My About Me and Contact Me information on Facebook
My About Me and Contact Me information on Facebook

It seems whenever I summon the resolve to leave Facebook because of something dodgy they’ve done, someone comes along and writes a new application to grab my interest and time. It’s either a conspiracy or brilliant business planning.

Today’s obsession is a simple application with the initially cringe-worthy name of Living Social that lets you create a criteria for a Top Five list from their database of topics, then fill it in. That’s all their is to it. And I’ve been playing with it all afternoon!

ASIDE: Their site needs JavaScript so use the "Temporarily Allow" link in NoScript if you use it.

Some of the available categories
Bizarrely rotated so you can see more of the options!

When you first add the application you’re presented with a list down the side of the screen that contains categories ranging from movies, books and shows to cars and US presidents. You can choose your own generic "Top Five" for each of these top level categories, or you can define your own more specific ones. For example I created a "Favourite British Comedy Shows" category that’s a subset of "TV Shows". You get the idea.

When you’ve chosen your criteria or created your own, a new screen appears with a simple row of five boxes and a search bar. Clicking a box and choosing an item after you’ve entered it into the search box adds it to your list. When you’re done, it’s added to your profile and you have the option of adding it to your Facebook news timeline.

Choosing items to add to one of the five slots
Choosing items to add to one of the five slots

Is it a waste of time? Probably. Can these people data mine the crap out of all your lists and invade your privacy? Probably, but frankly anything personal like this you put online would suffer the same thing. Is it addictive? Dangerously so!

My only criticism regarding the way it works is for some reason you can’t delete a list you’ve created. I read lots of people writing negative comments on the developer’s site regarding this but didn’t think twice about it; now that I’ve created a few lists and hit Publish a few times by mistake I’d like the ability to delete lists too.

I created a category called My Top 5 Favourite Baltic States. Was trickier to finish than I thought…
I created a category called "My Top 5 Favourite Baltic States". I’d be hilarious if I could write and deliver jokes.

What I’m curious about is whether or not this Living Social website whatnot is independent from Facebook and whether you could insert it into other networks or even onto my blog here for example. I’m also thinking why a separate website that’s linked to Facebook and has far fewer resources and people behind it is able to be so much more polished and easier to use than Facebook is.

If they were to create a master category called "Fun Time Wasting Activities", this application would proudly be diplayed somewhere on it. Just change the name guys!

It gets me thinking whether I could hack together a quick script to do the same thing this site does without relying on something like Facebook. Then people who were smart enough not to register a Facebook account in the first place could use it! I’ll add it to the list ^_^.