I just joined Friendster yesterday. I hadn't read this article or anything else on it: I simply joined because my sister invited me, because, well, I guess being related she could sort of count on me being her friend. Sometimes. Anyway, it seemed like a pretty cool thing, as time wasters go, so I joined. The initial impression was, "Hey, it's pretty clean." I mean, interface wise.
One really annoying feature is the testimonials. The person to whom you're 'testifying' about has to approve them. My sister approved my first, but when I edited it because I hate blatant grammar errors in hindsight, and added a couple lines, she didn't. She said it wasn't terribly flattering. I tend to write tongue in cheek... but it was apparently too over the top for her. What's the point, then, of testimonials? If you must approve them, why not write them yourself, if you're given the choice to only okay things that cast you in the best light possible?
I guess that gets to the core that this is supposed to be a dating site. I'm single, I'm under 30, I look decent enough: I should be thrilled. I'm not in it, for that, though. It's been my personal experience that most intelligent women online already have a significant other, and if they don't, they aren't going to be hunting a personals site for one. Maybe I'll be proved wrong one day, but it won't be through Friendster. Isn't it sort of creepy to hit on your friend's friends, anyway?
The part about Friendster that could be cool, and what I am interested in is the connectedness of it. I get a kick out of that sort of thing --- and yes, I'm into genealogy too. I know it's pretty much meaningless, but, isn't most everything, really? So, what's the harm seeing who your friend's friends are, and who their friends are, and maybe finding someone in common that you haven't talked to for years, just because that's how it worked out? Or seeing how many friends it takes for a totally different person to emerge? What I mean, is that of the three non-sister friends I have, all are computer geekish types. How many friends of friends of friends until I see a common one that doesn't run BSD and use toilet paper imprinted with Bill Gates face to keep clean parts usually covered? Or, heaven forbid, see someone I know friends with someone who actually knows a Christian? I just find this stuff fascinating, in a "How are we all connected to each other" sort of way. I'm pretty non-social irl, surprisingly ::mirthless laugh::. So, this is a safe way of having a pseudo-social relationship with people, for me. Is there really any harm?
And, yes, information liability is an issue --- but one shouldn't ever post anything they wouldn't want public about themselves to a public forum, anyway. And, of course, for the weirdos who spend the time tracking them, well, I live in Colorado (oooooh, personal information!) and here we've got that nice "Make my day" law. Pity the poor sicko that gets linked into a predominately NRA member web! :) (No, that's not mine).
Anyway, I think Friendster is a neat idea, just like Kuro5hin is a place were we can get exposed to many different viewpoints and high quality trolls. There, we can maybe be exposed to interesting people we wouldn't otherwise see in our daily online meanderings.
Pay service, though, is destined to fail. I bring up Classmates.com again: Horrid design, retarded popups, and *paying* for simple things like posting to a forum? That's just greed. When Friendster gets to that point, I think it'll lose all but those posting phony aliases for themselves... and, hey, won't it be nice for God and Allah to finally be friends?
We can face anything, except for bunnies.