Mark Zuckerberg Wants To Be My Friend On Facebook

  • song for voices and piano 

  • Duration 2'

Words

by Brian Bilston (adapted)

this piece won the Making a Better World Through Choral Composition and Performance Prize 2020
and was first performed by Gifford Children's Choir, directed by Jack Senzig

Composer's note: I would like to thank Rupert Damerell, Ola Fluder and Sophia Sherif for their help with the translations of the text into, respectively, Spanish, Polish and Arabic. This song is not intended to be anti-Facebook, or anti-Mark Zuckerberg! I enjoy using Facebook - in fact that's how I found out about Jack Senzig's "Making a Better World" competition, which led to the creation of this musical setting of Brian's words. It's just a gentle reminder to us all that when someone says they want to be our friend online, there might be ulterior motives, and that with social media platforms, we (the users) are the product, not the customer. As long as we keep this in mind, let's continue to use the wonderful opportunities that social media can give us...

Availability

choral photocopying licence available, including permission from copyright holder
per copy for GBP1.20 or USD2.40

Related works

Text

LYRICS

adapted by Paul Ayres from the original text by Brian Bilston (see below), by permission

But enough about me, he said. What about you?
Tell me about the things you like to do:
Tell me who you are and where you're from,
your friends and family, the middle school prom,*
The books you've read, the songs you play,
and how many steps you've walked today.

But enough about me, what about you?
[as a refrain, in various languages, ad lib.]

Your favorite sports team, the links you click,
(what did you pick?)
and why not show me all your pics?
How you relaxed on holiday, where you went,
(the time you spent,)
and every message you've ever sent,
What you got on the spelling test*
and every opinion that you've expressed.

But enough about me, what about you?
[as a refrain, in various languages, ad lib.]

I'll share, too, then serve it back to you,
helping to optimize the ad click-thrus.
Whole lives reduced to data sets,
algorithmic, summed up, compressed,
calculations based on our hopes and fears
to customize, to filter out what next appears,
and manipulate the world we see,
and manipulate the world on screen,
a rough harvesting of humanity,
a rough harvesting of you and me.

But enough about me, what about you?


[* The words of the song were originally adapted for young singers. Adult performers could replace
"your friends and family, the middle school prom" with "girlfriends, boyfriends, since the high school prom"
and "What you got on the spelling test" with "Average income, credit test" or with "How you voted, have you been depressed?"]


ORIGINAL POEM

But enough about me, he said. What about you?
Tell me about the things you like to do,
your loves and passions, where you're from,
your friends and family, the high school prom.
The books you've read, the songs you play,
how many steps you've walked today.
Your favourite team, the links you click,
and why not show me all your pics
and every message you've ever sent,
your phone contacts, and each event
you've attended – parties, gigs, street protests.
Oh, and every opinion that you’ve expressed.

I'll share, too. Then serve it back to you:
it helps to optimise the ad click-thru's.
Whole lives reduced to data sets,
algorithmic, summed up, expressed;
calculations based on hopes and fears
to influence what then appears
and manipulate the world that's seen,
a rough harvesting of humanity.