform facial recognition searches for free via Facebook Platform."
In plain English, here's how it works: You log onto the Facial Profiler Web page, which is nothing more than a subsection of the Coke Zero home page. A video begins to play, accompanied by the kind of creepy music usually reserved for the score of a bad Nicolas Cage movie. Then, against a black backdrop, these words appear in ominous white lettering:
If Coke Zero
Has Coke's Taste
Is It Possible Someone Out There
Has Your Face?
The page then allows you to log into Facebook and become a Coke-shilling stooge in exchange for taking a bad Web photo. Note to the Coca-Cola Company: People drink Coke Zero because they're tired during long road trips and don't feel like consuming 600 calories, not so they can 'connect' based on the fact that their random photos look alike. When we make beverage choices, we don't want to feel like we're being drawn into a thriller like Dead Ringers or Single White Female. We just want to pay our buck-forty-nine and get the hell out of Blythe.
The social Internet should be about swapping political opinions, musical tastes, sexual fetishes, and photos of your children, though the last two should never be swapped at the same time. Whether or not some dude in Finland looks like us sits way down on the priority list. If Big Brother wants to watch while we silently communicate while growing gray and old in our cubicles, then it had better be about more than just buying soda. And if that really is all it's about, well then, our carbonated overlords have already won.