One of the more annoying developments over the past few years has been the preponderance of friends-linking-friends website in order to give everyone their own personal beachhead on a little invention I like to call, El Internet. While many have come and gone, the three main ones remain Friendster, MySpace, Facebook.
[stage directions: insert comment by incredulous reader saying "tell me something I don't know" here]
All of the sites are pretty funny because I inevitably end up replicating the exact same profile and looking to add the same cluster of friends that I have on the other website. Moreover every week I seem to add one extra thing to my profile to make it seem like it perfectly capture me (should I add The Shins to my favorite music groups or will people think that's too cliche?) Why do I need to do this you ask? Well did Sancho Panza ask Sir Edmund Hillary why he's climbing Mt. Everest? Did LaFawnduh ask Kip for a picture before she visited him? Can you put a rainbow in your pocket? As any good student knows, there are some questions you ask, and there are some that you do not. But I digress...
As I was replicating the exact same profile on Facebook I started noticing that the same people will put a different status on different websites. I've commented on this before how the simple field of status (i.e. single, dating, Brahmin, etc. ) can effectively be like a press release to the world about your personal life. Facebook is like being in a college dorm again as the standard deviation in ages is probably the most minimal with most people having a college education. Here everyone feels safe. Thus every daily crush that one has is placed on your profile. Every dorm relationship which has an average life of about 3-4 days on average is updated constantly here. Even better is the ability to name the person that you're seeing and link to His/Her/Its page. How sweet.
Friendster is like Facebook, but graduated from college. Here the friend circle includes a few more random characters...people who didn't quite make the whole college scene. Furthermore the polite etiquette requires that you only really change your status if it's a real relationship (e.g. it has surpassed over 25 business days). Thus you don't have to keep your virtual community on pin and needles with every ebb and flow of your relationship status, but people expect you to stay honest. It's really the least your online friends can ask.
MySpace is like walking into Venice Beach and deciding that you would like to reenact your engagement with all the random shmucks from the comfort of your own home. And by everyone I mean everyone, from the steroid infused body builders, to the hobo dressed in garish colors, to the plastic girls walking down the boardwalk. It's like you looking out into the distance and saying "I love this, these are my people and I want to just breathe this moment all in... and please tell me your music interests too because I really would like to know which indie rock group just got formed today." On MySpace everyone is single. It's like Sketchville, USA.
If I may paraphrase Vince Vaughn from "Swingers," Friendster is the guy in the PG-13 movie that everyone really hopes makes it happen; MySpace is like that guy in the Rated R movie, the guy you're not sure whether or not you like yet. You're not sure where he's coming from. Okay? You're a bad man.
People place the lowest priority of changing their status on MySpace. It's like 40-something men who hide their wedding rings when they're out of town or go to a bar in the city. C'mon we know you're a bit sketchy for hanging out at a place like that...but am I so much better than you because obviously I'm at the same bar observing you?
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