May 30, 2006

Tribewanted: Will it soar or plummet?

I've been peeking into the Tribewanted: Adventure Island website.  This is either the smartest or the most insane idea I've seen in a while: lease an island, sell tribe membserships to only 5,000 people, and then start building a society.  I think they're going to have a bottleneck on their hands once the booking starts (all members get to stay on this particular Fijian island for one, two, or three weeks), but it is fun to watch unfold.

UPDATE JUNE 1st: There's a nice summary of the project here (if you want to watch the accompanying video, you'll need to use the Internet Explorer browser, not FireFox.  Boo!)

November 20, 2005


Originally uploaded by Quip.
I deserve better than to waste hours hanging out here, so I'm closing the door and moving on.

Flickr has a stronger sense of community about it than anyways.

June 16, 2005

Friendster Deathwatch: Latest Update

I still stand by my prediction that Friendster is going to fail. Here's the latest word from the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Friendster, which had picked up considerable buzz and venture capital backing since its debut in 2002, has seen the number of visitors to its Web site drop in recent months, and users aren't staying as long as before, analysts said... Friendster logged 703,000 visitors to its site in April, a 15 percent drop from the year-ago month and the average visitor spent 14 minutes on the site that month, down 65 percent year over year, according to Nielsen/NetRatings.
So, what is Friendster doing to try and keep people on its site? Why, Friendster horoscopes, of course! Under every contact there is now a little symbol which tells you how your relationship is going. Oh joy oh bliss.


You know, the amazing thing is that this company hasn't folded already out of sheer stupidity in management and marketing. And that venture capitalists are still pouring money into this black hole.

May 18, 2005

WARNING: Avoid the hi5 social network....

I got an invitation from a known in-real-life friend, to join something called the hi5 network ( During the sign-up process, it listed three other friends who also had become members already, and asked me if I wanted to send them messages to link to them as well.

I stupidly said yes, and then, discovered to my horror, as vacation messages from work colleagues bounced back, that had gone and sent marketing spam to EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN MY GMAIL ADDRESS BOOK. This, in spite of TWICE telling me that it wouldn't do that. God am I naive for falling for this.

That's dirty pool. And I plan to exact my revenge by telling EVERYBODY who cares to listen what a racket you are pulling, hi5. I cannot believe I was stupid enough to fall for a trick like this. Just goes to show that anyone can be snookered sometimes.

May 09, 2005

Digital Lifestyle Aggregators: Not Quite All-in-One-Cart Yet

(photo: just outside Fort Richmond Shopping Mall, Sunday, May 8th, 2005)

O.K. here's my take on the current stae-of-the-art in DLAs (digital lifestyle aggregators, as Marc Canter has coined the term which seems to fit these all-in-one-shopping-cart approaches to organizing and sharing Internet information with your nearest and dearest. The three competitors at the moment are:

The three services I will be comparing are:

1. Yahoo! 360° plus Flickr (both beta; it is not yet clear how or when the two services will be integrated)

2. MSN Spaces/Wallop (Spaces is released; Wallop is alpha; it's not yet clear when/if the two services will be integrated)

3. with the new Tribe User Profile features (limited beta)

I've talked about all three before, but it's time for an update and a head-to-head comparison.

NOTE: All hypertext links take you to the flickr original-size image. Click on the link labeled "Back to the Flickr photo page" in the upper-left-hand corner to go to the smaller flickr image WITH NOTES.

Wallop!: I cannot believe that I am saying this, after bashing it so much earlier, but now that I've kinda figured my way through the Flashified interface, Wallop (Microsoft's answer to Yahoo 360 and other "digital lifestyle aggregators") is starting to grow on me.

One thing I like about it are that you can set background images (in this case, a photo of clouds). If you choose a background image carefully, you can achieve quite a nice effect.

The second thing I like is the fact that Wallop is skinnable. So I've changed my whole colour scheme and I seem to like it better.

I'm not saying this is the best system, in fact I still think it trails both and Yahoo 360. But it does have some features of note, and it's worth keeping an eye on as it develops.

Now, MSN Spaces: The less said about this travesty the better. Advertising laden, relentlessly pushing you to adopt yet another MicroSoft service wherever you turn, and with a completely indecipherable social networking mechanism, this is the only Digital Lifestyle Aggregator that benefits from its built-in Windows audience, many of whom don't know any better (and MicroSoft ain't-a-gonna tell them, that's for damn sure).

Anybody who uses this piece of crap as a digital lifestyle aggregator should have their head examined. And there is absolutely NO clarity coing from Redmond as to the future direction of MSN Spaces vs. Wallop! This just reminds me of Hotmail and all I have left of that bad experience, is being spammed to death with advertising and an end-user attitude bordering on the antagonistic and arrogrant. HE-llo? We're the customers, remember us?? The people that keep you in business???

Yahoo! 360º: At the moment, Yahoo! 360º lacks some of the features and functionality of's new beta profiles, but it has been reported that a major upgrade of the service is due within a couple of weeks. One key feature that Yahoo! needs to implement is support for RSS feeds. I've also heard that they will support third-party intant messaging, in which case I'll be quite happy. Hopefully, it will support something like mIRC or Trillian as well.

So I am willing to be patient. As far as I am concerned, this race (the race for the popular, ubiquitous "Digital Lifestyle Aggregator") is Yahoo!'s to lose. Between MSN Spaces and Wallop, Microsoft really has no effective competition. The closest competitor to Yahoo! is, but Tribe has a much smaller userbase, a delightfully funky groovy granola crowd, but still FAR less potential users than Yahoo!'s new profiles: This is the current winner of the "digital lifestyle aggregator" (DLA) sweepstakes, in my opinion. RSS implemented, the ability to create any and every kind of list you want (without annoying character limits), at tthe moment is the one to beat. Bravo!

My advice: Run, don't walk, to or wait a week or two to check out the new features in Yahoo! 360º.

April 21, 2005

Comparing Three "Digital Lifestyle Aggregators": Microsoft, Yahoo! and Tribe: Social Networking Aspects.

(I'm using Marc Canter's term here because they are all selling themselves as something more than just social networking software.)

The three services I will be comparing are:

1. Yahoo! 360° plus Flickr (both beta; it is not yet clear how or when the two services will be integrated)

2. MSN Spaces/Wallop (Spaces is released; Wallop is alpha; it's not yet clear when/if the two services will be integrated)

3. with the new Tribe User Profile features (limited beta)

Basically, I am just going to draw up a list of features (logs, lists, photos, etc.), and for each of the three services, give a letter grade on how well it implements that particular feature. Since social networking is the base from which everything else springs, let's look at that feature first.

April 20, 2005

Comparing Three "Digital Lifestyle Aggregators": Testing the new customizable profile

Well, I must say, after playing around with the new (limited invitation-only beta, sorry) profiles, that I'm pretty impressed. One feature I really like is illustrated above: the ability to move the various sections of the profile up, down, and across columns to get it looking the way you want.

Another nice feature: Self-definable lists, not just limited to the usual categories of books, movies, and music. (Are you listening, Yahoo! 360º?)

March 24, 2005

"Continue only if you really are friends with Dame Edna"

Dame Edna is my friend

I installed the Google desktop tool, a free download which allows you to index all documents, pictures, etc. on your personal PC. So I reloaded all my old Iomega Zip 100MB discs onto my now-much-larger hard drive, then ran the desktop tool (it took about 4 hours to index all my files, about 70-80GB). One of my "blasts from the past" was this screencapture. By this point friendster was already degenerating into chaos, as you can tell. But "she" was one of a number of celebrities I has linked to on friendster: By mid-November 2003 I had links to:

I still have my original Friendster Slut diaries up, chronicling my perilous descent into ever-lower levels of friendster-whoring :-) I guess I can call it my "tell-all" biography :-)

March 20, 2005

Yahoo! and Flickr

Well, it finally did happen; rumours had been discussed and dissected to death in various flickr forums. Someone even came up with a very funny new logo during the rumours stage. Striatic put up a post to the above link in the brand-new #flickr channel on, and since then there's been a dozen people (including Stewart himself, president of Flickr) chatting about the deal and its implications.

I asked Stewart if the recent shut-down of FlickLive was part of this, andd he said no; it was just a coincidence and that it will be back. But for now if you need a fix of your flickrfolk friends, you gotta bruch up on your IRC :-)

March 19, 2005

Reflections from a (former) friendster whore....

Speaking as the fully-credentialed social-networking-whore that I truly am (*ahem*), my perspectives:

Orkut is now just a total mess, and it's goin' down the Friendster trail into meaninglessness and shallowness (at least, until Friendster started offering blogs).

There has to be more to a social networking service than just connecting people... it has to be about SOMETHING for it to really work, IMHO.

Flickr is about social networking around photos and images. (and its many new variants such as wists, jots, and blogmarks) is social networking about bookmarks to web sites.

CiteULike and Connotea are social networking about academic books and papers. (which is also growing at quite a clip) is social networking around music and musical artists. It's the only service which I spend more time on than flickr, it's the crack of streaming web radio.

Another service which I think has great potential, and just reached the 900-user mark, is Bookswelike. It's social networking about books, book recommendations, and reading lists.

Of the three original services I joined a couple of years ago (friendster, orkut, and tribe), the only one I still use is tribe. They have a very active Gay Bloggers Tribe with all kinds of lively discussions (now, if we could just get them all onto the FlickrLive chatroom!)

March 04, 2005

Apcala: Social Networking Done Right? Maybe.

Just heard about this new service Apcala (more proof that we are running out of good names) via the Social Software blog, and I've already posted it to Wists and Blogmarks... file me under "People who need to get a life".

As one of the commenters said on the system:

The file storage being one - you can upload various files, tag them, search through other peoples etc. This is a little like Flickr but for all media. You can also embed these into your blog posts. The second big thing is access control. You can wrap control around any item in your profile, file store and blog - meaning you can make blog posts that look completely different depending on who looks at it. For example I could embed a file into a blog post that I only wanted certain people to see - the post would be public but the file restricted to a selected group of people.
Apcala has potential. They are already starting off on the right idea: social networking has to be more than just about linking to other people. Flickr is about photos; is about bookmarks. Things that people share with each other, things that generate discussions.

February 26, 2005

The Coming Social Networking Meltdown

Here is a list of social networking websites compiled by the Social Software Weblog. Three hundred and eighty entries. The venture capitalists and other people with stars in their eyes (and deep pockets) are shoveling money to multiple start-ups who hope to be the next Friendster, the next Flickr.

I've been kicking the tires on many of these services since 2002, and I think it's safe for me to state the obvious. We are soon going to see a slew of failures and mergers in this area. I mean, come ON. Who the hell needs a site so that their pets can hook up online? And there's six of them of the previously-mentioned list....with one especially for hamsters. (I'm not kidding. Go check the list yourself if you don't believe me.)

I came face-to-face with a stark reality when I attended last week's conference: "knowing" people online (with few exceptions) does NOT mean the same thing as "knowing" a person in real life.

First, most of us will NOT keep pestering our real-life social networks to join up to YASNS*. I was able to get about a dozen friends and acquaintances onto Friendster, maybe four onto Orkut, and since then I haven't dared to bring it up. Within a small superheated little bubble, social networking is cool; but for most of our friends and associates, they could care less.

And so, we extend our "friendships" to people who share own propensity to join social networks themselves, and therefore land up connecting to the same group of people (many of whom we barely know at all) in each beta-test service.

Social networking software appears to be an arena of competition where "the first wins the biggest" rule applies. For better or worse, the sites with the largest numbers of users are the sites that launched early: Friendster (started fall 2002; 13 million users), Orkut (started late 2003; 4.4 million users), and MySpace (launched fall 2003; 9 million users) are three examples that come readily to mind. Frankly, these are user numbers that any newly-launched or in-the-planning-stages service will find impossible to meet. Services will have to offer something different and truly more useful than just six-degrees-of-networking in order to survive and succeed in this arena.

(*the fact that many people will recognize that the YASNS acronym stands for Yet Another Social Networking Site simply underscores the craziness of the current situation online.)

BTW, I'd *LOVE* someone to let me know that any YASNS launched within the past twelve months has actually grown to over a million users. I'm willing to bet that there aren't any.

August 31, 2004

Scott Sassa Wins Coveted Awards

You know what? I'm gonna go one better than cancelling my account and telling everybody about it.

I'm going to give Friendster CEO Scott Sassa (already a recipient of the coveted Silicon Valley Clueless Newbie Award for 2004) an award.

Scott Sassa, for firing a clearly enthusiastic and hard-working employee, simply for keeping a blog, in which she revealed NOTHING but what was already publicly available information, you are to receive a Bitch-Slap Award. You should be proud, Scott... you're only the second person to get a BSA :-)

Oh, and perceptive readers will notice that I've slightly altered one of my blog categories. "Friendster & Other Social Networks" is now "Orkut & Other Social Networks".

And it just wouldn't be a controversy without a thread from Metafilter (if dhoyt hadn't beat me to it, I would gladly have posted the story). Here's a pertinent quote:

You know, almost all of the rockstar webdevs and engineers I know are bloggers. Blogging among skilled professionals is on the rise, and companies are going to have to come up with sane, well-defined blogging policies if they want to attract and retain engineering talent.

What's particularly ironic is that Joyce authored a whitepaper on the need for legally-valid privacy with regard to blogging, long before she was hired at Friendster.

Friendster Fires Employee... For Blogging

You know, just when you think that the management at Friendster cannot possibly fuck themselves up any further, they manage to top themselves.

I agree with Jeremy Zawodny on this one. There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING on Troutgirl's blog that was not already a matter of public record, including Friendster's switch from JSP to PHP to make it run faster. They are a social software company, and they fired an employee for blogging?!?   Jonathan Abrams and company should be ashamed of themselves.

And this is exactly the excuse I need to end my Friendster addiction for good. I am cancelling my account, and I suggest you do the same. I mean, c'mon, Friendster has been a ongoing joke anyway. It's time to cut to the punch line and let it go.

Oh, and just for the public record (and as yet another display of Enneagram Two pride), my final Friendster Whore total was:

Oh, and I'm saving this image and my five profile images to Flickr as public images.

August 29, 2004


Support for Canadian postal codes is the one area that Friendster is WAY ahead of other social networking services. Now Myspace has it too. I'm still waiting for Tribe and Orkut to follow. In Tribe I put in the zip code for Pembina, North Dakota, which would be the closest American town to Winnipeg. C'mon guys it's not that hard.

Frankly, I only got onto MySpace because QuoterGal invited me. Otherwise I wouldn't have bothered. I hate the user interface, it's way too confusing. I think the service gives way too much leeway to its users in terms of being able to install annoying animations, sound effects, etc. It still seems like a bit of free-for-all to me.

Cool Flickr Tools

Flickr is just taking off like a shot now, as word slowly filters out. Several creative people have been making tools for Flickr, like this desktop wallpaper creator by mike, which allows you to enter any combination of photo tags or user names and generate a wallpaper pattern in various sizes (e.g. all Flickr images tagged "blue" for an 800 by 600 desktop). Of course, I've already talked about the "my contacts" mosaic creator by striatic, based on an idea from Stewart. And of course, I've already talked about other promising-looking add-on tools built on top of flickr's authentication system, such as playr, from which I have discovered quite a bit of new music based on other flickr user's playlists. (Playr is only as valuable as the size of your contact network on Flickr, though. The more contacts you have and the more everybody in the contact circle uses playr, the better the service becomes.)

