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One thing that I’ve noticed about Friendster – or, perhaps more accurately, about how people think of themselves when posting on it – is the amount of emphasis placed on “the media I like”. Take a look at the entries of anyone on there: You’ll find that the number of media things they like (books, music, TV) easily outnumbers the amount of interests they have. It’s as if we define ourselves, not by what we think and do, but by what media we consume.
(Of course, this came to me when I was perusing someone’s profile and thought “Oh wow, we are pretty similar, we like the same kind of things“. Which just goes to prove that no insight of mine is good enough to change my own behaviour.)
And, of course, half the things that we list in “interests” are things we consume, rather than do. There’s something unpleasant about the whole thing – not about Friendster, but about how we come to see ourselves.

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  • http://www.sykes.fletcher.name Sykes

    I agree. If what we are is what we consume, rather that who we are i.e. our thoughts, deeds and actions, then we are nothing.

  • http://www.ontariometal.xroad.net Chris

    But, our patterns of consumption reflect our inner pathways, or our thoughts. They reflect the way we interpret the world, and, in turn, how we present ourselves to the world.

    In the end, it’s all about consumption, after all, production without consumption is pointless – by consuming, we validate the production, and by being consumed, our productions are themselves validated.

    However, I would tend to agree that if all one does is consume, then there is an imbalance, as we’re creating a vaccuum, simply taking from the world, and giving nothing in return, except maybe what we shit out after we’re done.

  • http://www.everyonesconnected.com Alan Kung

    Have you checked out http://www.everyonesconnected.com? Whilst Friendster is still in beta, EC has been live since July 2002, and officially launched in January 2003. It has members from over 50 countries.

    What is unique about Everyone’s Connected is that your friends can contribute to your profile, which makes the profiles very interesting reading. There is also the newspaper, where members can contribute. You get to find out what someone is like from what they write, rather than what they tell you.

  • David

    You are what you eat, right?

    Or read, listen to, watch, etc.



  • not alan kung

    Everyonesconnected.com is run by a bunch of microsluts. Resist monopolization; go with the java based friendster.

  • john

    We ARE! nothing, nothing but people, and all of our thoughts, possesions, and consumptions mean nothing when it all comes down, so who cares?

  • lille

    re: friendster

    great service, no doubt. my problem lies with the underlying artificiality of a personal world created from the likes of such friend to friend services. “i met so-and-so who introduced me to so-and-so from whom i ….” so on and so forth. which links us in rather insular, non-organic chains and encourages us to create yet another artificial interface (i.e. persona) between ourselves and the rest of the universe. i personally would rather that chance, fate, and the occasional wind and rainy weather work to create random(?) meaningful connections in my life. these things make me smile and keep me in touch with the most mysterious.

    not to say that friendster isn’t fun, useful, blah, blah, blah, all those things that make it popular….i would rather experience my life and friendships a little differently. 😉

  • mark

    re: organic and random connections

    i’ve had tremendous success on friendster in meeting likeminded and longterm friends. compared to meeting people in bars, chatrooms, concerts or personals, it affords a lot of protection from uncomfortable and deflating shots in the dark. a clever concept imho.

  • http://www.howandwhy.org tom

    Im a bit confused by your assessment. Of course, you realize that the space provided in friendster is specifically designed to list what media you are interested in. I really don’t understand what you find so unpleasant about people and this interface in general. Music, film, and literature ARE things people are interested in and are ways of communicating personality to strangers. This whole argument about what better “production/consumption” is a little ridiculous and pretentious in its own right. It’s a little idealistic to think everyone should be a doer or creator. I mean we need people to like Blind Date and Sandra Bullock movies. I think its just amazing and intriguing how different people really are, in the way they think and portray themselves. I think its funny when people strongly oppose joining a group like this and look down on people who do. There are just as many antisocial pessimists as there are outgoing optimists. I think that it has wonderful utilitarian applications and if anything it is entertaining and worthy of debate.

  • mickey

    No offense to the authors of the thoughts on friendster, but speaking from the experience of being a friendster myself, I don’t think that the site is or is meant to be taken too seriously.

  • http://www.ludicrous.org.uk Ian Betteridge

    Just as a matter of interest: How are people getting to this post? The couple of posts I’ve done on Friendster seem to attract more comments than everything else – so why?

  • Gordon

    I got to this post by Googling for “Friendster”.

