Facebook today launched a feature called "Friendship Pages," which lets users load up the interactions between themselves and individual friends, or between any two friends, on the social network. You'll see their posts on one another's walls, events to which both RSVP'd, photos in which both are tagged, and other interactions that you would otherwise be able to access on either friend's profile (i.e. nothing that wouldn't otherwise be public).
Friendship Pages are live as of Thursday but are not yet accessible to all members.
It's another feature, like the redesigned Facebook Groups, that highlights the intimacy of real-world connections projected through Facebook, something that has been obscured as the massive social network has grown far beyond 500 million users around the world and has become a hub for everything from FarmVille crop-tending to "Which Hogwarts House Do You Belong In?" quiz results. I'm a Ravenclaw, by the way.
This is the brainchild of a single Facebook engineer, Wayne Kao, who built the feature at one of the company's all-night "hackathons" along with a designer. "One of my favorite Facebook moments is browsing photos from friends in the News Feed after they've begun a new relationship, gotten engaged or gotten married," Kao wrote in a blog post. "It gives me a fun and meaningful glimpse of the friendship between two people I know. I realized that a similarly magical experience was possible if all of the photos and posts between two friends were brought together."
It's cute, if a little creepy that I can now dive into the digital (albeit public) interactions between two individuals to find out when they started dating, whose Halloween keggers they attended together, or whether there is a chance that their Facebook posts to one another hint that they are in cahoots in a nefarious plan to gang up on me.
Then there's the fact that, well, ideally our most meaningful friendships will at least have some memorable moments that happen outside of Facebook's reach, however eye-of-Sauron its scope may be at this point.
The real utility of Facebook friendship pages for me, rather, will be to chart and catalog the long history of insults and snark that my younger brother and I fling at one another on our Facebook walls. This week he pointed me to the results of a survey that suggest being a younger sibling may make you shorter than you would be otherwise, and used my Facebook wall to sarcastically thank me for shaving inches off his height. Me: "You're already tall enough. If you got those extra 3-4 inches you'd have trouble buying pants and a significantly more embarrassing portfolio of nicknames."