Since this sort of innovation is going to continue, I've created a new category for my blog: Flickr and Other Photo photo Management Applications (although other systems like Picasa can't hold a candle to Flickr IMHO).

August 27, 2004

Friendster Message Blocking

Just found out that there's a brand-new message blocking feature in Friendster. I still think it's a lame social networking service, mostly because it's still without the ability to form communities around common areas of interest (like Tribe and Orkut or Flickr, my 3 favourites). I still predict Friendster is going to go tits up (don't worry, the link is safe for work).

August 11, 2004

Orkut, Friendster, Tribe (Again)

Yes *sigh* I'm still dabbling with the social network services.

Orkut is now as slow as Friendster was when everybody got fed up and left. This seems to be a phase that all social networks seem to go through.

Friendster is now faster, and bigger than ever (my guess would be somewhere between 8 and 10 million, based on the consecutive member IDs being assigned to new users). But it's still a completely useless service (except for the funnier Fakesters).

And so I find myself spending more time on Tribe. Tonight I just joined the Gay Bloggers tribe, the first time that I've joined a tribe since I dropped a whole batch of them several months ago.

And through the Gay Bloggers tribe, I found this very stylish blog (uses Macromedia Flash and LOTS of it, but it's beautiful)...and this one is so well-designed...hmmm I can see I'm gonna be surfing for a while this evening (again)


August 08, 2004

Orkut Demographics: Top Ten Nations on Orkut

I find it fascinating to see which nations make it into the Top Ten (i.e. the ones with the most users) on the Orkut social networking service, and how the list changes over time:

Top Ten Nations on Orkut,
as of April 21st, 2004:

Top Ten Nations on Orkut,
as of August 8th, 2004:
1. United States
1. Brazil
2. Brazil 2. United States
3. Japan 3. Iran
4. Netherlands 4. India
5. United Kingdom 5. Estonia
6. Canada 6. Japan
7. Germany 7. Canada
8. India 8. United Kingdom
9. Spain 9. Pakistan
10. Sweden 10. Netherlands

July 30, 2004

A Name Taxonomy for Social Networks

Reading thru evhead, and found this, a pretty good first attempt at a social network name taxonomy. Friendster ranks a 3, and Tribe rates a 4.... but Orkut is -1. (Personally, I would have given the name -2.)

By the way, what is going on?? All of a sudden Friendster is faster but Orkut is slower. Looks like Orkut, hovering at the million-user mark with explosive growth in countries like Brazil and Iran, is going to go through the same growing pains that Friendster did.

July 05, 2004


Kicking the tires on a new feature from the social networking Web site TribeCast is a new way for visitors to your blog to see your Tribe friends and/or communities and/or ad listings. If you want to see what it looks like, I put it up on the left-hand column, under the advertising. Interesting concept, but the execution needs a little fine-tuning; the tribe icons are so small as to be meaningless.

June 24, 2004

"We have a policy that we are not being hacked"

O.K., I've been avoiding this topic for a while, because frankly, it's too big a target and too easy to hit. But Friendster is a blundering, lumbering brontosaurus (both in size and in pea-brain intelligence) which, I predict, is going to belly-up sometime within the next twelve months. Reading comedian Amanda Egge's review, titled Friendster Sucks (WARNING: funny but foul-mouthed), brought the matter to front-of-mind after such a long obsessive focus on all things Layneian.

Continue reading ""We have a policy that we are not being hacked"" »

June 22, 2004

Nancy White's Online Community Toolkit

Thinking about building or hosting an online community? Looking for specific tips, tools and ideas? Start here.

June 18, 2004

Orkut Hiccups

Orkut has been acting weirdly the past couple of days. At first it was discouragingly slow, and now (twice in the past 12 hours), it has mysteriously erased my list of subscribed communities from 30 down to just the six which I moderate, and on the Plain Layne Comment Box, the number of PLCB members just went down from 71 to 18. The last time everything came back OK. I know that Orkut is busy installing additional servers to support an ever-growing user-base (now close to a half-million people). Growing pains *sigh*

I just left a message for everyone: So let's all go listen to the Orkut song, take a deep breath, and remind ourselves: "This is just a beta test" :-)

June 16, 2004

Flimsy is Good!

Quote from source: Leonard, A. 'You Are Who You Know',, June 15, 2004 (this is a must-read article on social networking):

But the not-so-secret secret of social networking is that flimsy is good! Flimsy is where the action is. Seek out flimsy, and you shall be rewarded. As Mark Granovetter explained, for what must have been the thousandth time this year, the counterintuitive key to social networking is that its value doesn't inhere in linking up to your best friends and soul mates. You are far more likely, argued Granovetter, to find leads on a good job or a prospective date from the networks of people you don't know very well.

You are already probably familiar with the friends of your best friend, or spouse, or close office colleague. There's no fresh territory to plunder there. It's those people with whom you have "weak ties" -- the vague acquaintances, that guy or gal you once kind of knew, a little bit -- who offer a path into possibility that you didn't know was there. The essence of social software networks is that they are a clever way to organize access to the networks of people you aren't actually friends with.

Continue reading "Flimsy is Good!" »

June 11, 2004

Plain Layne Comment Box: New Community on Orkut

You know, every time Layne Johnson disappears, the people who live in her comment box become refugees, wandering from one blog to another to commiserate and debate. I am sick and tired of running back and forth between four or five conversation threads to pick up the latest news and opinions, so I think it's time we created a home for all Layneian refugees... et voilá!


Plain Layne Comment Box: you'll only be able to connect to this community if you are signed up to Orkut; as always, email me if you want a free invitation to get in :-) Ryan Winnipeg (at) YAHOO (dot) CA (*NOT* Dot-Com!) ... On Orkut you can choose to be as anonymous as you like, ignoring all the profile fields if you're sick to death of being data-mined, all they ask for is a first name, last name, and email address, oh yes, and a statement that you're of legal age to participate. It's not lame like Friendster, if you've been following my blog at all, you'll already know that it's actually got some great communities going on.

Oh, and by the way, here is Layne's profile on Orkut (just a screencap, no need to join Orkut to be able to see this pic). Hurry before Layne's profile is gone here on Orkut as well...

God, I am being *such* a shit-disturber today.

June 06, 2004

Signs You're Going To Be Single Forever

Fly Chicks For The Geeky Guy bills itself as �The most active community in Orkutland�, and that�s very true.

Continue reading "Signs You're Going To Be Single Forever" »

June 01, 2004

The FlickrVerse Revisted

Striatic took an idea of mine and ran with it; he used the new picture Notes feature in Flickr to annotate a map of the world, showing lists of which Flickr users are where. Note: you have to click on this image to be taken to the Flickr page for this image where the Notes fields are enabled. Try it, it's a great idea with lots of potential applications.
Originally uploaded by striatic.

May 29, 2004

QuoterGal's Birthday Rant

QuoterGal, the woman who collects and distributes such excellent quotes as this one, posted the following to the Bulletin Board on Friendster:

Continue reading "QuoterGal's Birthday Rant" »

Flickr QuizBowl 2000

Who knew that playing Trivial Pursuit in a chatroom could be so much fun? :-) blue team won and I got the final question for us YAY!

May 21, 2004

New from Flickr: Photo Notes and Tags

A post from Stewart Butterfield's personal blog about the new features available in Flickr, which I still think is the best photo-sharing site out there: photo tags to attach to your photos to allow them to be searched for and pulled up quickly, and (even cooler), photo notes, where you can annotate specific parts of an image with your notes, which appear as you mouse-over the section in question.

I swear, Flickr must be the best-kept coolest secret of the Internet. I'm amazed that the place is still one of the quiet eddies in the raging river of the Web.

May 20, 2004

Great Librarian Quote

''I'm of a fearsome mind to throw my arms around every living librarian who crosses my path, on behalf of the souls they never knew they saved.'' —Barbara Kingsolver (from the profile of QuoterGal, on Friendster; thanks for the invitation to join your personal network, QuoterGal)

May 18, 2004

Start an Orkut-for-Gmail Swap

Finally! Somebody has taken up my suggestion to start an Orkut/Gmail swap... thanks Dwayne.

May 17, 2004

Need a job? How about a date?

An interesting look at social networking from a corporate perspective... for what it's worth, I uploaded my gmail address book into LinkedIn, and nobody matches, so I guess that makes me corporately disconnected :-(

May 16, 2004

Super Friends

I don't keep up with Friendster much these days; I may go in once or twice a week to check and see if they're doing anything new or different. I was surprised to get the following in my email inbox:

Continue reading "Super Friends" »

May 15, 2004

LiveJournal Icon du Jour

forever.jpgI know, I haven't picked one in a while. Here's my pick for LiveJournal icon of the day, from the extensive collection of icons crafted and shared by tippingchristy (tcicons).

May 06, 2004

Orkut Withdrawal

"The page cannot be displayed"   AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!

Oh.   Wait... DNS problem, you can still connect via IP address.   False alarm *whew*

May 03, 2004

Spim, Spam, Phish, Snam

Spam and spim, meet snam: social networking spam.

If this keeps up, the Internet is going to sound a lot like a Dr. Seuss book....

The Orkut Song

Get Out of Orkut Jail Free CardThis is the (in)famous Orkut Song, by the Mighty Mighty Spatchtones, an instant classic :-) and I (I thought) the perfect first song to audioblog. Already a familiar tune to many Orkites, click the play button below to have a listen:

"Do the Orkut Limbo Now Ai-Yai-Yai-Yai-Yai-YAI!"

April 27, 2004

Flickr Badge (and an Unsolicited Testimonial...)

Flickr has just gone and made another useful innovation...somethign called a Flickr badge. Take a look at the top of the left-hand-side column in my blog, and you will see a set of automatically-updated thumbnail pictures taken from the most recent pictures in my Flickr profile, Quiplash. Here's a screen shot of the badge set-up within Flickr, if you want to see how it's done. Easy as pie.

I have kicked a lot of tires on a lot of YASNS*, and Flickr (despite its currently small number of users compared to Friendster and Orkut) is my hands-down favourite. Unsolicited testimonial: Flickr is the only social networking software that I would shell out money for, it's that good and that much fun.

If you want to try it out for yourself, send me an email (ryanwinnipeg at Yahoo dot CA) and I will extend you a personal invitation to join up (I should mention that if five people accept my Flickr invitations, I get to test-drive the new Flickr Pro service...woo hoo! ).

*YASNS = "Yet Another Social Networking Service"

April 23, 2004

Feeling Orkward

A well-explained, critical look at Orkut, from the blog The Adventures of Accordian Guy in the 21st Century

April 21, 2004

Flickr Photostreams

Well, it's official. Of the six social networking sites I still use (AlwaysOn, Flickr, Friendster, MySpace, Orkut, and Tribe), my favourite site is Flickr. They've just come out with another great idea: photostreams.

A photostream is a "stream" of pictures that you have uploaded to Flickr, or shared during an online chat with your friends, in chronological order. Beneath it (in what I think is a masterful touch) is a collection of pictures that other Flickr members have posted at or around the same time. What a good idea, wonderful for browsing.

April 18, 2004

Orkut at Eleven Weeks

An excellent overview of the Orkut phenomenon, by Anthony Hemphill, well worth a read.

April 14, 2004

Design Issues

There's been quite a bit of complaining, and I must now agree: has some serious design issues to sort out. It's just getting worse wnd worse every time I log in.

April 13, 2004

The Flickrverse

The Flickrverse according to Quiplash!        Originally uploaded by Quiplash.
Posted by Quiplash from flickr
Here's a quick map I threw together to remind me of who's where when I chat on Here's a larger version.

Come and Play, Everything's A-OK

Oh, I know it's silly, but I just couldn't resist becoming Big Bird's friend on Friendster...

March 31, 2004


An interesting project to keep an eye on as it launches...

March 29, 2004

ZeFrank's Take on Friendster, Orkut, and Wallop

Not only does ZeFrank give dating advice, acting tips, and dance lessons (basic and advanced), he's also just released a wickedly funny Friendster critique and general rant about social networking software in general (.mov video, 7.3 MB, requires QuickTime plugin). There are all sorts of other fun tools and toys on ZeFrank's site, go exploring! This guy is a true original.

Thanks to danah boyd for posting a link to the Friendster film on her blog.

March 20, 2004

Red Cross Disaster Area

My Orkut CommunitiesI spent the rest of yesterday evening with one of my best friends (thanks Carl), who wanted to show me his brand-new gazillion-channel TV service via MTS (Manitoba Telephone System); part of this whole new "cable-can-now-provide-phone-service and telephone-can-now-provide-TV" (a.k.a. convergence) world we're living in. There's lot of neat features, but if I bought this, I would NEVER leave the house, and I have enough hermity moments already :-)

I have been able to stick to my pledge to keep the TV set turned off, last night was the first television I'd watched in (*checks blog*) almost a month. The only show I miss, the CBC National evening news, I now pull off from the CBC newscast Web site. I play it in a little window in the corner of my screen as I'm surfing, blogging, and chatting my way through cyberspace. Works just great!

Today is clean-up day, both online and off-line. My apartment is a Red Cross disaster area, and needs some immediate attention. But of course, I logged on and started cleaning up online first, deleting a bunch of Orkut communities in order to get the ones I wanted to display in my profile (picture right). I've also come across some more funny communities in Orkut (below):




March 16, 2004

Jonathan Abrams Keynote

Well, Friendster founder Jonathan Abram's keynote speech at SXSW on social networking has certainly sparked a mixed reaction among the bloggerati...

Quote from Virginia deBolt:

"Even though Friendster claims to still be in beta, it has six million members now. It is not anonymous. People use their real names. And people take their real-life social set and bring it online, where they connect to friends through friends through friends. Abrams said they have used a very simple design to appeal to a mainstream audience and that the site has proven the six degrees of separation theory. In fact, Abrams said in some places it might be four degrees of separation."

Hmmm, that "People use their real names" bit, I dunno....there are over 200 people on Friendster named "Jesus Christ"....

Quote from danah boyd:

"He disregards all predecessors (other than Ryze) because they didn't influence him. He disregards academics, points out that his site is the only one who made it a reality, etc. Erg. I can't even reiterate all of the things that i disagreed with... i successfully remembered why i'm a much bigger fan of the people who breathed life into Friendster than i am its creator."

YEE-OUCH. That's gotta smart.

Quote from David Weinberger:

"Q: Was Six Degrees an inspiration?

A: 90% was addressing problems I and my friends had. But Ryze was an inspiration also. Another guiding idea: To reduce the level of stupidity on the Internet to the level of stupidity you have generally. I can�t stop people from being an asshole. But on a computer, with the anonymity and without seeing reactions, people act that much stupider."

To reduce the level of STUPIDITY to general levels?!? Oy gevalt! That attitude is not gonna endear the customers. Let's just hope David made a transcription error on that one.

And David relates an absolutely hilarious post-speech anecdote. Priceless.

Thanks, Virginia, danah and David. It's just like being there...

March 14, 2004

Collage of Buddy Icons

(Almost) All of My Flickr Contacts: March 8, 2004

       Originally uploaded by Stewart.

Posted by Quiplash from flickr

From Chandrasutra, the work of Stewart Butterfield, Flickr creator. It's a collage of Flickr buddy icons (the small pictures we use to identify ourselves on Flickr, which usually appear next to our names). (Note: You can click on it to make it bigger.)

So, can you spot me? :-)

Orkut Jailhouse Blues

Hauled back into Orkut jail *sigh*

This makes the fourth time, by my count. Plea for release already emailed.

March 11, 2004

Six Degrees

The grand-daddy of all social networking services — Six Degrees — is making a comeback....

