Friend of a Friendster

FriendsterFriendster hardly needs an introduction, but for the remaining uninitiated: it’s not, as I assumed when I first heard the name, a file-sharing network dedicated to the illegal trade of pirated episodes of “Friends.” Rather it’s an online method for meeting new people through your existing, real world network of friends, and it’s so frighteningly complete that there are people I know who swear it’s merely the most public expression of John Aschroft’s evil genius for total information awareness. The Village Voice wrote a more accurate and less flippant explanation in their piece on the service last month.

This morning I went through a backlog of invitations from would-be, er, Friendster friends. The notices get sent to an email address I rarely check, so I’d kind of forgotten about Friendster for a few weeks. This also prompted me to update my profile on the service, filling in more about my interests and so forth.

One thing I discovered is that most of my friends are amateur comedians, and their profiles and testimonials are just about the furthest thing from the kind of earnest, straightforward recommendations that I think the founding Friendsters intended.

As I started to write, I also found myself succumbing to the same foolishness. In fact, it seemed virtually impossible for me to write anything remotely serious and so I goofed my way through the entire exercise. It was fun and I burned a good two hours writing smart-aleck testimonials, but I wonder if I wasn’t just resorting to a kind of social defensiveness. It felt kind of like walking into a party and, in order to mask a fear of rejection, engaging in obnoxious, socially disruptive behavior. I’m sure that was it, actually.



  1. That’s the thing with friendster though. All of a sudden, you start to notice that all testimonials are either very complimentary, very ridiculous/humourous or complimentary in a sarcastic smart-arse way. But it’s an interesting social thing though.

    In other respects, aside from what people look like, profiles tend to get homogenous after a while, seems like everyone listens to similar music, dresses the same, is into the same books, is into the same food…and so on and so on. I have to write about this sooner or later.

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