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AIMFight.com & The Real Reason Why Peer Directories Like MySpace Exist

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There are countless peer directories that exist in order for people to meet new people and connect with their own friends. Friendster was the first real popular one. TheFaceBook supplanted it for a while as it publicized itself to the college crowd. Now MySpace has supplanted them all to create a more blog-orientated feel.

The problem with Friendster and TheFaceBook was that neither was truly customizable, which is where MySpace succeeds. However, what is the real point to joining these directories and adding all the people that you know?

The original goal was to try to find people who share your interests. But does anyone ever try to meet new people this way? I haven’t tried nor do I want to. I think there’s a stigma with meeting people online for friendship and dating. If on that rare occasion that you do meet, doesn’t it sound weird when you tell people that you met on the Internet?

Sure, You’ve Got Mail was popular. But I’ve never heard anyone say out loud that they’ve purposely put effort into finding new people using Friendster or TheFaceBook. That’s not to say that people don’t do it – I think it’s rare.

Why these sites are popular is that people try to attain and gain status. Looking at some people’s profiles, I see hundreds – and sometimes thousands – of connected friends (first degree friends). Do people actually know that many people? Or do people actually keep in touch with that many people?

Then it hits me. I look on my profile and see people trying to connect to me as friends whom I’ve never met before. People want their number of friends to be large. Being “popular” makes you popular.

I know this isn’t new to any of you, but the reason that I decided to write this is because I have come across a new site called AIMFight.com. It rates you on the number of people that have your AIM screen name on their buddy list and gives you a score. This score can then be compared to the score of other people. My score is a somewhat decent 1870, although it isn’t as large as the score of some of my friends. In my defense I periodically delete screen names from my list of those people whom I never talk to anymore – or whom I don’t want to talk to anymore.

Hopefully people won’t start adding random people to their buddy lists to artificially boost their scores. But we all know that people will.

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About Tan The Man

Tan The Man writes mostly about film and music. He has previously covered events like Noise Pop, Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival, South By Southwest, TBD Festival, Wizard World Comic Con and WonderCon.
  • I’ve seen this happen on a few sites I’ve been on. I have a personal journal on one of the journaling sites, and it does end up appearing to be some kind of power thing with people. The more people they have added, the more powerful they feel. E-popularity doesn’t mean much out there in the off line really, so why go for it? In my experience, some have tried to find popularity here online because that some popularity is lacking off in the real world. I’ve seen AIMFight. Fun concept. Let’s hope it stays that way.

  • Joe

    Agreed on everything Gina posted in her comment. “E-Popularity” and the “power struggles” happening in the online world seem to revolve a lot around sites like LiveJournal (and the thousands of duplicate sites) as well as MySpace.

    I think people tend to forget that things like that are hobbis, not an entire life.

  • Joe

    And clearly that typo was meant to be “hobbies.” Sorry, fingers moving too fast.

  • Nice… e-popularity sounds good… u should send it to Wired magazine

  • Being “popular” makes you popular? Man, no wonder MySpace.com is so hot with teenagers. This is the kind of thing most people want to leave behind when they leave high school, isn’t it?

    Can you tell I was never the really popular one? 🙂

  • Join the club…

    We should make a site: Unpopular.com

    a place where unpopular people can meet each other, and hence become “popular”

  • Nah. I dealt with my unpopularity by truly not caring. I now shun popularity, and in fact I should spend less time at this site, since it rocks so much and people love it.

  • note that though one shouldn’t need an excuse for a low score, yours doesn’t fly because what matter

    Note: Though one shouldn’t need an excuse for a low score, yours doesn’t fly because what matters is how many times you name appears on others’ lists, nothing to do with your own buddy list.

  • eric

    aimfight has a better concept it rates u on the number of ppl that have u on THEIR buddy list, so it only boosts other ppls scores when u add them, to get your score to go up u would have to have more ppl add u to their buddy lists