Friendster: Game Over

Well, the game is now done.

Friendster has finally changed the way it presents the personal network counts.

Yesterday, the message was in the by-now-familiar style:
"You are connected to 3,481,382 people in your Personal Network, through 361 friends."

And today, the message is:
"You have 362 1st degree friends, 31,737 2nd degree friends, and 883,358 3rd degree friends in your Personal Network."

I'm (gracefully) taking this as a good time to retire from friendster-whoring. What fun is the collecting when you don't get a 4th degree count???

3.4 million friendsters...well, it was great timewaster, but it's over.

March 10, 2004

Quotester: The Meaning of Friendster

This wickedly funny post is by Quotester, taken from the Fakester group which calls itself the "Friendster Revolution" community (on Yahoo! Groups). Here's a sample quote:

"But most of all it is precisely the sense of mortality, the fear of death, the presence of an oppressive autocratic regime that sometimes arbitrarily and other times vindictively slaughters thousand of fakester friends each day, that adds that extra dimension that the other on-line communities lack. Just ask peter gammons, or brain in a jar or malcolm x or one of my many britney spears about the exhileration of logging on each day to discover you have escaped death yet again. These aspects of intagibility, unpredictability, patience, cleverness and the illusion of connectedness and distinction is something that cannot be found on other on-line communites and sadly for most of us who are here, not even out there in our off-line communities..."

Hmmm, sounds like Quotester hasn't encountered Orkut yet :-)

Continue reading "Quotester: The Meaning of Friendster" »

March 06, 2004

"Do the Orkut Limbo Now!"

The Orkut Song (by the Mighty Nifty Spatchtones; MP3 audio, via the Many-to-Many blog). Absolutely hilarious!

"Hello? Everybody? Hellooo?? Oh crap, I'm in jail..."

March 01, 2004

Comparing and Contrasting Social Networks

Stanton M (Stanton McCandlish of the Electronic Frontier Foundation), who participates in the "Orkut" tribe discussions on, provides an insteresting summary of how he sees the various new social networks, and how he differentiates between them:

Continue reading "Comparing and Contrasting Social Networks" »

February 26, 2004

Sticking with Flickr

Flickr chatroomI must confess that I am having just a blast on Flickr. The real draw for me is the drag-and-drop picture feature, which you can insert in group chatrooms or in instant messages to others. Note the "shoebox" at the bottom of this screen capture, which is where you can stash up to 50 pictures. Frankly, I'm having so much fun I'd be willing to pay to have extra storage space for more pictures...

There's a level of fun here (at least, right now, with a small number of users) that I haven't really seen anywhere else (well, OK, the Bring Back Huy Zing movement on Orkut, and Miss Cleo on Friendster was also an absolute hoot..). Adding pictures to conversation takes it to a whole new level. I was even toying with the idea of creating my own personal emoticons, using various self-portraits. It certainly brings out a different kind of creativity in people! In the meantime I'm "sticking with Flickr"...while still visiting Friendster, Orkut, and Tribe regularly too. In fact, in thinking about it some more, the chat interface is so compelling that it almost makes you forget that there's a traditional posting forum for each channel, like Orkut and Tribe. So Flickr is a mix of community forums, real-time group chat, instant messaging, plus incredibly easy picture storage and usage. Sounds like a winner to me :-) .

Oh, and for some strange reason this song keeps running through my head tonight...

Confessions of a Shameless Friendster Slut

Dame Edna wants to be your friend
This morning, I imported all the entries (about a hundred, dating from Sept. 31, 2003 to Feb. 13, 2004) from my blogger-made, blogspot-hosted Weblog, Friendster Slut. This was the separate blog I started to chronicle my adventures in (and frustrations with) the Friendster service.

Since I wasn't about to create new blogs for all the other social software sites I write about, it just didn't make sense to have a separate blog for Friendster. I will keep the old blog up with a final post redirecting people to here. All the entries from Friendster Slut can be found under the category "Friendster & Other Social Networks". (Try a Search for "Miss Cleo", one of my favourite Fakesters.)

February 21, 2004

Well, well...

It looks like Friendster is starting to pay attention to the competition...

February 20, 2004

Orkut Responds

Omigod! I actually received a response from Orkut about my going-to-jail-when-sending-too-many-invitations problem.

Wow. Customer service...what a concept. Friendster, are you paying attention?

February 17, 2004

Mapping U.S. Orkut Users

Now this is cool...Rolan Yang has written a PHP script tonight that overlays Orkut user density data over USGS survey maps:

To start from your home town (sorry, U.S. only, doesn't work with Canadian postal codes), type in your zip code in the first box at the bottom, clear out the second box, then click GO. You can click on the map to zoom in, or pan around with the controls at the top.

Utterly Shameless

Voil�! My new Friendster profile pic.

February 16, 2004


Whoa... this is a whole level beyond Orkut and Tribe networking software with easy photo-sharing capabilities, plus chatrooms and instant messaging; a truly impressive beta! (found via Marc Canter's blog)

I've added a couple of full-size screenshots to give you a flavour of Flickr's user interface, which I think is intuitive and well-designed: here (showing the chat room, an instant messaging conversation and, behind it, some threads from a regular discussion forum) and here (this time also showing an enlarged version of one of the shared pictures) .

Way cool :-)

February 15, 2004

Question and Response

Mark's question about social networks and my response...

What Love Is... and Isn't

Fascinating discussion on love from One of things I like about tribe is that you don't have to become a member to be able to access conversational threads like this.

February 14, 2004

Orkut Jailbird

Orkut jailbirdDamn it! I've been sending out invitations to various Ryans on Orkut to join The Ryans, and I've been jailed, "released", and now re-jailed again. This is getting a little annoying...

February 13, 2004

Three million friendsters...yawn...

I don't know whether I should cheer for myself for hitting 3 million, or feel sorry for myself for engaging on this futile endeavour in the first place... God what a waste of time and energy.

February 12, 2004

Orkut vs. Tribe: Comparing Discussions

Well, to continue on my comparison between and, I spent a good chunk of today checking out discussion forums on both social network services. My observations:

Contrary to what you might expect for an older, more-established service, Tribe has fewer communities (oh, all right, "tribes") than Orkut! Tribe has over 11,000 tribes, while Orkut members have already created over 15,000 communities in less than one month. However, most of the Orkut communities seem to have very little conversation taking place (at least, so far). Tribe may have fewer communities, but it seems to be more active overall (at least, right now).

Also, Tribe has a distinct advantage over Orkut in that posters are not limited to only 2,048 characters (let's hope they remove this restriction when they go from beta to alpha...) This discussion thread on is an excellent example of why you need a larger character limit.

So, right now, if you're looking for discussion groups that are relatively more active, go to If you're a discussion glutton, there's more to choose from on Orkut :-) Here's another person's comparison between the two services, and he picked Orkut.

February 11, 2004

The Ryans

Well I finally went and did it...

And of course I got my ass booted into Jail again, this time for sending out too many email invitations to the hundreds of Ryans on Orkut *sigh* ... the trigger seems to be 50+ messages.

Oh my God!

"You are connected to 2,961,800 people in your Personal Network, through 323 friends. "
Highest ID number in the New People display: Ann-Marie (5974231) * 0.93 = 5,556,035
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: 53% (holding steady :-)

I got this message on my God, now I've become a social software consultant!

February 07, 2004

Orkut vs. Tribe

Dwayne wrote:
> How is it [Orkut] different from Tribe? Does it do
> anything different? What's so great about it.
> Tell me more.

Hi Dwayne,

Well, I have been playing around with both services all week, comparing and contrasting. I guess I am one of the people who's in the best position to give opinions on both services.

I haven't made a decision yet about which one I prefer over the other, here are some observations:

Overall design: Neither service is perfect, but I give Orkut higher marks than Tribe in this area. Why? Well, I don't like Tribe's design: I dislike the orange-and-grey colour scheme, and the boxy, fenced-in feeling to everything (at least Orkut expands to make full use of your screen at hgher resolutions). Orkut has its design flaws too (the people-as-letters thing has GOT to go; a community has already formed to discuss the sexual implications of the two people forming the letter N). But I like the layout more, and I like the shades-of-blue colour scheme, and the fact that the user profile and community thumbnail photos are bigger (at least, they SEEM bigger; again, I don't like the way Tribe boxes them up).

Messages: Orkut gives the user more options in who to address a message to (some would say, too many options): to individual friends, to all your friends at once, to your friends and their friends at once, to user-predefined groups of friends, or to all members of a particular community. Tribe, as far as I can tell, only allows you to send messages to one individual at a time. However, Orkut imposes a limit of 2048 characters on messages, and you cannot include HTML (e.g. clickable hypertext links) in your messages. So, overall, Tribe comes out best in freedom of message content, but Orkut comes out best in freedom of message addressing.

Friends List: Orkut offers two views; one a simple list of the people you've sent invitations to, the other a tableau of profile pictures with brief information: name, age, marital status, location, and number of "friends". Tribe offers the latter display as well, but again it seems boxy. Maybe a couple of screen shots side-by-side will reveal the differences better:

Here's Tribe's friends list and here's Orkut's friends list. Which one do you think is better laid-out? I'd think most people would say, Orkut.

Continue reading "Orkut vs. Tribe" »

TOS Fuss

Meanwhile, the fuss over Orkut's Terms of Service is continuing... More on the controversy (thanks to Gary for the links).

Get Out of Orkut Jail Free

getoutofjail.gifThis is the essential item required by Orkut (beta) members...

(The original idea for this came from Michael O'Connor Clarke of Uninstalled, who gave me permission to take his image and edit it a little bit to serve the purposes of us Orkut jailbirds, rather than those who are fending off unwanted invitations. Thanks Michael.)


There are almost 400 communities listed in the category "Other" on Orkut, which is defined as "a category for groups that defy categorization".

By the time I had finished scrolling through them all, I was laughing so hard I was weeping, and I had sparked a minor nosebleed (admittedly, with my nose, that's not too hard to do in our dry Winnipeg winters). But I just had to share some of my favourite "Other" communities:

First, the three runners-up:




...but the award-winner for best "Other" site goes to (drumroll please...)


P.S. I believe quality of life is measured in laugh-until-you-cry-moments per year :-)

P.P.S. And I had thought that LiveJournal had some pretty esoteric communities...

February 06, 2004

Sprung from Jail

Well, I've been "sprung" from "jail", but I'm pissed off, and especially feeling embarrassed becasue I had invited a number of library directors from the Northern Exposure to Leadership Institute mentors group to join the service and to consider using Orkut as a possible platform for a community for alumni and mentors, a sort of "next-generation" mailing list. And after extending invitations, I get jailed without explanation.

So I posted the following message to the Orkut Design community members:

February 05, 2004

Jailed for "Unusual Activities"

jail.gifOh dear. I got this message today around 5 p.m. when I signed onto Orkut to check for mail. Orkut throws members in jail for what it calls "unusual activities"...but it won't tell you what rule you broke. So now I have to go plead my case before I can get my privileges restored :-(

It's actually quite funny, so many members have complained about being thrown in Orkut jail, that it's starting to be seen as a badge of honour.

I'll give your regards to Martha Stewart while I'm doin' time :-) ....

February 04, 2004

Friendster, Orkut, Tribe

I have been mightily impressed with what I see developing in Orkut (especially when contrasted with Friendster).

And although Tribe and Orkut are similarly featured social network sites (the ability to create communities separate from user profiles, etc.) they already seem to be developing in an completely different directions.

To compare and contrast these three sites briefly:

Tribe, with about 70,000 members, has a sort of San Francisco laid-back community feel to it, with lots and lots of alternative discussion groups (one of the biggest is for the Burning Man tribe), and a sort of buy, sell 'n swap section thrown in. Funky, fun. Avoid if you hate the colour orange :-)

Friendster is 6-million-member worldwide free-for-all, average age is 18-22, the focus is on dating/flirting/making new friends (or creating new false identities: "Fakesters"), but there are NO discussion groups. The Friendster servers are currently straining under the user load, so service can be slow at times, and completely unavailable at others. Check out the funnier Fakesters, e.g. Miss Cleo, Friendsters Anonymous, etc. for a good laugh at how creative people can be.

Orkut (the new kid on the block) is Google's answer to Friendster, just launched in mid-January 2004, and it's currently still a small site (about 40,000 people as of today). People can post detailed profiles if they wish (similar to Tribe), and set up and join as many communities as they like (again, like Tribe).

However, the Orkut network seems to have been "seeded" by the Google staff themselves, and their friends, and their friends, and these first 40,000 people are certainly VERY different overall from the Friendster crowd. They are more mature, both smarter AND wiser, and very "plugged-in".   I am staggered by the names of the people I keep coming across: people like Esther Dyson, John Perry Barlow, Mitch Kapor, Brewster Kahle, Howard Rheingold, Gary Price (ResourceShelf), Blake Carver (LISNews), Tara Calishain (ResearchBuzz), Jessamyn West (, Evan Williams (evhead), Meg Hourihan (megnut)... Orkut's still got bugs, and crashes every so often, but it still looks quite promising.

Click on the Communities tab in Orkut, and browse the "schools and education" communities, the "computers and Internet" communities, and the "science and history" communities, to get a feel for the place, and to see its potential. My prediction is that Orkut is gonna kick Friendster's ass, and probably sooner than anybody might predict. Orkut has Google's deep pockets and massive computer power behind it, and is already evolving fairly rapidly in response to user input.

My invitation to you...if any of you here reading my blog wish to sign on to the any of these three social software networks, just to check it out for yourself, I can extend an invitation and help you get connected.

If you're interested, and you want to explore the new social software scene, please send me a message, and I will extend you an invitation to the community/ies of your choice. I will need:

1. Your first name (REAL name)
2. Your last name (REAL name)
3. The email address you'll be using to subscribe (I strongly suggest you create a new one on hotmail or yahoo just for this purpose).

Oh, and if you're already on one of these three services, and want to add me as a Friendster, Tribesman, or Orkutter (Orkist? Orkitect??) to your personal network, then here's my details for you:

First name: Ryan
Last name: Schultz

See you online!.

February 03, 2004

Stop the rumours...and this time we really, REALLY MEAN it!!!

"You are connected to 2,864,277 people in your Personal Network, through 317 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Steve (5786720) * 0.93 = 5,381,650
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: still hanging in there at 53%...

Do I detect a certain note of desperation creeping into this?

February 02, 2004

61 and 71

danah boyd asked me to check how many friendsters gave their (underage) ages reversed: "61" (16) and "71" (17). The answer: surprisingly few (I bet most of them just lie and say they're 18):

61: only 821 out of a total of 2,809,843
71: just 665 out of 2,836,990

(I did the samples at different times whenever Gallery stayed up long enough to give a result :-)

Thirty-something Friendsters

Well, the Friendster Gallery was up again (temporarily), and out of 2,854,447 friendsters:

53,054 were age 30
42,08p were age 31
34,044 were age 32
31,411 were age 33
25,397 were age 34
18,163 were age 35
13,348 were age 36
10,667 were age 37
8,537 were age 38
and 7,033 were age 39

The numbers fall dramatically as the age rises.... In fact, overall it sorta looks like the age distribution chart on the Statistics page.

February 01, 2004


Once again, I am letting the dishes (and the dustbunnes) pile up while I am exploring yet another new social network service, Orkut. This one is attracting a lot of attention because it is backed by people with deep pockets and major computer power: Google, which a few months ago had its offer to purchase Friendster rejected. You following all this? It's expected that Orkut will be a serious contender in this market, having watched carefully from the sidelines as Friendster and other social networking sites launched early, making various smart moves and smart-ass mistakes.

