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The Facebook name grab
What happens to Facebook users at midnight

"For Facebook fanatics, the clock is ticking," said Scott Duke Harris in the San Jose Mercury News. At midnight Friday the world's biggest social-networking website will start issuing "vanity URLs" to replace random numeric codes, giving users the chance to spice up their online presence with "a dash of personality." The scramble for common names could get ugly—Facebook has 225 million users, and "it's first come, first served."

This could be "the greatest territory dash since the Oklahoma Territory's land run of 1889, albeit with fewer shotgun injuries," said Douglas Rushkoff in The Daily Beast. But Facebook and its users may regret the change. Facebook probably hopes that personalizing its pages will make it "more user-friendly" and make users more findable via Google—but all this really does is erode the site's "detachment" from the broader Internet, which was one of its biggest selling points.

"It really shouldn't be this much of a media sensation," said Caroline McCarthy in CNET News, "but let's face it: Everybody's talking about" Facebook's vanity URLs. The concept is nothing new—MySpace has let members replace "the string of numbers in their profiles with www.myspace.com/username for years now." But if your Facebook URL really matters to you, "I guess it's time to set an alarm clock."

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