Facebook drops the word "is" from the status message; tech blogs go bonkers

November 20, 2007

Facebook drops the word Not since President Bill Clinton famously said “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”, has so much attention been paid to such a tiny word.

Facebook is dropping the word “is” from its status messages finally. You know how it has been “Sean P. Aune is at work” or “Sean P. Aune is writing”, now it will just be a blank slate that lets you say whatever you want.

And that’s it… the whole story… a two-letter word is gone.

Why is this news? Was it just that slow of a newsday? Yes, people campaigned for it, good for them, but every time I’ve turned around today, some of the biggest names in the tech business are doing huge headlines about this. Are we that brainwashed in to thinking that everything Facebook does is newsworthy that we will cover what amounts to a design tweak?

When I was doing my morning rounds to see what news was out there, I saw the story, thought “Oh, that’s nice,” and went on with my day. Little did I think I would be seeing it again… and again… and again… in my newsreader.

Yes, we just covered it, but only in the sense we had to show just how insignificant of a story this really is. Yes, Facebook is popular, there is no denying that, but for the entire tech blogosphere to go frothy at the mouth like rabid dogs over the removal of the word “is”, is just ludicrous.

Say what you will about news related to Facebook, but I think this one takes the cake for “We’re lemmings and must report on every move Facebook makes”.

UPDATED 11/21: Facebook brought back the word “is”, proving this really was a non-story that tech blogs jumped on way too quickly.  Maybe it was a glitch, maybe they were trying something new, either way, as we said, this really wasn’t news.

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22 Responses to “Facebook drops the word "is" from the status message; tech blogs go bonkers”

  1. Ole Juul:

    What facebook? Facebook a social networking website that allows people to communicate with their friends and exchange information. Hmm … perhaps it time for web 3.0.

  2. ch:

    You’re tired of seeing it reported, so you decided to report on it yourself? Don’t pretend that bitching about it is any different than passing it on.


  3. Mr. Me:

    It’s unfortunate people campaigned to get “is” removed in the first place. Saddeningly, we can’t be ingenious enough anymore to manipulate our ideas around the word “is” in a creative manner.

  4. Big Joey:

    Um…..Myspace did this like 2 week ago. Where was the huge hoopla over that one? I was happy to see it happen, but it doesn’t need to be news.

  5. Randall Winston:

    Eat balls, ch.

  6. the seventh seal:

    What the web needs is a filter that separates news for children, such as above, and information for adults.

  7. Saddeningly????:

    I’m pretty sure you can still mind-wrestle with “is” if you want to. Rock the hell out of that ingenuity! You’ll feel better than everyone else for it! As for me and my house, I prefer choice. Now go have your priest read the bible to you.

  8. dontcareaobutmyid:

    Seventh seal

    Its called fark.com

  9. Reno Nalanthi:

    I wasted two minutes of my life I’ll never get back reading this? This is not news… this is farking retarded.

  10. Mark:

    I think its a good thing, although the hype may be considerably overdone.

    We’re all about making the internet into what we want. Its annoying constantly having to write a status message around “is.” I can be done, but its just a pain.

    Regardless of what the change is, I’m just glad that at least some venue is listening to its member base and actually making changes based on user feedback. Its not about Facebook in particular, or even the simple change. Its all about the fact that users have banded together, complained, made comments, etc., and actually caused something to change in their favor.


    And getting rid of “is” is important.
    Yes it can be worked around.
    Now I can “Mark finally made it home”
    Its hard to do that with “is” in there.
    “Mark IS home” doesn’t say when I got there, for how long I’ve been there, or imply that it took a long time.

    Is also tends (in my mind) to imply a state of being. Its easier to say “Mark Wants to go home” then “Mark is wanting to go home.” Getting rid of “is” lets people say different things about themselves.

    It’s nice to be creative and work with “IS”, but my status message is meant to say something strong quickly – I don’t get more then a few words to explain whatever I want to say. Its gotta be good, and fairly short if I want people to actually read it. It’s not about what I’m capable of doing with my grammar, its about getting what I want to say across in as few words as possible. It’s not a play, or an award-winning novel. Its just my status message. If I want to challenge myself with “is”, then I’ll include it. If I want something quick n dirty because I was supposed to leave for class 5 mins ago, I’m happier without “is”.

  11. Sean P. Aune:

    Ch – Would it have been better if I had written an opinion piece with no reference to what I was talking about?

  12. Jonas:

    You know what’s more retarded?

    Arguing about the validity of the removal of the word “is.”

  13. IZ:

    I, for one, am sick of the abundant is discrimination I have lately been experiencing, well, nearly everywhere.
    Why can’t we just all get along with is?
    Is has never done anything to hurt us, and yet we are constantly railing aginst this little, harmless word.
    Won’t someone think of the is’? Iss… er… Izzes?

    Really, who the fark cares?

  14. Bob:

    Apparently so, as you wrote about it….. If you have a problem with something being “not newsworthy” (which this definitely is) why post about it? All your posting does is add one more site that feels this is newsworthy and assist in propagating the “problem” as you see it :)

  15. Sean P. Aune:

    Bob – I have to disagree. I saw it as I was commenting on the fact it was made in to news, not the actual story itself. The removal of “is” (which has now returned) was a “non-story”. My piece was more about the fact people made it a story.

  16. NoDog:

    Is you is or is you aint mah bebbe?

    /endorses this rant about people ranting about nothing
    //is not going to cite Webster’s to explain what is is.
    ///Isis, on the other hand. . .

  17. Benjamin Carey:

    They dropped “is”?!?

    My God, this is huge. A giant leap for mankind!

    We cannot, possibly, ever, under-report this pivotal moment in modern history.
    I remember when I heard it, I was at my computer, browsing Facebook.

  18. 柳州老外:

    Only one problem with this story. It isn’t true! The ‘is’ still there!

  19. Philip Walker:

    The Is is gone again.

  20. Megan Smith:

    The ‘is’ is still there, but can now be deleted if wanted.

  21. programmer16:

    The “is” is only there the first time you go to change your status. Once you change your status, the “is” is gone forever!

  22. John:

    And here we “is” almost a month later and the “is” “is” still there. How hard “is” it to get rid of “is”?

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