Aside: Orkut? They must be running out of names for new social software services. At least "friendster" tripped nicely off the tongue. And what exactly are we members of the Orkut network supposed to call ourselves? Orkutters? Orkutites? Orkultists? By the way, Orkut is supposed to be named after its creator, Google employee and former Stanford graduate Orkut Buyukkokten. Here's his home page.

At this point, Friendster is still growing at a phenomenal rate, and is closing in on the six-million member mark. However, the service seems to be staggering under the onslaught of new users, and a chorus of user complaints about Friendster being slow (or down completely) have led to migrations to other, competing services, notably and

I just joined Orkut today (a big thank you to my fellow friendsters and bloggers Scott and Lynn and Sean for their assistance), and right now, I'm linked to 21,228 people through five friends (you see, you have to pick those first five friends very, very carefully LOL). Since the service has only 23,749 members at the moment, I've finally achieved a goal that was (and always will be) elusive in my friendster whoring frenzy: I'm connected to 89% of the members of a social software network. Woo-hoo! (*Ryan does the happy Friendster slut dance*)

And yes, I *know* it's not going to last; just let me revel a little, O.K.???

I just tried to get back into Orkut (which despite the high number of users signing up, has held up surprisingly well, with good response times) and I get the following message:

Bad Server

Well, I guess it's time to go reload the dishwasher....

Twenty-something Friendsters

"You are connected to 2,826,915 people in your Personal Network, through 316 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Ann (5749146) * 0.93 = 5,346,706
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: 53%

Frankly, the Friendster Gallery feature has been up and down like a Bangkok whore.

Taking advantage of a (temporary) period when the Gallery was working, and following up on some earlier work, I was able to get some more age-based statistics. (At the time I took these counts, the total size of my Friendster personal network was 2,845,859.)

206,269 were age 23
179,599 were age 24
152,687 were age 25
128,358 were age 26
106,454 were age 27
85,710 were age 28
and 69,027 were age 29

Notice how quickly the numbers drop by age. Unfortunately, Gallery went down again before I could get similar figures for ages 18-22 to compare. But it's clear that Friendster should be renamed Youngster :-)

January 30, 2004

Good Question...

How many social networks are too many?
I'd say we passed that point a looong time ago...

January 29, 2004

"I already know who my friends are, am not actively trying to get laid, and don't need the 'service' of having to risk offending near-strangers"

Article in yesterday's Wired News:Social Nets Not Making Friends:

"Perhaps it was inevitable. A backlash is under way against social networking services like Friendster, as more and more companies crowd to join the latest hot Internet trend.

Sick of invitations to join networking services, and the constant nagging to validate friends or acquaintances, some people are turning against the ever-growing social networking services. "

2.8 million friendsters -- Woo Hoo!

"You are connected to 2,802,515 people in your Personal Network, through 311 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Sinario (5679813) * 0.93 = 5,282,226
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: 53%

January 27, 2004

"Being your friend is hard work"

"You are connected to 2,769,765 people in your Personal Network, through 307 friends. "
Highest ID number in the New People display: Dan (5632041) * 0.93 = 5,237,798
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: still hanging in at 53%

Jason Kottke has made a hilarious post to, here's a sample:

"Overwhelmed by the amount of work necessary to keep up with all my friendships on Friendster, Orkut, and all the other social networking sites, I've posted a job opening over on craigslist for a personal social coordinator:

Permanent full-time position for a personal social coordinator for a New York-based web designer.

Your primary responsibility will be managing my accounts with various online social networking sites including, but not limited to, Friendster, LinkedIn, Tribe, Orkut, Ryze, Spoke, ZeroDegrees, Ecademy, RealContacts, Ringo, MySpace, Yafro, EveryonesConnected, Friendzy, FriendSurfer, Tickle, Evite, Plaxo, Squiby, and WhizSpark."


I just about fell out of my chair... the Gallery feature in Friendster was actually working!

So I quickly ran a few queries. Out of a sample size of 2,748,806 friendsters:

232,461 were age 18
239,355 were age 19
197,396 were age 20
194,661 were age 21
186,225 were age 22

after which the Gallery feature was again unavailable.... but it looks like 38% of all friendsters are aged 18 to 22.

January 17, 2004

Six Degrees of Procrastination

I don't know how I could have missed this October 2003 article on Jonathan Abrams and Friendster, but here's a link. Although it's several months old now, it's still good reading if you want a bit of background on the service and its founder...

January 16, 2004

Stamping Out the Rumours...

"You are connected to 2,634,944 people in your Personal Network, through 302 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Hhhh (?!) (5325998) * 0.93 = 4,953,178
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: 53%

January 14, 2004

About-Me Hopping

I have a nagging headache, fucked-up lungs (asthma/bronchitis) and I'm a really, REALLY shitty mood. Perfect time to go profile-hopping.

About Me:

"Reluctant sword stripper, latenite desert driver, intrepid roadtripper, sunny day lakeside sleeper, goggles-wearing roman-candleshooter, dog-wrassler, cat pillow, rain-lover, rabid reader, drunken writer, culture jammer, car-singer, wide-eyed adventurer, loud mime." (Lucinda Michele)

"if we get along, i'll start a band with you even if you can't play anything. i have a bike gang and we'll run you down in the street if you are friends with the pigs or affiliated with the collegiate fraternity system." (dirty uncle brad)

"when i was a kid, i tried to memorize my freckle patterns and point them out to my mom, so she would know if i was ever replaced by a robot imposter." (michelle)

"Im Jackie or Jaclyn whichever... im a hater." (LngIslandJACKIE)

"Super human powers of shaking exactly two pills from a prescription bottle." (Zeb)

"this is not me, this is just me reacting to you." (Anna)

"I sneeze a lot and swear a lot. I try to remember to take Claritin and watch my fucking (I mean freaking) mouth. I am learning how to knit and trying not to let it piss me off too much. I am knitting a pretty scarf and every time I fuck it up, I have to go back and fix it. I am not normally a perfectionist but spending craploads of money on fancy yarn and ending up with a shitty piece of crap would just piss me off." (Sarah)

And the winner of the "Making Ryan Laugh-Out-Loud Award Even When He Feels-Like-Shit" goes to: (drumroll...)

"I'm currently accepting donations for my fundraiser to help raise money for a Bentley, for more info contact me. I'm also at peace with Jesus, Allah, and my ex-landlord." (Bijoux)

January 13, 2004

"Or else I'll make sure ya get da scabies"

"You are connected to 2,566,535 people in your Personal Network, through 299 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Ady (5233424) * 0.93 = 4,867,084
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: still hanging in at 53%

Well, Miss Cleo gets my vote for sure now :-) ....

January 10, 2004

Out of the dating game?

Also, Danah Boyd talks about possible future directions for Friendster. Is Friendster getting out of the dating game??? I wish I could share her optimism that the current round of troubles at Friendster Co. are a sign of a big change to come... *sigh*

Friendster Proves Osama's Undoing :-)

"You are connected to 2,512,877 people in your Personal Network, through 299 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: still displays Tan (5105481) * 0.93 = 4,748,097
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: still 53%

Taken from a spoof article (Farhad Manjoo and Katharine Mieszkowski. "Osama bin Laden: Caught by Friendster!", Jan. 5, 2004,

Bin Laden Captured -- Investigators Cite Terror Mastermind's Addiction to Friendster

"It's not easy living in a cave," Osama bin Laden explains to U.S. interrogators moments after he's captured early in 2004. "You might learn to put up with the cold, the bugs, the lumpy bed, but it's the social life that hurts the most. So you go online for a few hours to keep up with your friends. Where's the harm in that?"

But Friendster, the popular online social networking tool, proves to be OBL's undoing. Through a series of unlikely relationships -- which folks like Michael Moore have long been whining about but which were not quite clear until Friendster graphically demonstrated them -- George W. Bush turns out to be connected to bin Laden.

See, Bush knows this guy (an acquaintance, not a friend) from his DKE days, and this guy's wife has a sister who knows this dude with great hair who once, when he was young and very drunk, spent the night with this woman who is a huge fan of the MTV show "Cribs."

Small world! Bin Laden's second wife also loves "Cribs"! FBI investigators, who now routinely use Friendster in their searches for terrorists, piece together these connections and hit the jackpot -- Osama bin Laden's profile complete with an e-mail address, Investigators initiate a virtual romance with the terrorist leader, and he invites what he believes to be his virtual paramour up to the cave for drinks. Sadly, none of OBL's 49 Friendster friends -- although many give him glowing testimonials on the Internet -- spring to his defense in the real world.

January 09, 2004

The new Friendster help desk...and Miss Cleo for President!

"You are connected to 2,506,777 people in your Personal Network, through 298 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: ? (didn't get name) (5043448) * 0.93 = 4,690,407
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: 53%

Now people are so sick and tired on not getting answers to their questions and problems with Friendster that they're coming to ask me. I've noticed this happening more and more lately. Example: WhiteSnake wrote: > Have you ever had a problem when the number of > friends you are connected to doesn't show up. > And if you do how do you fix it?

If it doesn't fix itself when you reload the page on your Web browser, then it's broken. Best to come back an hour (or a day) later. If you're asking about Gallery searches, that's been down for over three weeks now.

--Ryan the Friendster Slut

Oh, and my favourite fakester (i.e. fake friendster), late-night-infomercial fake-Jamaican tarot-card-reading shaman Miss Cleo's running for President...this oughta liven things up :-) with Miss Cleo as president, the first 30 days of presidency are absolutely free! And after that, only $3.99 a minute! What a deal!

Dat's right babies! Da will a'da spirits be dat
I should lead dis wonderful nation trew da comin
times! Due ta m'overwhelmin popularity and trust
wit'in da Friendster community, Miss Cleo be
runnin fer president! So call me now ta cast yer
vote! An visit m'web page at

Shango Bless America!

January 08, 2004

2.5 million friendsters

Well, whaddayaknow.... two and a half million friendsters.

"You are connected to 2,512,877 people in your Personal Network, through 298 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Tan (5105481) * 0.93 = 4,748,097
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: 53%

But the Gallery search still isn't working :-( ...

January 07, 2004

"Six Degrees of Enough Already"

This morning, on a whim, I sign in (I have noticed that early morning, when the West Coast is still waking up, can often be a good time to use Friendster).

Slow as molasses. Personal network sizes unavailable. Gallery searches still unavailable. Feh.

and the January 2004 issue of Wired puts it best, on its regular feature, the Hype List. On the way DOWN:

Six Degrees of Enough Aleady: Social networking sites from Friendster to Friendzy are sucking up VC (i.e. venture capital) cash. Merge 'em all and call it DoubleClique.


January 05, 2004

Friendster Death Watch

"You are connected to 2,478,138 people in your Personal Network, through 300 friends. "

Gallery searches still not first I was kidding about the "weeks" crack I made earlier, but now it *HAS* been several weeks since this turkey worked.

And I get a message from a fellow friendster:
If Friendster starts charging, join tribe dot net
(I can't write out the URL b/c these guys are
Nazis and erase accounts that post invitations to
join tribe).

As far as I'm concerned, I'm calling for a Friendster Death Watch. It's only a matter of time, people.

December 25, 2003

"Have yourself a friendster little Christmas..."

"You are connected to 2,353,666 people in your Personal Network, through 288 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Xinhui (4777173) * 0.93 = 4,442,771
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: 53%

Yep, just did a quick check... 27 Santa Clauses... here's a few samples:

Santa #1: "Ho Ho Ho! I love dem ho's." (3 friends)

Santa #2: "everybody knows me... did you write me yet?" (2 friends)

Santa #3: "im too busy ryt now but ill get back on these stuff later." (16 friends)

Santa #4 (the popular one, with 365 friends): "fat and jolly...... and sexy (mrs claus said that hohohoho); Who I Want to Meet: KIDS, KIDS AT HEART! EVERYONE! to add me, click on 'add santa as your friend', and if they ask you what my full name is, just put 'santa' for my first name, and 'claus' for my last. kapeesh? hohoho, have a nice day!" (gotta love a Santa who says "Kapeesh" LOL)

Santa #5: " i love skytripping with my sleigh around the world, i got 13 pet reindeers, and i got lots of elves" (26 friends)

...and so I added "Kapeesh" Santa to my network :-) happy holidays to one and all!

December 16, 2003

Abandoned profiles versus Constantly-visited ones...

"You are connected to 2,240,137 people in your Personal Network, through 285 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Andrea (4548125) * 0.93 = 4,229,756
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: 53%

Given the number of people who have been complaining about leaving Friendster for good, I thought I'd do a quick spot check just to see what percentage of profiles have been abandoned by their owners.

I checked 108 profiles at regular intervals, going only across all profiles which had been created before October 2003 (i.e. all Friendster IDs up to about 2440000). Of those 108, 10 had been deleted by Friendster (usually an indication of a Fakester profile). I'll have to sample the IDs between 2440000 and 4500000 to get a more accurate figure to replace my 0.93 factor, though....

But what I really found interesting was that finding out what percentage of profiles had not been visited for three months or longer. Of those 64 profiles which I could access, 10 had not been visited/ updated/ checked within the past three months (i.e. since Sept. 16, 2003).

So I would hazard a guess that around one of every six Friendster profiles has been abandoned by their creators.

However, what I found even more surprising was that a very high percentage of friendsters had actually visited or updated their profiles within the past 2 days! I don't have a percentage, because I didn't start out to look for it, but I'd say about 50-60% of the profiles are visited quite regularly by their owners.

December 15, 2003

"You Won't Find Me on Friendster"

A refreshingly different perspective on Friendster (and ensuing conversation thread) by Sphinx on Infoshop News, who explains why he refuses to join Friendster; here's a quote:

"I believe that this is actually a simple refusal; so long as humans prowl the streets by day and night, so long as chess is still played in the park, as long as I am pulled from intensity to intensity by the writhing of human movement, while snowball fights still spill out into mid-day traffic, and kisses burn between skins and not circuitry, human community will continue its staunch, storied resistance to control and separation."

"Error: Temporarily unable to perform your search. Please try again in a few moments."

Yeah, riiiiiiight... It's more like:

"Please try again in a few WEEKS...."

I have a distinct feeling this thing is going to be in "beta" for a while yet.... and hey, I wouldn't be so proud as to issue press releases extolling the links between your technology and Friendster, buddy... trust me on this one :-)

NYT Social Networks Article

"You are connected to 2,218,830 people in your Personal Network, through 283 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Tirso (4505911) * 0.93 = 4,190,497
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: 53%

Here's a thought-provoking quote from an article published in Saturday's New York Times, "Social Networks", by Jon Gertner:

"At least in theory, a readily accessible social network would enable more of us to bond with people we regard as far less anonymous than strangers. The larger possibility, that plugging into our social networks might somehow remedy a profound national loneliness, is even more enticing.

What seems just as likely, however, is that social-network applications will further fracture life into disparate spheres -- the online and the offline. Jonathan Abrams (the C.E.O. of Friendster) and Mark Pincus (the C.E.O. of Tribe Networks) see their creations ultimately as a means to enrich offline experiences. But this fact is incontrovertible: technology has outpaced our physical ability to manage the social network. Duncan Watts, author of this year's book ''Six Degrees,'' has wondered whether our primitive ancestry gives us a hard-wired tendency to attend to only our immediate associates, like family and friends. Our online persona may be rich with friends and contacts; it may make us feel popular and deeply valued as we trade tips about the best Australian Shiraz or converse about the best way to get to Burning Man. But our offline persona still gets stuck in traffic on the way to the liquor store. Our online persona may manage a Web-based cocktail party of three degrees -- a party that would include our friends, the friends of our friends and the friends of our friends' friends. But our offline persona, juggling the demands of family and work, can barely return the telephone calls from the first degree."

