I just read an awesome article about Myspace that really sums up the whole nutty online social world. The article focuses on the "Top 8" friend ranking, which is an exercise that I have been through. But since none of my real-life close friends on are on MySpace and I don't use MySpace to blog anymore, it haven't exactly thought about it too much.
The article gets really funny when it goes into the "status" issue. I admit that I have been through the whole switching between "single" and "in a relationship" multiple times. And pathetically, I once knew a relationship was really over when an ex switched his status back to single.
"It gets highly dramatic," says Danah Boyd, a doctoral student at UC Berkeley who is studying the culture of social networking. "Sometimes one person thinks they're single while the other person thinks they're dating…. You can't have your status be, 'I'm in a relationship that I'm not entirely thrilled with, I'm waiting for something better, come talk to me.' "
And then there is the online stalking:
Where there's stalking, there's reverse stalking. After all, wouldn't you want to know who's watching you? To watch them watch you without them knowing they're being watched? Um, of course you would. At first. And then you realize that if you watch whoever's watching you, then you'll also be unveiled to everybody you're stalking, which puts a real damper on the initial voyeuristic enterprise.
Yes, I have done my share of online stalking. Yes, I have been on dates and pretended that I didn't know something a guy told me after reading about it online. Yes, I have purposely avoided going to sites because of tracking software. And yes, I always look at the stats of this blog to check out the referrers and number of hits.
UPDATE: Since I am in a confession mood, I thought I would explain how I found this article in the first place. It started out with me writing some new reviews on Yelp. I also read the Review of the Day by D.K. and laughed my ass off, so I read more of his reviews. And then I sent him a compliment (figuring out the Yelp social etiquette) and looked his profile. I followed the link to his Second Favorite Website, which is Arts & Letters Daily. I looked around and it seemed like a really cool site, so I posted it to del.icio.us. It was on that site when I found a link to the afore-linked article.