Having been playing around with

Having been playing around with Friendster for 24 hours, I must say that I’m really not sure about it.
What is it exactly? A six degrees of separation type thing? Will I be able to eventually prove that via the wonder of my network at Friendster, I know the Pope? Or is it really just a dating thingy that’s trying to be cool? Even though it makes out that it is about meeting people and networking for mutual benefit, it does seem to mention the words “date” and “dating” at every turn, and a quick glance through the titles in the Amazon link page shows a distinct bias towards “The Dummies Guide To Internet Dating” and other books of that nature.
It certainly is more cool than most online dating sites that I’ve seen (admission time: I’ve seen a few), and it seems credible that it could be about friendship as well, which so few of the other dating sites ever succeed in doing (although it is distinctly possible to make friends that way, in a round-about fashion – I have a few friends that fall into that category). It certainly seems to be popular with the British blogging contingent, with almost all the usual suspects represented there and claiming to be friends of Tom.
The testimonials are a little odd too, ranging from arse licking to silly. I’m not sure they actually say much about the subject, more about the wittiness of the contributors. You could easily read someone’s testimonials and be able to say “he/she has witty friends”, which probably doesn’t say an awful lot about the person themselves other than to indicate their taste in friends and humour.
And the whole business of sending a message to someone, asking to be their friend – well, it seems a little redolent of infant school playground culture to me. Perhaps we all want to get back to that simpler way of doing things.
If it is about dating – well, couldn’t it be a little embarrassing? If you make a move on someone over Friendster, it’s as if your friends are watching you, particularly if you look at their profile and see your friend’s picture sitting in the corner of the screen. It is also an implied criticism of your mutual friend too – if you knew we were both single, why didn’t you introduce us before, eh?? I guess you’d find the answer to that question once you got to know one another.
And how exactly is it paying its way in the world? If your email details are not going to be used for marketing purposes, I find it hard to imagine how ends can be made to meet through Cafepress and Amazon commissions alone.
On the plus side, it does have that hard-to-define “fun” quality, which is why I think I’ll stick with playing with it for a while, at least until the novelty wears off (which, I suspect, will not take long for the majority of users).