The book mentioned, Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age, is one I just signed out of my library, and I hope to start reading it over the holidays.

December 14, 2003

More Friendster Statistics from F.I.S.T. (the Friendsterwhore Institute of Statistical Trends)

"You are connected to 2,228,509 people in your Personal Network, through 278 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Nadiah (4527170) * 0.93 = 4,210,268
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: 53%

Danah Boyd asked me to shake a few more statistics out of my personal network, and I was happy to oblige her (but I would like a mention of F.I.S.T. in the thank-yous for your Ph.D. thesis, Danah :-) ...O.K. on with the show...

Straight vs. Queer (percentages based on then-current network size: 2,139,475):

Women looking for women (dating or relationship): 71,929 (3.4%)
Women looking for men (dating or relationship): 207,756 (9.7%)
Men looking for women (dating or relationship): 336,776 (15.7%)
and men looking for men (dating or relationship): 103,580 (4.8%)

...which means that over 8% of Friendsters (3.4 + 4.8) self-identify on their profiles as queer (gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans*, etc.). The figure is likely a bit higher because of all the queer folk who indicated that their status was single, married, in an open marriage, or "just here to help" (Ryan puts up his hand).

Photos on Profiles (percentages based on then-current network size of 2,143,637):

Men who have photos: 651,808 (30.4%)
Women who have photos: 572,371 (26.7%)
Total number of people who have photos: 1,224,183 (57.1%)

Where Friendsters Come From (percentages based on then-current network size of 2,154,381):

ranked from highest to lowest total number of friendsters according to their profiles... and a warning that these figures are biased by the fact that most of my personal network contacts are in North America...I'd love to see someone from Singapore or Malaysia do the same sort of statistics so we can compare.
Philippines: 286,699 (13.3%)
Singapore: 159,760 (7.4%)
Malaysia: 82,406 (3.8%)
United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland): 33,645 (1.56%)
Hong Kong: 20,666 (0.96%)
Japan: 7,176 (0.33%)
Germany: 4,687 (0.21%)
Taiwan: 4,225 (0.20%)
Indonesia: 3,949 (0.18%)
France: 3,395 (0.16%)
South Korea: 2,906 (0.135%)
China: 2,724 (0.126%)
Netherlands: 2,351 (0.11%)
Brazil: 1,896 (0.088%)
Ireland: 1,491 (0.069%)
Mexico: 1,303 (0.060%)
India: 1,085 (0.050%)
Belgium: 1,003 (0.047%)

Note that I can't do similar stats for Canada or the United States because Friendster requires that you enter a postal code as well as the country name for these two countries.

December 13, 2003

Gawker's Got the Goods...

"You are connected to 2,177,854 people in your Personal Network, through 278 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Rusty (4437788) * 0.93 = 4,127,143
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: 53%

My secret, guilty pleasure, Gawker, can always be counted on for a spate of hilariously sarcastic Friendster articles.

December 12, 2003

The Four Laws.

"You are connected to 2,207,634 people in your Personal Network, through 277 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Moon (4492239) * 0.93 = 4,177,782
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: still holding at 53%

Over the past month I have been reading, with enjoyment, Smart Mobs: The Next Social Evolution by Howard Rheingold (Perseus Publishing, 2002). This book (which was recommended to me in the Social Software Intellectuals tribe on has an interesting section on mathematical laws applying to computers and computer networks in Chapter 2, from which I post an extended quote (pp. 58-60):

"Reed's Law relating social networks and computer networks is the most recent in a series of fundamental discoveries about the driving forces of computers and networks. In the social sciences, prediction is necessarily fuzzy. In the economics of computer-mediated social networks, however, four key mathematical laws of growth have been derived by four astute inquirers: Sarnoff's Law, Moore's Law, Metcalfe's Law, and Reed's Law...

Sarnoff's Law emerged from the advent of radio and television networks in the early twentieth century, in which a central source broadcasts from a small number of trasmitting stations to a large number of receivers. Broadcast pioneer David Sarnoff pointed out the obvious: The value of broadcast networks is proportionate to the number of viewers.

...In 1965, Gordon Moore, cofounder of Intel and one of the inventors of the microprocessor, noted that the number of elements that could be packed into the same amount of space on a microship had doubled every year. Moore forecast that the number of elements would double every eighteen months in the future....Computers and electronic components have driven industrial growth for decades becase they are among the rare technologies that grow more powerful and less expensive simultaneously.

What happens when you link devices based on Moore's Law? When ARPA wizards gathered at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in the early 1970s to create the first personal computers, one of the engineering aces, Bob Metcalfe, led the team that invented the Ethernet, a high-speed network that interconnected PCs in the same building. Metcalfe left PARC, founded 3Com, Inc., cashed out, and came up with Metcalfe's Law, which describes the growth of value in networks...The number of potential connections between nodes grows more quickly than the number of nodes. The total value of a network where each node can reach every other node grows with the square of the number of nodes...Connecting two networks creates far more value than the sum of their values as independent networks.

...I [Rheingold] asked him [David Reed] what led him to Reed's Law...'I had my first eureka when I thought about why eBay was so successful...eBay won [business] because it facilitated the formation of social groups around specific interests. Social groups form around people who want to buy or sell teapots or antique radios...I realized that the millions of humans who used the millions of computers added another important property--the ability of the people inthe network to form groups...Human communication adds a dimension to the computer network. I started thinking in terms of group-forming networks (GFNs). I saw that the value of a GFN grows even faster--much, much faster--than the networks where Metcalfe's Law holds true. Reed's Law shows that the value of the network grows proportionally not to the square of the users, but exponentially.'

That means you raise two to the power of the number of nodes instead of squaring the number of nodes. The value of two nodes is four under Metcalfe's Law and Reed's Law, but the value of ten nodes is one hundred (tem tot he second power) under Metcalfe's Law and 1,024 (two to the tenth power) under Reed's Law--and the differential rates of growth climb the hockey stick curve from there. This explains how social networks, enabled by email and other social communications, drove the growth of the network beyond communities of engineers to include almost every kind of interest group. Reed's Law is the link between computer networks and social networks."

Great stuff....thank you for the excellent summation, Mr. Rheingold. Class dismissed :-)

December 11, 2003

Chris' Friendster Sluts

"You are connected to 2,166,701 people in your Personal Network, through 278 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Costa (4414919) * 0.93 = 4,105,875
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: 53%

I came across this gem while doing a Google search on "shameless friendster whore" :-)

Hey, it was bound to happen sooner or later; with all the people out there collecting friendsters, Chris has started collecting friendster sluts. His description: "Friendster is a good concept gone wrong... and the reason for that is the people that use it as an avenue for kissing their own asses and try to whore themselves out. Anyhow, I was talking to Em and she gave me the idea to start a list of people on Friendster who just... well... reek of pretentiousness, sluttiness, and/or are somehow linked to a certain ex of mine who has the most atrocious taste in friends. Because sometimes, you just stumble across someone that's just so dicky looking or has the dumbest description of themselves that you just totally have to share it with the world."

So I went and asked to join BigEvilPeople :-) ....

Absolutely fabulous, darling...

"You are connected to 2,207,213 people in your Personal Network, through 276 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Brian (4491398) * 0.93 = 4,177,000
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: holding steady at 53%

(on my coffee break, just checking in...)

Of course, what shameless Friendster whore would not want Patsy Stone as part of her/his network? The ultimate scenestress, always one step ahead of the Friendstapo, she keeps popping up in the oddest places and disguises, and today I found her.

December 06, 2003

Friendster Music (statistics from the insomniac)

"You are connected to 2,121,826 people in your Personal Network, through 269 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Dan (4337879) * 0.93 = 4,034,228
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: 53%

FINALLY... two relatively uninterrupted hours of friendster-time while all the West Coast people are sleeping off their Friday night partying :-) ... I'm up early because I have insomnia (one of the side-effects of a medication I'm taking), so rather than sit here and twiddle my thumbs at 6:00 a.m., or toss and turn in bed some more, here are some stats from the Friendsterwhore Institute of Statistical Trends (F.I.S.T.) on the favourite music of Friendsters (hey, what good is a network of 2.1 million friendsters if you can't learn something from it???). Keep in mind that I couldn't do some searches: words too short ("U2", "Mya"), or words too common ("Michael Jackson", "James Brown"), or just plain ambiguity ("Elvis" pulls up both "Elvis Presley" and "Elvis Costello"; "Pink" also pulls up "Pink Floyd").

Radiohead: 65,131
Coldplay: 43,022
The Beatles: 37,898
Bjork: 30,673
Linkin Park: 23,971
The Pixies: 21,790
The Smiths: 20,892
Johnny Cash: 19,674
Weezer: 19,672
Eminem: 19,235
David Bowie: 19,173
Madonna: 19,144
John Mayer: 19,000
The White Stripes: 18,480
The Rolling Stones: 16,563
Bob Marley: 16,015
Outkast: 15,995
Beck: 15,824
Bob Dylan: 15,365
Nirvana: 15,319
Justin Timberlake: 13,233
Frank Sinatra: 13,019
Norah Jones: 12,928
Belle and Sebastian: 12,715
The Doors: 11,534
Prince: 11,257
Red Hot Chili Peppers: 11,065
Ani diFranco: 10,852
Sigur Ros: 10,485
Missy Elliott: 8,669
Britney Spears: 7,470
Christina Aguilera: 7,057
Death Cab for Cutie: 6,961
Johann Sebastian Bach: 6,378
Sting: 6,356
Oasis: 6,018
Sarah McLachlan: 6,017
Phish: 6,000
Liz Phair: 5,978
Ludwig van Beethoven: 5,976
Dixie Chicks: 5,865
Blink-182: 5,824
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: 5,814
Dido: 5,573
Joni Mitchell: 5,564
Moby: 5,189
Beyonce Knowles: 5,008
The Shins: 4,990
Marvin Gaye: 4,981
Avril Lavigne: 4,958
Elton John: 4,560
Fleetwood Mac: 4,484
Bruce Springsteen: 4,158
The Grateful Dead: 4,093
Frederic Francois Chopin: 4,032
Simon and Garfunkel: 3,608
Kylie Minogue: 3,539
Patsy Cline: 3,344
ABBA: 3,267
Aaliyah: 3,194
Celine Dion: 3,187
Dolly Parton: 2,813
The Eagles: 2,718
Aretha Franklin: 2,645
Cher: also 2,645
Mary J. Blige: 2,429
Sheryl Crow: 2,340
KISS: 2,329
Cyndi Lauper: 2,027
Shania Twain: 1,895
Whitney Houston: 1,870
The Carpenters: 1,632
The Bee Gees: 1,524
The B-52's: 1,167
Hilary Duff: 1,112
Dusty Springfield: 1,103
Barry Manilow: 888
Barbra Streisand: 660
Sixpence None the Richer: 575
Eurythmics: 560
The Bangles: 521
John Tesh: 362
LeAnn Rimes: 351

...and finally,
William Shatner: 92
Zamfir: 75

December 04, 2003

We have this deal worked out...

(no network size figures...iot's down again...)

After the article about Danah Boyd and her research on Friendster was published in the New York Times (see entry for Nov. 27th), she wrote this entry in her blog Connected Selves:

The NYTimes says that i have 278 Friendster friends. The thing about this number is that i actually know all of them and only 3 of them have i never spent extensive time with in RL (research friends who i have had deep interactions with online, but not offline). Most of these people share significant bonds with me and i've been pretty vigilent about sticking to the "desired" Friendster behavior in this way. (Basically, i have no desire to be killed since i need this account for research.)

I actually maintain multiple accounts. One of them, with my real name, is not linked to anyone. I created it in case old friends wanted to find me. Ironically, all of the requests to that account have been subjects, people who have answered my survey or others that i don't know at all. Since the NYTimes article came out, i've received over a dozen Friendster requests from people who i don't know at all (in addition to the emails of people asking me to be their friend and the 1 request via my used Friendster account).

Frankly, given this, i'm amazed that anyone can think that Friendster is an accurate portrayal of social networks. To many of these people, i'm just another name in the paper, one that's known to have a large network. Thus, they link to me. I'm the perfect candidate to expand people's networks, right? So strange.

So I responded:

Danah, it's not so strange if they're Friendster whores (I *still* think that term is hilarious). In other words, the goal is not to link to your real-life acquaintances and friends. The stated goal of the F.W. is to collect as many people as possible and create as big a network as possible.

Why? Because it's there; because I can. Part of the challenge is to see how far I can go, how outrageous I can be in my quest :-) Another reason is that I feel I can now give something to those people who choose to link to me: access to a bigger share of the friendster network, a chance to wander around as I have and discover new people that you might never have encountered becaue you're not networked enough.

You send those people pestering you over to me; I'm about 5,000 short of 2 million friendsters and I will be happy to have'em :-) ...

So now Danah and I have worked out this informal agreement; periodically she collects the names and email addresses of the people who have asked to be added to her network, and sends them to me.

I then offer these people a chance to be added to my personal network.

So, instead of just getting Danah's network, you get Danah (indirectly, since I am linked to her) as well as up to 524,970* other merry friendsters to play with.... I'd say that's a pretty good deal!

* I got the 524,970 figure by creating a dummy profile which has only one friend: the Friendster SLut himself, and then checking the personal network size of the dummy to see what the impact is.

Not a lot of Streisand fans out there....

"You are connected to 2,104,547 people in your Personal Network, through 266 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Alvin (4307013) * 0.93 = 4,005,522
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: 53%

(* ...and a voice from the back yells: "MORE STATS!" *)

Number of people who live in the New York City area (within 25 miles of Manhattan): 150,803 (7.1%)

Number of people who live in the San Francisco area (within 25 miles of the Castro): 130,341 (6.2%)

Number of people who live in the Los Angeles area (within 25 miles of Beverly Hills): 146,626 (7.0%)

...and number of people who live in the Winnipeg area: 1,375 (0.065%)

Number of people who list "wine" as one of their interests: 22,361 (1.1%)

Number of people who list "beer" as one of their interests: 23,066 (also 1.1%)

Number of people who list "milk" as one of their interests: 1,818 (0.086%)

Number of people who list "reading" as one of their interests: 193,545 (9.2%)

Number of people who list "shopping" as one of their interests: 108,703 (5.2%)

Number of people who list "sleeping" as one of their interests: 77,421 (3.7%, including Jonathan Abrams)

Number of people who say Celine Dion is one of their favourite singers: 3,174 (0.15%)

Number of people who say Barbra Streisand is one of their favourite singers: only 566 (0.027%)!

DAMN! "Error: Temporarily unable to perform your search. Please try again in a few moments." Oh well, it was fun while it lasted...

Driving Along at 833 FPH...

"You are connected to 2,101,102 people in your Personal Network, through 266 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Sasha (4300785) * 0.93 = 3,999,730
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: 53%

When your network gets to over two million friendsters, strange things start to happen. For one thing, your friendsters begin to multiply like Star Trek Tribbles...I added 100,000 friendsters in five days (Sunday to today, Thursday); that works out to 20,000 friendsters a day, or 833 friendsters per hour (FPH, hey now that's one term we should adopt... but officer, I was only going at 60 FPH!).

Put another way, my personal network is now growing at 14 friendsters per minute, or one friendster every five seconds.

