Poke epidemic reaches crisis proportions

What the hell is a poke? Facebook's proprietary pestering system, the poke, is about as ambiguous as waking up on the couch of a good friend after a wild night of partying, followed by blacking out. Is it a friendly wave? A solicitation? An accusation? There's a whole social graph of plausible "poke" translations authored by Silicon Valley tool and Facebook fanboy Dave McClure. One little poke could mean everything from "yo" to "let's have sexual relations." Charming, yes? Here's a far better idea.

Facebook should offer a drop-down menu of suggested interpretations to ensure an innocent poke doesn't turn into a restraining order. This will, of course, kneecap application developers who have spent hours, if not minutes, developing Super Poke, X Me, and other improvements on Facebook's original poke routine. But McClure's call to arms shows that it's time for CEO Mark Zuckerberg to put egotism before ecosystem, and solve this problem himself. Maybe we should poke him until he does something about it. (Illustration by Dave McClure)