Friday, February 3, 2012
EVERYONE'S GOT ONE #15: SOCIETY OF WHORES
I remember a while ago, a lot of my friends were getting excited over an online social network called MySpace, and they were practically begging me to join. I showed a great deal of reluctance, mostly because I’m not too big a fan of the Internet. I don’t even have it at home right now. I just use my connection at work and at the library. Back then, I mostly used it for email, which even I have recognized as a day-to-day important technology.
Most people use the Internet for porn, or for pictures of cute kitties. To each their own.
I’ve come around slightly since then, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about. Many of you know that my friends eventually talked me into joining MySpace, and I did recognize its potential as a way to get to know people. To be entertained. And also, to entertain.
But one day . . . MySpace didn’t seem quite so important. Everyone was talking about Facebook instead. Why? What happened to make MySpace an online graveyard?
Has anyone been back to MySpace lately? Just to see what’s going on? Or even out of morbid curiosity? I have. Anyone else who has, as well, knows what the problem is. Who else is still hanging around MySpace on a regular basis? Whores. MySpace is a society of whores, and that’s where things went wrong.
I’m not talking about spammers. I’m talking about something even more insidious. Let me tell you how things went down for me, and we can compare notes afterward.
I decided, when I joined MySpace as Tusitala (for purposes of my magazine, TABARD INN), that I would befriend anyone who sought me out, provided they weren’t spammers and they were 18 or over. (I only ever broke my second rule twice, and they were exceptions for family members.)
I learned a lot about other publications through MySpace, and as a result, I managed to get published in a few other magazines. Pretty cool, right? I made friends with a lot of fellow writers, many of whom were really nice folks. But then . . . there were a few other writers I noticed who weren’t really interested in making friends.
They were interested in making sales. You know the kind of people I’m talking about. The only time they ever sent out bulletins or posted blogs was when they were trying to sell something.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve promoted stuff through social networks. There’s nothing wrong with that. But when it’s the ONLY thing you do? That makes me suspicious. Also, a bit nauseous. I’m supposed to be talking to people online, not marketing robots.
So when my friends started trying to convince me to join Facebook instead, I gave in. Fuck it, right? Except this time, I decided that I would only befriend people who were actually interested in having fun and getting a laugh out of the online society. No more acceptance of people who were interested only in pimping their shit.
As a result, my use of Facebook (and Twitter, when it comes to that) has been a lot happier.
However, I’m starting to notice something that threatens the haven of Facebook and Twitter. More and more, companies are using social networks to advertise. They offer deals to people only if they send a friend request on Facebook. Get fifty-percent off if you follow us on Twitter.
And sure enough, many of you fall for it. That’s your business. As for me, I’ve pledged never to have any dealings with companies like Bank of America or McDonald’s or Coca-Cola or even Jim Beam online. I’m much happier for it. But I sense a lot of you are going to have a falling out with Facebook over this pretty soon. I can easily see Facebook joining the MySpace society of whores.
I have only one rule when it comes to social networking, and perhaps you can benefit from this: these places exist for making and maintaining friendships, not for making customers. Promote your stuff, but remember to be human. Have an opinion every once in a while. And don’t forget to have a few laughs.
Speaking of opinions, I’d love to hear yours in the comments below.