Hmmm, better set up the hide-a-bed :-) ....

...and 100% who like to sit and wait for a minute or two after they press the Enter key...

"You are connected to 2,097,997 people in your Personal Network, through 266 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Celestine (4294446) * 0.93 = 3,993,834
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: 53%

A few more fun stats from the Friendsterwhore Institute of Statistical Trends (F.I.S.T.):

People who are looking for a date with a woman: 394,641 (19%)

People who are looking for a date with a man: 298,385 (14%)

People who are looking for a serious relationship with a woman: 289,652 (14%)

People who are looking for a serious relationship with a man: 216,602 (10%)

People who are single: 1,067,620 (51%)

People who are in an open marriage: 48,444 (2%)

And, once again, "Your personal network is temporarily unavailable..." *sigh*

oh, wait, it's come back....

People whose name is "Kevin Bacon": 33 (0.002%)

People whose name is "George Bush": 28 (0.001%)

People whose name is "Jesus Christ": 147 (0.007%)

And people whose name is "Ryan Schultz": 14 (0.0007%), hmmm, maybe we should start a very exclusive club :-) ....

And once again, "Your personal network is temporarily unavailable" Grrrr....

December 03, 2003

Some Friendster Stats for That Next Cocktail Party...

"You are connected to 2,092,944 people in your Personal Network, through 266 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Rea (4283881) * 0.93 = 3,984,009
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: 53%

Since I've got access to my Gallery (again.. finally) and to a good chunk of Friendsterspace (hey, what good is a HUGE network if you ain't gonna use it?), let's have some fun and run a few stats: (assuming that the half of Friendsterspace I *don't* have access to is pretty much the same as the half I *do* have access to...)

In all cases, the first number is the result when doing a search on my gallery; it is followed in parentheses by the estimated percentage of Friendsterspace that matches that result.

People who indicated that they were men: 862,398 (41%)

People who indicated that they were women: 835,240 (40%) ... which means that 9% weren't really sure WHO they were...

People who are "just here to help": 327,533 (16%)

People who are looking for activity partners: 932,953 (45%)

People who are looking for friends: 1,339,616 (64%)

AND DAMN DAMN DAMN! Wouldn't ya know it... "Your personal network is temporarily unavailable"....
More stats later as I get access :-) ...


(Friendster still not calculating network sizes or allowing links to friends-of-freinds.... *(sigh*)

Sign of the times: I'm seeing a *LOT* more of this on friendster...

Most disgruntled friendsters seem to be going to one of two places: or I have an account on (actually started up the MySpace Anonymous Group LOL), but I just find myspace to be a little Hey-my-parents-are-gone-for-the-weekend-let's-throw-a-big-party atmosphere. What it makes up for in allowing personal creativity (like LiveJournal), it lacks in organization and content.

Many former friendsters have migrated to, attracted by the topics of conversation (called "tribes") and the fascinating, intellectual people who take part in those conversations. Throw in a little silliness, and a much more pleasant cutomer-service attitude, and you've got a winner.

At some point I may need to revisit my statistical sample spot-check of active vs. inactive accounts. I suspect that my 0.93 factor (i.e. 7% of all accounts are suspended or unavailable) is going to need to be adjusted.

December 02, 2003

The Revolution Will Be Fakestered...

(no network totals; Friendster is still acting up)

Most of you already are familiar with the concept of Fakesters, and the fight between Jonathan Abrams and Co. and the Fakesters (here's a recap). Anyway, I came across this rally-the-fakester-troops post from the Yahoo! group FriendsterRevolution, which is a sort of gathering-place for Fakesters:

"Well, I have waited a LONG TIME to make this posting. I have purposely been avoiding talking about our apparent "victory". It seems like that, doesn't it? Is it more of a truce? I HONESTLY DON'T KNOW.

Will Friendster ever admit that they bowed to our wishes? NEVER! Remember they said it would never happen? REMEMBER? You know what's funny? This group is still gaining members!NOTHING IS HAPPENING HERE AND THAT IS ACTUALLY GOOD! Now that we can exist, we can start to REALLY explore the ARTISTIC POTENTIAL of making fake. While we're at it we can begin to use the potential of this social software to EMPOWER ourselves and ORGANIZE into communities.We also have a certain RESPONSIBILITY as the CONQURING ARMY toward Friendster. Let's show them why we BELONG here. Let's make it a better place and all that BULLSHIT.

It is time to RESTRATEGIZE. Remember poor NAPSTER? Friendster is like that, only they're not shutting it down. My next plan? ALTER THE VERY FABRIC OF AMERICAN POLITICS. My first BABY-STEP will be to get PISSPOT THE RABBIT on NATIONAL T.V. Remember Pisspot? He has a video in the files section if you're curious. I will use Friendster to draw people to the web site that you can vote on . LET'S GET A FAKESTER ON NATIONAL T.V.!

This is but one possible use for Friendster- TELL ME YOURS!

Here's another idea -instead of leaving Friendster for TRIBE or MYSPACE or whatever,why not WORK THEM ALL? Figure out what each one is good for and use it for that.THE KIND OF TWISTED MINDS THAT MAKES FAKE ARE THE KIND OF MINDS WE NEED TAKING OVER OUR CULTURE RIGHT NOW! Our SICK, PATHETIC and SHEEPY culture.

Go out and DO THE EVIL VOODOO and keep this group ready in case they start WIPING US OUT AGAIN. Now that we don't have to FIGHT FOR OUR LIVES, maybe we can get some IMPORTANT WORK DONE!"

December 01, 2003

Why the @#$#% is Friendster so slow? And WHERE's my Gallery?!?

In her blog postconnected selves: irritated beyond belief, Danah Boyd triggers a couple of interesting technical responses from the geeks in the audience (in the Comments section, well worth reading to get a sense of the pounding the Friendster servers must be taking...) but I agree with Danah, it's still very annoying. THere is NO WAY that they can start to charge for a system this slow and this buggy.

Oh NO!!!!

(no stats for this post; friendster is so overloaded it's not calculating network sizes)

My announcement of hitting the 2-million friendster mark has led to an unexpected event (below):

Oh dear. I had *NO* idea my announcement would be a trigger for your crisis of faith.

(*wallows for a moment in decadent ex-Lutheran guilt*)

Whatever you decide to do, know that the services you provided were great fun -- and a big help -- to many people, including me.

--Ryan the (semi-retired) Friendster Slut

Frndsters Anon wrote:
> Dear Friends,
> FA has had a crisis of faith. We originally
> banded together to support and aid each other
> through the darkness of Friendster
> overdependance. But then we were seized by
> greed and consumption. We wanted MORE...more
> friends, and a bigger network...
> We were on our way to a network of 2 million
> when we found that one of our members had
> already reached 2 million. We gnashed our teeth
> and rolled our eyeballs and generally thrashed
> about in unattractive fits of jealousy.
> This is not healthy.
> Friendsters Anonymous has helped many, we
> assume, and we have had a lot of fun. But when
> something brings out the fire breathing monster
> of competition and envy in us, it is time to re-
> evaluate.
> We are ready to turn FA over to a deserving soul
> who wishes to carry it on....please notify us.

November 30, 2003

Two million.

Hey, I did it! I know, I know, what a geeky-dorky and ultimately meaningless accomplishment, but it's an accomplishment nonetheless. (Quick, someone call David Letterman and the Guinness Book of World Records!)

Two million friendsters in two months (Sept. 30 - Nov. 30, 2003). That's like meeting 33,300 new people every day for two months. Hmmm, maybe I should consider a career in politics ... or selling Avon hee hee hee...

Anyways, from this point on, I'm just gonna sit back, and let this gremlin grow on its own as people ask to be added (perhaps add a couple links myself from time to time, but not wholesale).

And I'm going to ask all the people in my personal network to make links with each other, so that if my profile is whacked, at least my friendsters can enjoy the fun of an expanded network to wander through and explore...

It's been great fun, and I'll stick around, but I have other things in my life to interest me and keep me occupied, so I'll just check in from time to time to see how big the gremlin has gotten. Other projects beckon...

November 29, 2003

Just a l'il more :-) ...

"You are connected to 1,999,214 people in your Personal Network, through 251 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Iqbal (4171575) * 0.93 = 3,879,565
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: 52%

Ooh... getting close... just 786 friendsters to go...

(*starting to feel like Cruella de Vil looking for stray dalmations...*)

"You welcomed me into your bed with open arms..."

"You are connected to 1,998,597 people in your Personal Network, through 251 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Trisha (4169903) * 0.93 = 3,878,010
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: 52%

Much to my surprise, I stumbled across another Friendster tribe on (I don't know how I could have missed it up until now)... and came across this very funny open letter from Steve to Friendster:

October 18, 2003 - 08:39 AM
Open Letter to Friendster
You welcomed me into your bed with open arms. Your soft grey lines, your understated fashion, so chic, so ultra PoMo, so trendy minimalism meets sprockets. And so submissive. I'd click your buttons and you'd show me things I'd never dreamed. You'd invite people into our relationship. You were never jealous. The more the merrier. And those you invited were always beautiful. We had luminous ego sex that would melt your face off.

But then one day you started inviting less savory types into our love nest. Midtown finance managers. Grocery store managers. Accountants. Our harem, once a bastion of self gratification and masturbatory egoism, turned into a den of monotonous drivel. And the more fucktards you invited, the fatter and slower you became. You trollop. No longer responsive to my tender entreaties, you had other suitors to please with your largess. I didn't need that many people in our bed, Friendster. No man needs a network of 500,000 lovers.

And then one day I called you up, and you ignored me. No answering machine, just a 404 error. What the hell does 404 mean, Friendster? Is that some secret code you share with your other fuck buddies?

Well Friendster, I've had it. You hussy, you strumpet, you slow-witted jezebel, goodbye.

November 28, 2003


"You are connected to 1,979,089 people in your Personal Network, through 248 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: kL (4150269) * 0.93 = 3,859,750
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: 51%

One of the things that many friendsters complain about, and that annoys me as well, is the lag in linking to a person's friends, friends-of-friends, etc. when that person is added to your personal network.

For example, I'm linked to Wei Rong in Shanghai (not literally, of course :-) and this morning when I checked, I wasn't linked to her network. Now I am. There seems to be a definite lag developing here, and as the network grows in popularity and size, the lag is getting noticeably worse.

ARGH...just found another one...linked to Eric in Olympia, but not to any of his friends :-(

November 27, 2003

"Yeah, but it's hard not to be"

"You are connected to 1,960,909 people in your Personal Network, through 248 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Matthew (4104211) * 0.93 = 3,816,916
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: 51%

There's a great article in today's New York Times covering Danah Boyd and her research on social networks such as Friendster. Since I know that some of you likely don't have (or want) a userid and password to get into NYT for just one article, I've copied much of it below for you to read...

My favourite part: this little gem:

Would Ms. Boyd date his friends? "Oh, God, no," she said. Even though she's part of the same network?"Yeah, but it's hard not to be," she said.

November 27, 2003
Decoding the New Cues in Online Society

SOCIOLOGIST among geeks and a geek among sociologists, Danah Boyd has 278 friends who link her to 1.1 million others.

So says, whose millions of members have transformed it from a dating site into a free-for-all of connectedness where new social rules are born of necessity. A 25-year-old graduate student at the University of California at Berkeley, Ms. Boyd studies Friendster, hovering above the fray with a Web log called Connected Selves ( and interviewing Friendster users. Her irrepressible observations have made her a social-network guru for the programmers and venture capitalists who swarm around Friendster and its competitors...

...The basic idea behind Friendster and other social networking sites is not new. Neither is the technology, which is based on a business process patent from a 1997 site called that failed because too few people were online at the time. (That patent was recently purchased for $700,000 by two of Friendster's competitors.) Jonathan Abrams, a 33-year-old dot-com survivor, conceived of Friendster as a dating site, but people's social curiosity turned it into a place where everyone becomes the center of an unfolding drama (or comedy) of connections.

Ms. Boyd has found the site populated by a variety of subcultures: a large contingent of gay men from New York City, the Bay Area's Burning Man scene, ravers in Baltimore. Porn queens and venture capitalists share the site with neo-Nazis and garden-variety hipsters. Most users are in their 20's and 30's. Many are overseas, particularly in Asia.

Bringing all those worlds together is not without its perils. "What social software like Friendster does is collapse our networks in ways we're not used to," Ms. Boyd said.

Devon Lake, 25, a high school teacher, discovered that this fall when she was bombarded with requests from former students to accept them into her Friendster circle, which she uses to keep in touch with her friends from Burning Man, the annual primal gathering in the Nevada desert. The potential costs of putting one part of her network in contact with the other part were too high, so she rebuffed her students and cleaned up her profile by removing anything that could be interpreted as a reference to drugs. "I'm a young teacher, so drawing that line is already a careful balancing act," Ms. Lake said. "It made me feel on my guard about what I posted to the site."

Ms. Boyd pointed to another consequence of the new architecture: people have expanded their Friendster networks with imperial gusto. Some create fake friends called Pretendsters. These are fake profiles generated at and automatically posted to According to the Tree-axis site, approximately 8,000 Pretendsters coexist with real people on Friendster.

The Pretendsters also skew the site's user data. Currently 3.9 million accounts are registered at Friendster, though it is impossible to tell how many of those belong to real people. That's why 2,619 of the Pretendsters have been hunted and terminated by Friendster Webmasters.

There have also been Fakesters, evidence of how contemporary Americans crave connectedness. Users composed profiles for their pets (and then connected their pets), their colleges (and then connected to their alma maters) and household odds and ends (and then watched the conversation that developed between "salt" and "pepper"). To Ms. Boyd it was interesting not only because people played with identity, but also because of the range of reasons they did so.

Apparently Friendster management could conceive of only one reason: to subvert the site. So it began terminating the Fakesters. That set off a Fakester revolution, complete with a manifesto: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all fakesters and real people are created equal."

Ms. Boyd's favorite story to emerge from a summer spent interviewing Fakesters was about two young men who invented a woman. Her name was Sarah Tuttle. "We wanted to make a woman to write introductions for us," encouraging other Friendster members to get in touch, said David Gartner, a 32-year-old marketing consultant. "We made her sort of confident, sort of sexy, all these things we wanted in a friend." Mr. Gartner put up a photo of an ex-girlfriend's midriff and made Sarah Tuttle a yoga instructor because, he said, "everybody in San Francisco is a yoga instructor."

Sarah Tuttle (whose profile can be found at never became the author of an introduction, but other men thought she was real, so they began sending her messages. "We ended up seeing the view of what it's like being a woman," Mr. Gartner said. "There was all this weird stuff about Scrabble," one of the interests included in her profile.

Mr. Gartner and his friend responded only once to a man who seemed genuine. To their alarm, the man wrote back, prompting them to remove their creation from Friendster. Shortly afterward, Mr. Gartner met a real woman at a party and has been dating her ever since.

"The fact of the matter is that the space is being used in all those different ways," Ms. Boyd said. "But Friendster is trying to cut off any behavior that is not in line with their marketing perspective and the idea that this is a dating site."

Friendster's founder, Mr. Abrams, contacted by phone for this article, said the demands of running the site were such that he had no time to comment. Ms. Boyd said that Mr. Abrams had rejected her advice. "He didn't want to know anything that would help user experiences unless it has to do with dating," she said. "At another point he told me that it was my type of people who were ruining the system, meaning the Burning Man, freak, San Francisco crowd."

Would Ms. Boyd date his friends? "Oh, God, no," she said.

Even though she's part of the same network?

