this is the end, my friend(ster).

I have never joined facebook. I became a member of friendster back in 2003, when it was already so over, and I was briefly a myspace member until rupert murdoch bought it, then I thought, no thanks. like most freelancers with some downtime to fill in the workplace, friendster was an entertaining diversion. I was especially fond of the bulletin board back in the day — as it was an ideal way to publicize a show or find a roommate. but I haven’t used friendster or even looked at it much for quite some time, and many of my friends have moved on to other sites. I use myspace to listen to music, which is great. if I were in a band, I might consider joining, but why must the whole thing be so ugly? it just looks awful. as for facebook, I just couldn’t be tempted. I’ve had plenty of offers, thanks, but after watching one of my friends obsessively use it one day, it just seems so silly. and so what if it’s privately owned, isn’t it only a matter of time before google or microsoft or ebay buys it for a giant sum? I guess I’m tired of being watched.

so here are today’s poll questions for you:
1 are you on a social networking website? which one? why?
2 do you read the fine print? do you care who owns it? who owns your data?
3 am I the only one on the planet who finds these sites intrusive and weird? would I be invited to more parties if I had a facebook profile? or even get a job if I were on linked-in?
4 why does dan treacy want to be my friend on facebook when he isn’t really my friend in real life?
5 does having one of these profiles make us part of the ‘look at me’ generation? do you know any actual unions that have resulted from these things?
6 what is the downside of being on facebook? do your old school acquaintances, who you were hoping never to hear from again, try to invite you to keg parties?

in the 1980s they had the me generation or the me decade; and people have appeared to be getting more and more selfish ever since. I’m not saying it’s a generational thing, but those with narcissistic personality disorder (or are they merely egocentrics?) are definitely out there in large numbers. celebrities have it, as do evil cads and lousy boyfriends (I’ve met a couple of these, who also seem to be suffering from child man syndrome), and there are studies and newspapers tracking its rise. do these social networking sites encourage this kind of behavior? please weigh in with your comments. I’m not saying that I have no such tendencies — I have this silly blog, which is as self-obsessed as the next blog (simply because this isn’t the early 90s and I can’t write about indie-pop 7-inch singles every day because there aren’t any!). I have already given the internet powers plenty of personal data about my purchasing preferences, but I’m tired of it. I am in favor of escapism and a little big dumb fun, but maybe this guy has a point that digital narcissism will bore us to death. all the social networking I plan to do in the future is live and in person. anyone care to join me?

4 Replies to “this is the end, my friend(ster).”

  1. you’ll notice that in trying to paint facebook as a sinister, right-wing libertarian conspiracy, the rather disingenuous guardian correspondent leaves out the fact that Chris Hughes, who is mentioned as Facebook’s publicist and one of its cofounders, moved to Chicago to work for the Obama campaign.

    I hate facebook though, except that it told me it was Pam’s birthday on Monday


  2. 1 Yes. Friendster. Because friends kept bugging me to sign up back when Friendster was the It site.

    2 Yes. This is one of the reasons I quit MySpace.I am not an open book, nor do I wish to be. I also hate the ubiquitous “Thanks for the add!” comment on MySpace.

    3 No. I agree with you that the aesthetic of the pages on these sites is disgusting, which is another reason I dislike them. I can’t speak to your party or employment prospects, but it probably wouldn’t hurt them if you joined up. But do you really need more friends? Do you really want a job you find on the Internet?

    4 I dunno who dan treacy is. Demitri Martin’s piece about MySpace on The Daily Show might give you some insight (and a laugh):

    5 My lack of interest in these sites makes me feel like I’m old, which I sort of am (37); but I didn’t feel it as much before everyone jumped on this.

    6 The downside is that you’re helping a bunch of 23 year olds become billionaires while wasting your time and destroying your privacy.

  3. I’m alone here it seems but I don’t hate facebook. I’m on it, it can be annoying, I don’t really care about it either way, but it seems like a fairly easy thing to ignore if you hate it, right? don’t join it, don’t read it, simple. not liking it because your friends are addicted to it seems like a strange complaint. I have a brain and some control over my life and I’m not going to give up drinking lovely lovely beer because I know people who are alcoholics.

    facebook is a fairly painless way to find out about popular beat combo performances I might like to attend if I could ever get a babysitter. also, facebook makes it very easy to play online scrabble in dribs and drabs over days or weeks with much-missed pals in faraway lands, if that’s the kind of geektastic thing you like to do, which I do. and nobody is forcing you to put any information beyond your (made-up if you want) name in your profile to do so, if you don’t want your privacy invaded don’t give anybody your info. I have very limited time to actually waste but I figure I can do it how I want, right?

    I was never on friendster and don’t have a myspace page. myspace makes me a bit nutty if I look at it for very long but if I had something to sell to young people I might sign up for it. like all social networking sites, you can use it for what you please and ignore the rest, I’m pretty sure I’m not their target audience anyway. when I lose my tolerance for being asked to install irritating applications to receive super pokes and funwalls and whatever the hell else I don’t want, I’ll leave facebook too. but it would be hypocritical of me to complain about making people gazillionaires when I drink coke and buy clothes from h&m.

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