Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Community Disservice

Every now and then, something New! And Exciting! is touted as the Latest Bestest Thing to come out of the Internet. It Will Change Your Life!

What a load of horseshit. There are genuine innovations and breakthroughs on the Internet all the time (like, say, weblogs). But for every real, useful service that appears, the Internet graveyard is clogged up with a hundred more useless electronic carcasses, gorged on bandwidth and strangled by their own worthless html.

A couple of years back, a whole bunch of “online communites” sprouted up, to put you closer to people with similar tastes, or similar desires, or similar postcodes. As far as I can tell, none of these virtual clubhouses worked at all.

At the moment, I’m mentally backtracking trying to remember where I’ve left a trace of myself in these Internet ghost towns, so that I can remove my details. I don’t need my information stored all over the place for no reason whatsoever.

First up on my Shit List is Friendster. The idea was this: you register, and your friends register, so that you are linked to your friends, and the friends of your friends, and their friends, and…

…and who gives a shit? I can easily get in touch with people I already know. I have their phone numbers, mobile numbers, e-mail addresses, postal addresses…I don’t need a website to provide a third party service in that regard. Cut out the middleman. Save me the fucking trouble.

And people I don’t know? Well, I don’t particularly care about them. If they are friends of friends, and they are sufficiently interesting, I’ll meet them in due course anyway.

And I certainly don’t need to contact people on the basis of similar tastes. I don’t see the value in contacting complete strangers on the basis that they also list Battle Royale amongst their favourite films. That is not the basis for a friendship, much less a casual conversation.

My main criticism of Friendster was that it was painfully slow when I first registered. Pages took aeons to load. I can’t be bothered.

The bottom line is this: I never contacted anyone using Friendster, and no one ever contacted me. So, with a couple of devastating keystrokes, my profile has been deleted.

Next on my list of Worthless Web Communities is Ryze. Clearly based on the premise of early Internet darling First Tuesday (which flamed out in an inferno of wasted millions, non-existent profits and raging egos. And I was in a position to know.) , Ryze is a networking community designed to get you in touch with relevant business contacts. Not a bad idea. But the worthless fucker never did shit for me. All I got was my “guest book” signed by people whoring services that had absolutely no relevance to my life. As soon as I get round to it, I’m going to vaporise my profile on there too.

Interestingly, my most fruitful online endeavour is right here. You’re looking at it. Sucker Punch has resulted in interesting dialogues and arguments and conversations with both friends and people I’ve never met. It’s helped me stay in touch with people I don’t often have the opportunity to see. It’s forced me to focus my mind on writing on a regular basis. Ironically, I’ve got no agenda here. I’m not trying to make friends or business contacts or cash out of this site, but it’s ended up giving me something tangible and satisfying without me asking for a single thing in return.

Thanks for that.

3 comments:

Bert said...

Where does Mrs AKA stand on your gayness?

AKA said...

I was going to say "Behind me with a strap-on"...but that would be innappropriate...

Bert said...

(The above comments has switched posts for some spooky reason!)

What I want to say about this post is I can't believe you registered for Friendster in the first place, you sad fool!