"Yeah, but it's hard not to be," she said.

This is another mistake that Friendster and other sites make, Ms. Boyd contends. The site is built on the premise that friendship is transitive; that is, that if A is a friend of B, and B a friend of C, then A can be a friend of C, too.

But friendship develops in social contexts, Ms. Boyd says; it doesn't just flow through the pipes of a network. "Just because you're friends with somebody doesn't mean their friends are similar in the type of context you are with your friends," she said. Unless the social networking sites adapt to how people need to use them, she said, the sites will not succeed.

A lively speaker sometimes inclined to pink hair, Ms. Boyd is part of a cohort of young scholars who are trying to come up with ways to describe these new social behaviors in the online environments in which they have grown up. She and her peers "are talking about this from an inside, embedded perspective," said Genevieve Bell, an anthropologist at Intel Research who was a co-director of Ms. Boyd's master's thesis at M.I.T. "One of the challenges for them is, how do they analyze this thing they have grown up inside of?"

Ms. Boyd grew in up in Lancaster, Pa., and was introduced to far-flung virtual communities in the early 1990's by her younger brother. Soon afterward, their mother wisely signed up for two Compuserve accounts. "It gave me an opportunity to talk to people who were far more like me than anybody I knew in real life," Ms. Boyd said.

She said she comes to her research through experiences as a perpetual outsider. "I didn't grow up in an elite community," she said. "I was the daughter of a single mother. I grew up queer in a rural environment. I grew up as a woman in computer science. I grew up constantly negotiating these spaces where they didn't exactly welcome me with open arms."

After studying computer science as an undergraduate at Brown, she turned to the social side of things at M.I.T., studying at the Media Lab and producing a project that visualized people's e-mail networks.

Taking a year off from school, Ms. Boyd found herself in the Bay Area, hanging out with many of the people who were developing Friendster and other social-network sites. She began a blog to document what she saw; her critiques became useful; people began asking her - and hiring her - to do more.

The chief executive of one social-networking site,, Mark Pincus, has sought her advice because she is involved in some of the groups to which his site tries to appeal. "Danah's this researcher, but she also lives the whole thing - the Burning Man scene, the rave scene, the techno music scene," he said.

Her academic supervisors are envious of her advantage. "I look at cyberspace the way a deep-sea diver looks at the sea: through a glass plate," said Ms. Boyd's academic adviser, Peter Lyman, a professor at Berkeley's School of Information Management and Systems. "She is out there swimming in it."

Yet she is not so immersed that she uses Friendster for dating. "I'm not theoretically opposed to it, and if I weren't studying it, I might think about it," she said. "It's a matter of not needing to mess with potential subjects. When I'm on the site, I don't want to be thinking about who's cute. I want to pay attention to the social behavior."

November 26, 2003

Survey: Friendsters online longer; Esther Dyson speaks out.

"You are connected to 1,957,737 people in your Personal Network, through 248 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Nicolas (4096966) * 0.93 = 3,810,178
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: 51%

Quote below taken from Surfers Spend Nearly Two Hours on Friendster, an Hour More Than Top Dating Sites, According to Nielsen//NetRatings (Press Release Newswire, via

According to the most recent Nielsen//NetRatings NetView figures, Friendster, a member community destination, attracted 927,000 visitors from home and work in October 2003. Those logging on to Friendster spent an average of one hour and fifty-one minutes on the site in October... By comparison, the top personals site, Yahoo! Personals attracted 4.9 million surfers from home and work in October 2003. Each surfer spent an average of 35 minutes during the month on Yahoo! Personals. Following closely was Match garnering 3.9 million Internet users who spent more than 55 minutes on the site in October. The third most popular site was AmericanSingles attracting 3.7 million individuals during the same period. Rounding out the top five destinations was MSN Dating & Personals and Netscape Love & Personals, drawing 1.9 million and 1.5 million home and work visitors, respectively. "The member community format is quickly becoming a popular social network on the web," said Lauren Taub, Internet analyst, Nielsen//NetRatings. "Friendster's growth is impressive, but it is too early to tell if its early success is explained by unique functionality or the fact that it is currently a free service. " (emphasis on last sentence is mine)

Well, I guess we're going to find out soon enough if the attraction to Friendster is due to the service being free...

Also, there's a good article by Esther Dyson on the social software phenomenon that's well worth reading: Buying and Selling the Little Black Book. Here's a brief quote:

One side of me loves this stuff. After all, the Internet was meant to connect us all. But I'm also concerned that we're heading to a world of surveillance, not just on the part of governments or even corporations, but widespread peer-to-peer surveillance. And I wonder whether we devalue our relationships by turning them into data points -- much as my friends and I protested against being "folded, spindled or mutilated" back in the '60s.

November 23, 2003

1.9 million....

"You are connected to 1,919,616 people in your Personal Network, through 246 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Skid (4026629) * 0.93 = 3,744,765
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: 51%

"But you can almost hear the collective breath being held - as everyone waits to see what happens once Friendster starts charging. To me - it's almost like waiting for the SuperBowl or a Presidential election. You know it's coming, you know it's gonna be important - but you really don't know what's gonna happen." (Canter, Marc. Where's the Bucks? AlwaysOn, Nov. 21, 2003)

November 22, 2003


"You are connected to 1,875,024 people in your Personal Network, through 239 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Sara (3991157) * 0.93 = 3,711,776
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: 51%

An excellent WIRED article by Daniel Terdiman on recent developments in Friendster (in fact it's so good, I'm going to quote it in full below).

NEW WORD OF THE DAY (from this article): Friendstapo (FRIEND-SHTAH-POH, in a German accent; = Friendster Gestapo) ... I *love* it....

Friendster Quickly Gathering Foes
By Daniel Terdiman 02:00 AM Nov. 21, 2003 PT

Friendster looks to be all the rage. Walk into any supermarket and you're likely to overhear milk stockers talking about it. It recently scored some big new venture capitalist funding. And its membership rolls are blooming.

But behind the fairy tale of an Internet success story is a disturbing trend.

Though it remains at the top of the online social networking heap, there are increasing rumblings that some of Friendster's earliest core users are unhappy with it. And now that they've found alternatives to the service, many are packing up and moving on.

The key issues behind the Friendster abandonment trend, according to users, are the service's inability to do anything about its habitual server lag problems, and its growing reputation for heavy-handed moral policies and unilateral decisions it makes on behalf of its members.

Friendster did not make anyone available for comment for this story.

"It was much fun once I was on (Friendster), friend-requesting everyone and amassing a surprising, to me, amount of testimonials," recalls Allison Lange of her early experiences with Friendster. "I loved logging in each day and seeing all my friends' shiny happy faces beaming up at me."

But Lange's own happy times with Friendster quickly faded.

"First of all, the service was always slow," she said. "Then, the 'Friendstapo' showed up and started killing fakesters" -- fake member personas that became popular on the service -- "auditing what photos people could use and censoring language. It all really disagreed with me on an ideological level, and because it made Friendster less fun."

Lange is not alone. Others talk of problems such as extreme difficulties getting the service to adhere to requests for membership cancellation.

"I tried to delete my profile on Friendster, but couldn't find any way to do that with their interface," says former member Kevin Gilmore. "I e-mailed their support to ask how I deleted my profile. I was told that they didn't do that (and that) if I didn't want to use the service ... I should just not log on. That was not good enough for me. So, I pushed them further. I told them I wanted my profile gone. They were rude. They were indignant. I threatened a lawsuit. My profile disappeared. The whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth."

Clearly, one of the problems Friendster is having is with its service and support teams. Its website lists a phone number to call with questions, but the voice message on that line refers all callers to departmental e-mail addresses.

There are some who feel that the service still suits their needs, especially when it comes to dating. That, of course, may be Friendster's strongest suit and what has so far kept it significantly ahead of competitors like

"I haven't taken down my Friendster profile, nor am I likely to, for one simple reason," says a member who calls herself Mermaid. "Friendster actually does one thing better than Tribester, and yes, I call it that on purpose, and that thing is dating. Friendster is all about the hookup."

Heathen Michael Persephone, another Friendster devotee, agrees, and thinks Friendster does the best job of enabling her sex life.

"I like Friendster because it is more people-oriented," she says. "Tribe is more geared towards selling used blenders and looking for a job. I don't need to be reminded how many jobless people there are, or what awful things people will do for a buck.... What I want is the fantasy that we are all rock stars, that everyone's ass looks great in leather, that everyone is sexy."

Yet, despite the way Friendster succeeded so rapidly at helping people get a solid handle on what their networks of friends were like, it is likely going to have a hard time keeping those people happy unless it does a better job of listening to them and addressing their concerns.

One concern is that Friendster needs to lighten up and give its users what they want.

"Friendster ... lacked a sense of humor," says Lisa Pimental. "Many of us had created profiles for our pets, and we were having fun hooking up our dogs and cats. And Friendster came along and deleted those profiles."

Perhaps Friendster's biggest problem is that its list of competitors is growing, and that some of them, particularly Tribe, get much better performance reviews.

" shows all the polish of a team taking a good long look at Friendster, noting both its limitations and also what people on Friendster were trying to do," says Tribe fan Dennis Hescox. "Friendster seemed to have an opinion about how someone should use their system and blocking any other uses the community tried to use it for."

All of this is, of course, music to Mark Pincus' ears. Pincus, Tribe's CEO, is also an investor in Friendster, but he seems to realize that taking the moral high road on an online social networking tool is not the way to go.

"We don't want to make our network one that works well for one segment and turns off whole other segments," Pincus says. "I can't tell you we're never going to piss off some segment of our users. (But) we're trying to create enough sandboxes and segment enough so that people can express themselves and not be offensive to others."

The bottom line for Friendster may be that it misread the needs of those who have left for other services, like Tribe or Emode.

"The main issue with Friendster is that it treats every member as an individual, rather than tackling the much more complex issue of groups," says Katrina Glerum, who developed a social networking program for University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business. "I think Tribe is better, because it starts with the assumption that people are parts of communities, rather than that people are all lone gunmen."

I did a User Search on the author, Daniel Terdiman, found him, and sent him this message:
Great article! Thank you.


I must confess that I have to agree with everything you said in the article. I only stay on Friendster because I treat it like a game... I would *NEVER* think of hooking up with someone thru friendster (that's what is for... LOL).

As a bona-fide Friendster Whore, I try to collect as many people as possible, kinda like baseball cards. I treat the size of my personal network like a pinball score: how high can I go before I hit a wall (i.e. Jonathan Abrams takes me out, or the network fails, etc.)?? It's kind of like Sandra Bullock driving that bus that can't slow down or it'll blow up... Friendster is growing like mad, still, despite all the people packing up and moving on, and it's exciting to stick around and see what happens when things are changing that quickly and unexpectedly.

--Ryan the Friendster Slut

P.S. if it's OK with you, please add me to your
network: Ryan Schultz,

harsh light of reality: a journal entry

"You are connected to 1,871,428 people in your Personal Network, through 238 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: John Kenneth (3986456) * 0.93 = 3,707,404
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: 50%

I kicked myself BIG time last night for spending an hour and a half sending out the message in my previous post to quite a few people in my Gallery, friendsters of friendsters. In my journal I wrote:

" I spent one and a half hours on Friendster after work, I'm up to over 1.8 million people in my network. I'm wasting my time on this stupid thing, collecting people like trading cards, racking up my network counts like pinball scores. This is actually kind of disturbing: a horror-house hall-of-mirrors version of my own striving too hard to be everybody's friend, to make myself a part of the biggest network possible, so I don't have to feel unloved and alone. How pathetic..."

Oooh (*squints*) harsh light of reality. Eyes hurt. Must... Run... Away....

November 21, 2003

"Do you suffer?"

"You are connected to 1,843,695 people in your Personal Network, through 234 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Adam (3970763) * 0.93 = 3,692,810
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: 50%

I've had a long and tiring day at work. Time for a little fun...

"Do you suffer?"

Do you suffer the shame of F.D.D.* ?

Did you know that clinical studies ** have proven that friendster whores*** can cure even the most stubborn and resistant cases of F.D.D.?

1. Go to User Search.

2. Under "Search all Friendster Users", enter the email address:

3. When the picture of Ryan the Friendster Whore appears (trust me, you can't miss it), click on the link "[Add Ryan as Your Friend]"

That’s it! Three easy steps and you, too, can hold your head high when your friends boast about the sizes of their personal networks!

Remember our slogan: “Broaden your horizons—Link to a Friendster Whore” ™

November 20, 2003

Friendster Spam!

"You are connected to 1,828,863 people in your Personal Network, through 234 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Collette (3939375) * 0.93 = 3,663,619
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: still at 50%

Sneaking a quick peek on my late late lunch-break (working shifted back today)...

Well, this is a first for me: I get a message from Natalie:


I know you like me. ;)


Hey Ryan. I know you've been looking at my booty in my pics. I think its cool and want you to see more. :-) I have a nude personal ad and more pictures at
Dont freak, its free!

Uhhh, Natalie... if you think I've been looking at your booty, then you haven't been looking at my profile, sweetheart :-) SPAM alert! Happens all the time in the chatrooms, now it's happening here.

Danah, Dame Edna, and Buddha...

"You are connected to 1,825,516 people in your Personal Network, through 235 friends.
Highest ID number in the New People display: Aileen (3930571) * 0.93 = 3,655,431
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: 50%

A couple of days ago, Dame Edna finally accepted an invitation to join my rapidly-snowballing personal network (although perhaps, at 1.8 million, I should start calling it an impersonal network...if I spent one minute with every person in my network, it would take three and a half my receptionist to book your appointment LOL!).

Yesterday, I accepted a friendster request from Buddha and today, Danah Boyd of Connected Selves (from whom I gratefully appropriated the term "friendster whore") added me to her network.

At any moment my co-workers, friends and family are going to break down my door and stage an intervention :-) ...but I'm smarter than them because I know I can stop anytime I want!. MWA HA HA

Oh, and Friendsters Anonymous is back up (yay!) and the testimonials are just as hilarious as ever.

November 19, 2003

Where's the Friendsters Anonymous profile?

"You are connected to 1,810,316 people in your Personal Network, through 232 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Cory (3910604) * 0.93 = 3,636,862
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: 50%

God, I don't believe this...they pulled the Friendsters Anonymous profile again.

Thank God most of us who were members started linked to each other, but still...what gives?!?

1.8 million! (*Ryan does the happy Friendster Slut dance*)

"You are connected to 1,804,610 people in your Personal Network, through 233 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Liz (3899736) * 0.93 = 3,626,755
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: 50%

November 18, 2003

Fashion whores, pop-culture whores, so many kinds of whores!

"You are connected to 1,796,917 people in your Personal Network, through 230 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Dallas (3879147) * 0.93 = 3,607,607
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: 50%

I'm *so* close to 1.8 million I can taste it... watch, it'll drop like a stone again just shy of 1.8....

The term "friendster whore" led me to do an interests search of how other Friendsters use the word in their profiles to indicate an addiction or compulsion of some sort. It's a surprisingly small number (only 402 when I checked). Here's a few uses (some of them I think are hilarious):

- eBay whore
- museum whore
- DVD whore
- message board whore (also chat whore)
- label whore (also fashion whore)
- pop-culture whore
- scene whore
- Xanga whore
- travel whore
- thrift shop whore
- vinyl whore (i.e. vinyl records , LPs)
- cultural studies whore
- coffee whore
- Barnes & Noble whore
- media whore
- corporate whore
- “a total shoe whore”

Well, anyway, you get the idea…

Shameless Celebrity Linking

"You are connected to 1,793,254 people in your Personal Network, through 231 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Jenny (3870658) * 0.93 = 3,599,712
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: 50%

Yes, the Friendster Slut is guilty of SCFLS (= Shameless Celebrity Friendster Linking Syndrome), and yes, it's terminal :-)

Let's see, who do I have in my network at the moment: Angelyne, Margaret Cho, Dame Edna Everage, Lady Miss Kier, Bruce LaBruce, Scotty Schwartz, and Judy Tenuta. I did have Michael Moore in my network, but I seem to have lost him (hmmm....government conspiracy?). (if you feel aggrieved because you feel you qualify for celebrity status, send me a line and I'll add you too: :-) ...

