29th Apr2011

Farewell To A Friendster

by Will

Considering the Twitter Whore that I’ve become, it’s hard to imagine a time when I wasn’t into social networking. This week, however, forced me to take a look back, as I learned that Friendster would be switching over from social networking to a gaming format. Many of you probably started your social networking with MySpace (or maybe Black Planet), but I started with Friendster back in ’04. That was such an odd time, as I remember I actually had to beg people to check it out and sign up. Nowadays, you get comfortable with a person, and the next thing is “I’ll friend you on Facebook.” Back then, I engaged in a lot of conversations that began with “Well, what is it?” or “Doesn’t that Classmates.com site do that?” Friendster had a small following amongst my meager social circle, but I saw big things in its future – or so I thought.

Eventually, I amassed about 50 or so friends – laughable by today’s social media standard, but quite an accomplishment for the time. Unlike the MySpace model, where you might end up friends with a bunch of strangers, these were 50 people that I actually knew from some walk of life. An interesting thing was that Friendster introduced the Wall concept on your profile. People have no problem throwing up a random “What’s up?!” or “Call me back, bitch!” on someone’s Facebook wall, but Friendster people seemed somewhat uncomfortable with the concept back then. It was called “Comments and Testimonials”, and people seemed to take that last word to heart. Most of the stuff on my wall (all 7 messages) read like something someone would write in my high school yearbook. Friendster eventually added more features which were already commonplace on MySpace and Facebook, like photo tagging, but most people had moved on from the site by then. I, too, had moved on to Myspace and, later, Facebook, but I’d still get messages from Friendster, saying “We Miss You” or telling me some random spam skank had sent me a message. It got to the point where I eventually forgot my password, and never really looked back.

This week, I got an email telling me that I’d need to export any personal profile data I might want to keep, as Friendster was switching over to a gaming format and would be deleting profile info. It was like hearing that an old friend with whom you’d lost touch was now dying. In any case, I decided I should take one last look around to see if anything was worth saving.

The layout’s already been changed, so Lord only knows what’s already been deleted. Plus, I’m apparently single. Last I knew, I was still “in a relationship” back when I last cared about that profile. Then again, that was back in ’05, and it wasn’t a very memorable relationship anyway, so…

Looking at the pictures, I apparently only had three uploaded to the system. I didn’t have many digital pictures back then, and I learned how to remove ex-girlfriends from pictures I had (Those were my best pictures, and it made no sense for me to have to get rid of them ’cause some broad made a stupid decision!). Nothing worth saving out of those three, so farewell visual representation of 2003/2004 Will!

Next, I move on to the messages. Apparently, there are 63 messages, but 95% of them are spam chicks. “Melissa”, “Sara”, “Jennifer”, etc – all sending me messages like “sjhsd ghfhd fs” while using the same avatar. No real loss there. Then, I go back to the first page. My first message was from my friend Tarek. I guess he invited me, as it’s one of those form letters that begins with “Welcome” and explains how the site works. Huh. I guess I forgot about that. In fact, it looks like most of my messages from those days are from Tarek. Kinda sad, seeing as how we don’t talk as much anymore. Then, I see a message from someone named “Alicia”. from Fredricksburg, VA. It seems she wrote “i love ur smile, it’s sexi.” That was nice of her. I hope she didn’t die in a meth lab explosion or anything.  Still, nothing worth saving there, either.

In all, there’s nothing very memorable about the whole Friendster experience. I remember trying to get people to join, and looking forward to messages, but that experience didn’t stand the test of time. All of that was replaced by glitter backgrounds and pokes. And one day, those won’t mean anything, either – especially considering MySpace is up for sale, and Facebook is more concerned with becoming Skynet. I remember enjoying Friendster, but looking back, there doesn’t seem like there was much to enjoy. It all just seems so…empty. Is that how I’m going to feel about Farmville one day? God, PLEASE tell me that’s not how I’m gonna feel about Farmville! In any case, I’m getting bummed out, so I’d better stop here. So long, Friendster. I’ll catch ya on the flipside, see ya at the crossroads, after ‘while crocodile, and all that other good shit. You were a fun whore at the time, but your pimp is blowing up your pager, and I’ve left your money on the nightstand. Thanks for the memories.