Thursday, October 05, 2006

Friends, friendster, and life.

I logged onto friendster today and noticed that a friend had deleted himself as one of my friendster friends. I logged in because I hadn't received a birthday alert from friendster about this particular friend and knowing that it was his birthday, I found it somewhat odd that the friendster computer hadn't spit out its generic blast email reminding me of it. I soon realized that the friendster computer that manages all of this data hadn't messed up at all. Indeed, it was my friend who had chosen to remove himself from my network of friendster friends.

Now, don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong in editing one's list of friends -- in culling the proverbial herd of friends -- either in life or online. But, this particular friend's action prompted me to wonder about our new online frontier. Much like email often fails to afford society the nuance of personal human interaction, our new online world dramatizes what perhaps is otherwise subtle and common human behavior. Take my friend's action to remove himself from my friendster circle: in life, this "removal" would most likely have taken place in the form of distancing oneself gradually -- perhaps not calling or writing as much as one might otherwise. Lacking any other option in the online world, my friend's deletion became a dramatic act. One day he was a friend, the next, he was gone.

I cannot yet opine on whether the lack of nuance that currently exists online is good or otherwise. Perhaps the gradual ebb of a friendship built over time is not desirable. Perhaps the dramatic punctuation that is afforded online is the better route. Or, perhaps, someday, we will have more online tools to simulate the nuance that does exist in real life. Maybe version 10.0 of Friendster will include a "Fade" button. Friendship in decline? Just hit the fade button and your picture will gray our over time, disappearing completely over the period of time you specify. Oh the possibilities...

4 comments:

Rajat said...

With the fade button, they should put features like "send suggestive mail to his younger sister", "poison his dog", and "publish his philandering stories on your blog"

Karla said...

Or maybe you could have a "friendship in danger of aborting" option where the said friend's picture starts flashing, and if you are no longer a fan of that person, after say, 24 hours, the image explodes.

Ok, I'm ONLY KIDDING. In all seriousness, I think deleting someone from your friendster list is REALLY LAME. Unless of course, it was me doing the deleting, and thus it was an entirely appropriate course of action. All other (non-Karla related) instances of deletion certainly should require a more mature handling of the situation. I mean, what are we, 13 again?

BUT speaking of friends fading - Beej!! It's been awhile! Gimme a call. :)

Kirko said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kirko said...

Deep...so very deep. Who really cares? You have too many friends as it is. This will allow you to focus on ones that you really risk losing in real life. Love ya!