Friday, July 7, 2006

MySpace and the Art of Knowing Who Your Friends Are

This is not directed at anyone in particular, nor is it only referring to the "bye" post that's been going around... but that was what sparked it, so I'll repost it here, in case you want to know what I'm talking about:

For those who are on my friend list...I totally have to agree with all of you who say people are getting fake In here. So I gave in and let's see who really reposts this. This is a test to see who's paying attention. It serves to eliminate people who are desperately trying to add "friends" like its a popularity contest in High School. This is a test to see how many people in my friends list actually pay attention to me. Copy and repost in your own bulletin. Lets see who the true friends are and I think I know who you are.. Repost this if you are a friend.. if you don't, you get deleted.. Don't reply... just copy and paste this in a new bulletin as "Bye Myspace

Okay, first observation. Saying people are getting fake in MySpace is like saying that all the professionalism has gone out of midget bowling. MySpace isn't supposed to be deep, it's just a fun way of sharing a piece of yourself with the rest of the world. Also, not everyone reads the board... I'd hate to be knocked off a friend's list just because I don't use every little feature of MySpace.

But more importantly, I hate this post because it puts the viewer in an awkward position, presenting them with a sort of logic puzzle. If you follow the instructions, and repost it as-is, then you are obligated to remove the friends who don't do the same. If you ignore the post completely, the person who originally posted it might remove you as a friend. Look how carefully it's phrased. "Don't reply... just copy and paste..." That way you won't add anything to let people know you don't mean it. With people afraid not to repost it, the post spreads like a virus.

Not everyone views MySpace the same way. Some want to have as many friends as possible, so they can share their posts with lots of people with similar interests. Others want only to list people they know personally. There are advantages to both. But the "bye" post forces people with both views to treat their friends lists the same way. This is unfair. In effect, the original poster is saying, "I don't want anything but true friends on my friends list, and I also don't want any of my friends to have oversized friends lists either."

But it's not just the "bye" post... I see lots of unrelated posts by people saying they're going to be trimming their friend lists. Let me say one thing plainly to everyone: Nobody cares how you organize your friends list. Listen, kiddos, you don't need a "bye" post or anything similar to know who your friends are. If you want someone off your list, remove them. I've seen at least one person basically say, "I don't know if my MySpace friends are really paying attention to me, I'm going to remove the ones who don't love me enough." If you don't know who your friends really are, then maybe the problem lies with you.

I realize this is whole blog is an oxymoron. I make a big long post about not telling people how to organize their friends lists, when in effect I'm trying to tell you what to do myself. But organizing your friends list is a personal thing, and it doesn't need to be broadcast to the world.

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