Friday, March 07, 2008


I dislike social networking sites that misuse the term "friend" to mean "random people on the Internet whose blogs I like to read". The decision whether or not to reciprocate when somebody links to you is hard enough even without the baggage of faux "friendship". LiveJournal, you know I'm talking about you.

But LJ is not the only one. Recently, FileDen has transformed itself from a file hosting site to a social networking site, all the better to sell more advertising, and they too abuse the term "friend". Last time I logged on, I had a message from another user wanting me to "friend" him, apparently on the basis that since I had an account I must be worth friending.

When I checked out the user, I discovered that (s)he had no fewer than 1,586,620 "friends". I'm sure that there are thousands of Internet users (not just on LJ) with the emotional age of about 10 who see nothing creepy and sad about somebody claiming to have 1.5 million "friends", but in fact see it as something good to aspire to.

I'm reluctant to link directly to somebody who is likely to be some sort of spammer, but for those who want to see for themselves, if you go to FileDen and search for the user "mituozo" you'll see what I mean.

Unless (s)he really is a spammer, and has had his account suspended.


Metro said...

Personally, I feel that the word "friend" on all social networking sites should be replaced with the word "£µ©λ". That way, people will hopefully give some consideration to sticking more-or-less-random strangers on their profiles.

Having joined FaceBook at my advanced age, I was able to consider carefully whether to add people from my past. In some cases I recall thinking: "He was a rat's-ass bastard when I knew him then, and he is so now. Why would I ever want to 'friend' him?"

One of my friends, a gorgeous young lady, has over three hundred "friends". I don't feel that it's remotely possible.

Perhaps we need new categories: "Friend" could go in with "Acquaintance", "Bloke I see down the pub all the time" and "Random shag one drunken night".

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