    As long as I’m here.
    It’s easier to list “bands I like” than “music I’ve created”, especially when most of us haven’t created much public music. And there is a lot of value in being able to do a search for other folks who also like the same bands, songs, music, media. I’ve enjoyed starting random walks through Friendster by searching on an index entry that happens to strike my fancy at that moment – whether it’s an interest or a media reference. I suspect it’s easier for some people to think of what they consume than to think of what they create, pursue or do.

    Some media references are so common as to be worthless. Buffy, and Sex & the City are the most obvious. It’s interesting to see the different ways some people indicate they don’t regularly watch television – some simply state it, while others go out of their way to insult the medium and those of us who do choose to use it.

    There are a couple of aspects of Friendster that work very, very well. One is the idea of Testimonials, where you can write nice things about a friend. Other than a eulogy, or written biography, there are not many opportunities in our modern culture for us to tell our friends the specific ways in which we perceive and value them. It would sound weird to tell a friend in a normal conversation “By the way, I really think you are a talented musician, and I like the way you make people smile with your odd cooking.” Yet the same sentiments in a testimonial work. They let others know about your thoughts and feelings, and they let the subject of the testimonial know too. They fit with whatever terminology best fits both you and the subject. Since the subject has veto power over testimonials, and you can always withdraw a testimonial later, there is equal power in how they work.

    The other aspect of Friendster I like is the way it binds names to faces to interests. I’ve learned new facts about people I’ve worked with for years; facts that were never relevant to our work relationship, but which help me better know them as multi-dimensional people. And it’s helpful to finally know the names of some folks I’ve been hanging around with socially for years, but whose names never stuck in my head. Being able to read the name while seeing their face, whether in Friendster, or at a convention/conference/workplace with a namebadge, is a more powerful way for me to remember people’s names.

    When a friend of mine went in for an emergency appendectomy last week, I posted the news, and updates, to the Friendster Bulletin Board. Instead of an email blast that would surely have forgotten some folks and annoyed others, I was able to quickly and easily reach many people that I knew would be interested. It worked well.

    I would like to see Friendster grow beyond the dating metaphor, and also have a mechanism for identifying and building communities within communities. But for what it does so far, it’s doing fine. I just hope their infrastructure can scale fast enough.


  • steve

    What I find myself doing on Friendster is coming across a friend of a friend of a friend who, in their Interests, lists something that I remember and then I’m like ‘Oh! I have to add that to *my* profile!’
    It’s not so much about the initial name-dropping as the subsequent additions and revisions of my profile or online self. And yet if I search for others with my interests, one of two things happens: I either come across people who seem to me to be melodramatic; or I don’t find anyone with my interests.
    But boy do I check a lot!

  • andrew s

    “Just as a matter of interest: How are people getting to this post? The couple of posts I’ve done on Friendster seem to attract more comments than everything else – so why?”

    you’re the second hit on google and the site’s non-responsive :) people heading to friendster obviously have time to kill, so in the absence..

  • love

    i love friendster and i love nudism. hee…

  • http://www.quadmag.com Lance

    I was a big fan of friendster till they stopped posting all the messages from everyone within 6 degrees. Now it just posts the people in your immediate friends list. Well… I just tried to go there today and its not working at all.

    I ended up here by searching google.. I was trying to see if maybe there was news on it. I wouldnt be surprised if they gave up.

  • Linda

    Although, I joined Friendster cuz I wanted to be “trendy” I can’t help but think it’s a secret marketing campaign to collect consumer knowledge/insights. Also, I find the people at Friendster to be above average looking then the real population, which makes me wonder if there are some “ringers” or “plants” in there. It’s in beta phase cuz “the man” is trying to find out if it’s worth it to IPO and sell our email addresses to marketing departments of consumer conglomerates. Be wary!

  • http://poopreport.com A Dz

    I’ve received several Friendster invitations in past few weeks from semi-close friends. I’m reluctant to join, and not just because I’m reluctant to do most hings. I kind of like keeping several of my social circles apart and “un-Venned.”

  • brody

    if you are passionate about art(music, photography, film) that has nothing to do with consuming media i guess it depends how you define consume. art is the empty canvass and we are the brush and why not the different colors as well. sounds pretty cynical to me.

  • http://www.geocities.com/thereast unisprise

    I think it definitely is all about the comfortable buffer zone… I kind of feel the testimonials part is a little fake, however. being a self-doubting individual, I sort of take it as an ebay rating kind of thing. people are afraid of either not posting a testi on you, or doing a lame one which might result in the same.

  • paul

    The photos of people on Friendster are “above average” in terms of looks not because only good-looking people are using the site. The photos are “above average” because people tend to put up the best scanned photos that they got of themselves.

