Friday, August 15, 2003

Why I like the Internet (and despise the Mundanes who rule it)

I really do like the internet. Hell, without this immediate, world wide form of connecting, I wouldn't have met my boyfriend. First off, neither of us is the sort to open ourselves up to strangers in a face-to-face medium as that can be really terrifying.

For me, I'm the sort that was always invisible and when I wasn't I was taunted (no, I'm still not over people throwing spitballs at me in the middle French class). My real-life friends tend to also have been far out of the "in" crowd as well. I don't have a lot of friends, but the are the sort of people I would want to open up to, not casual aquaintences.

Enter Friendster.com, whose entire mission is to build up your circle of casual aquaintences, and woe betide the user with a sense of humor.
When it began, the Internet offered a world of new opportunities for anonymous communication and self-representation. Here was a unique medium that revealed nothing about you -- not the way you looked, the sound of your voice, or even your handwriting. The possibilities for self-invention were nearly limitless -- and, some would say, highly liberating. Online, you have far more control over how people perceive you, free from stereotypes about race, gender, income, and age. But the people behind Friendster want to make their site as unlike the Internet as possible.

"The idea is how you would really meet someone at a beach party," says Friendster COO Lindstrom. "We want people to feel comfortable, for people's behavior to be what's normally socially acceptable."

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