Sunday, September 07, 2003
Friendster's Fifteen Minutes 
Friendster. It started off being about getting me some PiVa. Mission PiVa, we called it. Penis in Vagina Action. But then it became so much more. Do my curls look big in this? How about my interests? Are they swish enough? Do my testimonials reflect who I *really* am, or - better - who I'd *really* like to be?

The moral implications of the thing - is Will TRULY your friend? Only proceed if Will is TRULY your friend - soon cast aside, one's Friendster list grows. Attempts to define when one passes beyond the realms of 'popular' and into the land of the Friendster Slut are difficult to pinpoint. Is it when one has more than 50 friends? More than 168? More than Har Mar Superstar?

You flit between identities, at first. Should I use my 'RL' name for this? My 'writing' name? Who is the me that's on Friendster? I've never met Ian in real life, but he's still more my friend than Helen, who I have met, briefly, once. I chat to Ian on Messenger more frequently and with far more vigour and depth than anything I've ever said to Helen. But then, in real life, Ian might not rescue me from some burning building, because he wouldn't know who the fuck I was. Is that a friend?

Eventually the messages you receive will determine your identity. PRs will contact you. People will ask you if you're the one who does that website. Then it becomes a handy networking tool. You'll know who's going to which gig and who's djing at what bar. All well and good, but...

...but strip all that away, and, ultimately, it's still meant to be a dating site. But once you've ascertained your identity on there, do you really want to display your marital status? Do you really want: 'Interested in meeting people for friends, activity partners, dating (MEN)' up there next to the persona you've struggled so carefully over the last few years to define? Would you put 'PLEASE FUCK ME?' at the end of every article you write? Of course not. So then you're 'Just There To Help!' You know that looks cooler. But who are you helping? And why?

And then you realise you ain't gonna get no PiVa off Friendster. And you run off and join a site where it's blatantly obvious that people are just in it for PiVa, and you spend the evening messaging some 36-year-old restaurant owner from Fuckass, South London, who wouldn't know LCD Soundsystem from his anus, and you know what? You fucking love it. And next time you visit, your finger hovers over the 'delete profile' button. Could Friendster's fifteen minutes be up? Sigh.
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