Yes, I am on Facebook.
Sometime in October, Birmingham-based guitarist Joe Forde enticed me over to Facebook, the social networking site eclipsing ole MySpace in the buzz. By November, something else was eclipsing Facebook, (It's LinkedIn my coworkers affirm and I'm there too, but strictly for professional reasons. No Zombie Games need apply.) but I found myself enjoying it anyway. Until the constant round of apps started piling up and I thought "What am I to my friends? Some 'chump' (that's a vampire victim in the game, actually) who's gonna sit down and participate in every little interactive piece of stickiness that a Silicon Valley nerd came up with on their lunch hour?
Facebook Fatigue hit approximately 26.5 days after signing up. I needed to go somewhere quiet to rest. And so, back to MySpace. Where the honest hustle of flash animated ads of Britney Spears being shaved by that creepy looking doctor felt almost like instant nostalgia. I logged on. THESE were my real friends!
And bloody hell! I had over 480 of them! Who ARE these people? A recent article in the Wall Street Journal states that we all have a ceiling on the personal contacts we can manage to maintain in our lives. That number: 150.
I had nearly 500 in the Horslips profile alone. 220 in my poetry/lit profile. And nearly 1500 in the Irish pub and ballad profile. Quoting Joni Mitchell:
"I do my best
And I do good business
There's a lot of people asking for my time
They're trying to get ahead
They're trying to be a good friend of mine"
And trust me: after the first few weeks in '06 of making friends with friends, I vetted each request carefully with the following guidelines:
- if you are a voluptuous blonde with an 'i' ending first name (Candi, Brandi, Bambi, etc), you better have at least The Waterboys listed as one of your favorite bands
- if you are a young, sculpted, dark-haired lad with puppy-dog eyes and a Mediterranean tan, it doesn't necessarily have to be The Waterboys. Big Country will suffice.
- obvious political banners/mottoes/messages.
- band that falls completely outside of the genres I've indicated interest in.
- band with more than 1,000 friends (harsh because I had 1,300 friends myself by this point on the pub profile -- but remember: I'm not the one out there building a mass mailing list).
- band that isn't based in Ireland/Scotland/England/Wales or the great pub cities of America. Recently added Germany and Netherlands as "I'll give your song a longer listen" countries because I am digging some of the great stuff from those scenes!
- excessive use of glitter gifs in profile/avatars.
- Ponies and seascapes are a warning sign too.
- anyone who hasn't bothered to edit their profile beyond the basic "Tom of MySpace" look.
- anyone who hasn't bothered to kick Tom out of their Top Eight friends.
- anyone who mentions "real estate" "vitamins" "investment" in their 'About Me' section.
- guns or balaclavas in profile/avatars. Click. (But do LOVE the new Artic Monkeys song!)
- red font on black background is not Goth. It is just hard to read. Click.
- same thing goes for the jpeg that's too small to tile as wallpaper attractively. Click.
- the American flag is inspiring, true, and we all love eagles. But. In. Moderation. Click!!
- I'm sorry, was that Loreena McKennitt I saw listed in your influences? SO click.
- Yes, I'm proud to be Irish and/or American too, but I don't seem to need to mention it quite so often!
- okay, you know, everyone else's MySpace page only took two seconds to load. What was the freakin' hold-up with yours? Believe me, it wasn't worth the wait.
(Here's the actual page that generated this part of my rant: blueflashinglightmeup)
Seriously, I did use the following as warning signs to quickly cull some of requests:
This is not to say that I haven't made firm, fast friends with some people who broke these rules. For example, The Guireans of Sandwick, Isle of Lewis have done f*ck all for style and presentation on their MySpace page, but they are head and shoulders above any other friend I made for inventiveness, originality and true artistic achievement:
Yet even with this stringent guideline, I still find myself up to the neck in chain letter bulletins and self-advertising comments. And now is the time I'm expected to go around and wish Holiday greetings to the lot.
480 friends? Caroline Astor managed with just 400 and she had a big house. It was time to start cleaning mine.