  • paul

    There is obviously a market for a Friendster service. Because of its astronomical growth rate, however, the servers are obviously not ready to deal with all the bandwidth. The next version should then take this into account, either cranking up the bandwidth or decentralizing the information. So the question is:


  • Godzilla

    Consumption is one thing, but what about the creation of consumed entities…such as ‘God’, ‘Godzilla’, or celebrities from Ashton Kutcher to Lebron James. There is a whole world on friendster dedicated to the non-real.

    From Godzilla Kingofmonsters

  • http://www.zephoria.org/snt/archives/000564.html social networks tools

    FRinBL 1 (Friendster Reference in Blog Land)

    An odd collection of blog entries about Friendster (in the process of collecting various notes) Technovia [2 Jan 2003] – commenting on the media-centric view of Friendster interests K-Collector’s RSS feed on Friendster [10 June – 3 July 2003] -…

  • adam s

    I’ve checked out both sites and everyones connected is so much better than friendster. On EC you can chat and link to people not directly linked to you through the newspaper platform. Friendster is far too restrictive. Also, I like the link calculator on EC, it tells you the shortest route in terms of degrees of seperation between you and any stranger you end up communicating with. It’s all pretty impressive if you ask me. EC seems faster generally too.

  • http://www.tblog.com BoJa

    http://www.tblog.com has a similar friendsteresque feature.

  • Dutchh

    I read an essay called “The Metaphysical Rights of Property” that basically held what the first few posts here wrote about. The thesis was that our stuff is a reflection of who we are. I don’t think it would be much of a a stretch to think of the media we consume as being the same. Think of your CD collection and how someone who looked at it could know a lot about who you are. Same with the books you read or the car you drive. Of course it went on to say that a society that denies property rights also denies individuality but that doesn’t have much to do with friendster or this discussion… as far as I can tell. It was really interesting and if you’d like to learn more Look up Richard Weaver and the book “Idea’s Have Consequences”.

    PS Found this site while researching what this Friendster thing is about. A friend of mine invited me to join and I was looking for info.

  • http://www.illruminations.com/archives/001287.html Illruminations

    Some nice friendster thinking points

    Technovia: Friendster

  • http://www.meloncolonie.com/archives/2003_07.html#000403 The Melon Colonie

    Steve spots:

    Outrageous Bush Executive Order on Iraq Oil Must Be Investigated And for something completely different, some hundred or so things

  • Kelly

    Okay so I have been trying to get into the friendster website for the past two weeks and have had no success. Does anyone know what the problem is? Please email me back with any information I can be given as to why I am not able to to get into friendster. It would be much appreciated.


  • Roger

    Its just slow. With the aforementioned 1.5 million users, I’m reminded of that commercial about e-commerce about some guys who just launched some marketing blitz,and they are looking at this computer screen watching the hits on the site go up..up..up..till the site crashes!..hehe. BTW, I found this page also while looking on Google for ‘friendster’.

  • Roger

    Its just slow. With the aforementioned 1.5 million users, I’m reminded of that commercial about e-commerce about some guys who just launched some marketing blitz,and they are looking at this computer screen watching the hits on the site go up..up..up..till the site crashes!..hehe. BTW, I found this page also while looking on Google for ‘friendster’.

  • Anonymous

    Yes you are right, its just slow. I currently have my group registered at paljunction.com a much better website with much more services. Check it out. I used ryze and stuff before, but gave up like friendster.


  • http://www,ludicrous.org.uk Ian Betteridge

    Yes, three comments in a row from the same (now banned) IP address. If anyone was thinking of going to “Paljunction”, I’d advise ignoring the spamming gits.

  • Sam Lydon

    Have you used http://www.spinheart.com it is similar to friendster, but better, it comes with instant message and topic chat, so you are not buried with the media like things, instead you can express your own opinions, it is pretty cool.

  • Sam Lydon

    Have you used http://www.spinheart.com it is similar to friendster, but better, it comes with instant message and topic chat, so you are not buried with the media like things, instead you can express your own opinions, it is pretty cool.

  • Jeannie Ryan

    Friendster is slow, but it works for some…. It is a tool for introduction. How it works for you depends on how you utilize it.

    Steve and I met via Friendster, and now we are a couple and we work together. More about us can be found on Steve’s site: http://www.microship.com. Then click on “Latest from the Lab”.

  • helena

    i love it!u rule :) kip up da good work

  • rosana

    there is a problem here in friendster website

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