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.