I recently signed up for LinkedIn, the "career-networking" site that's like the tragic New Thing for those of us who were barely in the right demographic to have used Friendster in 2002 and are now too old for Facebook and MySpace.
This thing HAS A TERRIFYING BRAIN. It's like how the government is in movies--all-knowing and competent. (Don't we wish!) I signed up for it because 2 people from unconnected parts of my life--a childhood friend and Andrea of St. Scobie's Mock Whiskey--invited me to join, and I never turn down invitations unless I'm on death's door (afraid I might miss something, dontcha know). So I get on there, and it suggests to me that I might know . . . 5 other people who I TOTALLY know, and who are (1) not connected to Childhood Friend or Andrea at all, (2) who I don't work with, (3) who I didn't go to school with, (4) who are not even all lawyers (so it's not like they're just asking if I know other 30-year-old lawyers, which would be a good guess), and (5) who don't all live in DC.
How did it do that? Normally I am either not surprised or not impressed by the mind-reading powers of the Internets. Like, Netflix suggests you might want to to watch stuff that other people with similar rental histories have rented. Or, why did Gmail put an ad for "Fat Bastard Talking Plush" (www.givemetoys.com) next to my email? I don't know, but it was not a good guess, so whatever. But the LinkedIn thing is both inexplicable and impressive. Can we put it in charge of fighting terrorism?