November 17, 2003

Bop the Beach Ball....

"You are connected to 1,775,800 people in your Personal Network, through 226 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Joe (3834812) * 0.93 = 3,566,375
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: 50% (remaining remarkably steady...)

Fellow friendster whore Carl and I agreed that we would ask our respective networks (mine is 1.7 million, his is 1.3 million) to link to the other person's profile as well. I've already noticed an increase just one day after his bulletin board message was posted.

Some rather interesting messages have been posted as bulletin board messages on various people's personal networks, much in the same way those inflatable beach balls get bopped back and forth in the crowd at outdoor concerts. First it was the birthday list, now it's the pornstar name game:

To get your porn star name, you need to combine
your very first pet's name (first name) and the
street you grew up on (last name).

Copy this message, add your real and porn star
name, and post it on the bulletin board for some
good, clean, adulterated fun! (Be honest!)

Some of the howlers that people have come up with: Tawtaw Mahogany; Keke Hihlltop; Smut Hsperides (yeah, right--you had a pet named Smut. WHAT-ever); Thumper Sunny Vista; Margarita Manzanita; Fuzzy Queen; Boobooshi du Côteau; Sioux Fox (actually, that's quite a good one :-) ...

So, you may ask, what would *MY* porn name be? Well, hate to disappoint you, but I never had a pet in my life (childhood allergies to feathers and pet hair took care of that one), BUT... my Grandpa had a cat named Blackie, soooo....

Blackie McMeans (ugh...) and so I bop the beach ball to antoher personal network....

November 15, 2003

One-and-three-quarters million... and I just want to be linked :-)

"You are connected to 1,750,098 people in your Personal Network, through 225 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Chee Ying (3778379) * 0.93 = 3,513,893
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: 50%

And did you know, that I am the blogosphere, according to the quiz What Kind of Social Software Are You?...
what kind of social software are you?

November 14, 2003

Friendster Haiku... Social Networking Websites and Software: The Canonical List.

"You are connected to 1,737,529 people in your Personal Network, through 225 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Ellen (3756328) * 0.93 = 3,493,385
Percentage of total friendsterpace covered by personal network: 50%

Lunch break again, checking back in. Still bouncing up and down, but overall an upward trend (God, now I sound like a the way, I did finally sign into LinkedIn just to check it out. Not bad. At least it's not a dating site LOL...). If you're on LinkedIn, look for me: Ryan Schultz,, just like for all the other sites :-)

OK, now, where was I? Oh yes, Friendster Haiku....

Since today I celebrate the breaking of one million
people in my personal friendster network, I give you
three haikus from which you may choose the one best
describing your mental vision of my elation:

one million friendsters?
some of us have real goals, now,
if you'll excuse me...

huh, that's pretty neat
out of a million people
only met, like, five?

hells yeah you mofo's,
done broke a million friendsters:
ownage, babe, OWNAGE!

This poetry is courtesy of my new friendster Sean, who apparently has a whole collection...I'll have to email him to see the rest. OWNAGE, Baby! :-) that's my new word for the day.

Meanwhile, the Slashdot crowd is debating the merits of yet another social software network: Huminity. Lots of good back-and-forth that Slashdot is famous for... One of the gems from that little discussion is this: The Canonical List of Social Networking Websites and Software (all *FORTY* of them...). Hmmm... maybe I should stop collecting friendsters and start collecting social software sites :-)

November 13, 2003

A milestone.... friends fall out over a patent... "We call it the new online crack"

"You are connected to 1,724,130 people in your Personal Network, through 223 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Alex (3724363) * 0.93 = 3,463,658
Percentage of total friendsterspace covered by personal network: 50%

I sneak a peek at Friendster at my lunch break (I just can't help myself *sob*)...

Woo-hoo! 1.7 million friendsters! Given the way my personal network size keeps bouncing up and down, it probably won't last long, though...

A quick check of the online news services (Google News and NewsNow) shows a recent blizzard of Friendster articles...a *LOT* more interest is being shown by the media as Friendsterzilla continues on its rampage :-) ... and a very interesting ZDnet news item by a CNET news reporter, about and LinkedIn ganging together to shut Jonathan Abrams and company out of a key software patent (quote below):

"The Six Degrees patent, a Method and apparatus for constructing a networking database and system, was sold at auction by YouthStream Media Networks on 23 September, along with related intellectual property rights and software.

The patent was originally granted to Six Degrees of Separation, a social networking site that came -- and went -- a few years before the current crop of sites. YouthStream Media Networks acquired the patent when Six Degrees went out of business.

When buying the patent, Hoffman deliberately excluded Abrams from the deal." (emphasis is mine)

As Bette Davis said: "Fasten your seatbelt; it's going to be a bumpy night." Such drama potential, former friends falling out as the cash rains down...I think we should start casting for the made-for-TV movie now....who plays Jonathan Abrams, who plays Marc Pincus, etc.

I, of course, will play myself ;-)

And then there's a really good quote from an article on Friendster addiction on the Contra Costa Times:

"We call it the new online crack," said Carrie White, a 28-year-old Atlanta electronica/house music promoter, who has collected 167 first-link friends that stretch to an absurd 950,000 people once you move out four degrees of separation. "Some friends are so addicted that when they come over, they want to use my computer immediately to check their Friendster account."

And what is so absurd about 950,000 friendsters? :-) I call that a good start... :-D

November 11, 2003

Friendster as Reality TV

"You are connected to 1,678,128 people in your Personal Network, through 223 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Jon (3660990) * 0.93 = 3,404,721
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 49%

I sent a message to Jenna:

Your testimonial on the Friendsters Anonymous profile is absolutely hilarious! Thanks for giving me such a good laugh.

If it's OK with you, please add me to your network.

Name: Ryan Schultz

Ryan the Friendster Slut

P.S. I think you and I should come up for some rules for a Friendster drinking game...

For those of you who couldn't access the link to Friendsters Anonymous, here's Jenna's post:

"The other night my friends and I hooked up the laptop to a widescreen TV and watched friendster together like it was reality television. It soon became a drinking game and we were all loaded by the end of the evening and had written overemotional and inappropriate testimonials to everyone we knew. I'm never going on friendster drunk again."

November 10, 2003

Four degrees, MY ASS!

"You are connected to 1,638,363 people in your Personal Network, through 223 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Lee (3568539) * 0.93 = 3,318,741
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 49%

" I am going to commit friendster suicide...dont try and stop me, this method of communicating is to slow...i have to go. TR"

This is the second friendster suicide I've heard of...the first one changed his mind after massive feedback from his fellow friendsters.

Oh, and what the hell is going on with the linking system in Friendster?!? I link to Wendy in Shanghai, that's one hop. But at least three of Wendy's friends I don't have links to...and they're only two hops away. Four degrees of separation my ass...Jonathan Abrams and company had better fix some of the many technical problems with Friendster before they start charging for it. As it is, droves of friendsters seem to be migrating to, keeping a foot in both camps.

November 09, 2003


"You are connected to 1,655,794 people in your Personal Network, through 222 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Tommy (3603857) * 0.93 = 3,351,587
Percentage of total friendster-space covered by personal network: 49%

From WIRED News: "Social-networking sites proliferate, but none so far dominates. Will Microsoft's mishmash of blogging, networking and messenging technologies win over the uninitiated masses -- or is it vaporware?" Will Microsoft Wallop Friendster? by Kari L. Dean. Apparently Microsoft is working on a Friendster-killer, an instant-messaging/social-network software hybrid called Wallop. I guess they realy are running out of names, eh? :-)

November 08, 2003

"someone who's not holding a digital camera up to a bathroom mirror"

"You are connected toSunday, November 1,640,993 people in your Personal Network, through 219 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Valérie (3576282) * 0.93 = 3,325,942
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 49%

I have been watching my network size bounce up and down: 1.64 million... 1.59 million... 1.53 million... suddenly it's back up to 1.64 million...

I just had to post this, from Brooke's profile in my personal network. It is so true it makes my face hurt from smiling and laughing...

"Who I want to meet: someone who is not a DJ. someone who isn't holding a beer and/or cigarette in their picture. someone without a tattoo. someone who's not holding a digital camera up to a bathroom mirror. someone who likes to go people watching. someone with my same exact CD collection. someone non- existent. someone impossible. someone. anyone. you."

Hmmm... I think there's another Friendster challenge (or maybe a Friendster drinking game) in there, somewhere :-)

Oh, and this blogger has made some profound observations about why Friendster is rad/sucks ...some excellent points are raised. Bravo.

November 05, 2003

Woo-hoo! 1.6 million friendsters!

"You are connected to 1,607,795 people in your Personal Network, through 210 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Billy (3404841) * 0.93 = 3,166,502
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 51%

I've decided to shut down my annex, and move the connected friendsters to my main profile. So far so good...

The Heinz Ketchup of Networks....

"You are connected to 1,596,264 people in your Personal Network, through 208 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Ita (3490733) * 0.93 = 3,246,382
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 49%

Posted today in the Friendster Sucks tribe on

"How I used Friendster tonight"

"Entered username and password.

Went to kitchen.

Microwaved something for dinner (leftover beef stew... yum.)

Emptied the dishwasher.

Came back to the computer to find my homepage with no network.

Clicked to get my messages.

Surfed Tribe.

Clicked on the picture of the person who sent the new message.

Surfed Tribe some more.

Discovered that my connection to him was unavailable.

Clicked back.

Surfed tribe even more. Posted a message.

Clicked reply.

Sent the guy a short note.

Surfed Tribe while I waited for it to send.

Clicked home.

Surfed tribe and wrote this message while I waited for my homepage to load.

It finally has my network. Good for it. "

November 04, 2003

"24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week freak show"

"You are connected to 1,580,670 people in your Personal Network, through 207 friends." (and my figures are going up and down like a yo-yo...up 20,000, down 40,000...I'm getting seasick...)
Highest ID number in the New People display: Axue (3449866) * 0.93 = 3,208,375
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 49%

The Buttafly blog has a very funny article by Jennifer Bishop Fulwiler on Friendster: "About every five minutes you’re on this site you’ll find yourself thinking, “Who the hell is friends with these freaks?” And that, in a nutshell, is the beauty of Friendster. Because the answer is always, “MY friends.” "

October 31, 2003

Friendster spurns offer from Google...

"You are connected to 1,580,985 people in your Personal Network, through 209 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Dum (3352559) * 0.93 = 3,117,880
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 51%

The Mercury News reports (Oct. 31st, 2003):

"Search-engine giant Google recently made a $30 million offer to buy Friendster, the hot Sunnyvale online dating site that lets users meet and date friends of their friends.

Friendster spurned the proposal, choosing instead to accept $13 million in fresh investments from venture capital firms, according to two VC insiders familiar with the events...

...Mountain View-based Google saw an acquisition of Friendster as a way to boost its ability to search for information on people, according to the insiders familiar with the offer.

But the offer was less than the $53 million valuation that Benchmark and Kleiner were willing to set on Friendster during the latest investment round.

Industry insiders say Friendster's valuation is unusually high for a company that has been up and running for less than a year. But investors clearly think the company, with 1.5 million registered users, has great potential. Just two months ago, Friendster was valued at $12.5 million."

October 29, 2003

Friendster Slut Takes Precautions....

"You are connected to 1,557,771 people in your Personal Network, through 206 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Korri (3306066) * 0.93 = 3,074,641
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 51% (yay!)

I'm preparing for the inevitable cap on the size of my personal network by adding an annex: a second profile, which has already got about ten people linked to it, including the original plain old vanilla Ryan. The only problem is that it's going to make it much more difficult to figure out what percentage of friendsterspace I'm actually linked into. Sigh....

My new profile picture is:
One thing that I have also noticed is, not only is my personal network growing faster, it also tends to swing up and down in size by bigger and bigger jumps. You know, I'm starting to wonder where all this will end.... I'm starting to feel like Sandra Bullock behind the wheel of that bus that can't slow down or it's gonna blow up... hmmm... better get prepared...

October 28, 2003

200 people...but I can stop anytime I want!

"You are connected to 1,521,632 people in your Personal Network, through 200 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Alistair (3253268) * 0.93 = 3,025,539
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 50%

October 26, 2003

Million and a Half (woo-hoo!)

"You are connected to 1,500,506 people in your Personal Network, through 194 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Randi (3202254) * 0.93 = 2,978,096
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 50%

The interesting thing I've noticed is this: the larger your network, the more it grows on its own, due to other people in your network adding people of their own.

October 23, 2003

Closing in on a million and a half...

"You are connected to 1,442,169 people in your Personal Network, through 186 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Corey (3089116) * 0.93 = 2,872,878
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 50%

October 21, 2003

Whoops! Friendster Challenge Update.

"You are connected to 1,420,743 people in your Personal Network, through 174 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Corlita (3051066) * 0.93 = 2,837,491
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 50%

Oops. I stand corrected. Further investigation of the friendsters who appear in Antarctica on the following Web sites:

has shown that most (indeed, probably all) of them are pulling our legs (And I fell for it, gullible slut that I am). Oh well...

So, instead of seven continents, we're down to six. First person to find one person each, at one degree of separation in their personal networks, from North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia wins.


P.S. If you actually *DO* find a friendster who is currently residing in Antarctica (and it says that on his profile), I'd love to know about it.

FRIENDSTER CHALLENGE #1: Well, this ought to liven things up a bit...

"You are connected to 1,413,436 people in your Personal Network, through 169 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Sabrina (3041241) * 0.93 = 2,828,354
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 50%

This announcement was posted on the Rad Librarians and Friendsters Anonymous profiles, and my bulletin board on Friendster; as well as the Progressive Librarians. Friendster Whores,
and Friendster Sucks tribes on (plus the following global Listing):

"Date October 21, 2003 06:12 AM
Title: Looking for Gamesters: Friendster Challenge #1.
Message: Hey, there's 2.7 million people on Friendster; let's have some fun :-) ...

I issue a challenge to those members of who still have friendster accounts ...and to all my fellow Friendster whores:

The winner of this challenge gets a glowing, over-the-top testimonial from yours truly (what, you were expecting a washer-drier combo?). The challenge: to have seven people in your personal network (that is, one degree of separation from you) where one is from EACH of the seven continents:

1. North America 2. South America 3. Europe 4. Africa 5. Asia 6. Australia 7. Antarctica (YES, Antarctica!)

--Ryan the Friendster Slut :-)

P.S. All entries will be judged by Sister Ryan of the Home for Wayward Friendster Whores (below):

Oh great. Now there's *degrees* of slutdom... kinda like Dante's Inferno...

"You are connected to 1,410,119 people in your Personal Network, through 166 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Valerie (3034721) * 0.93 = 2,822,291
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 50%
I receive a reply from Rich in response to my request to be added:
"haha hate to inform you, but we coined the term "friendster whore/slut" in like feb. We usually have whore denote someone that will have as many friends as possible: fakes, non-friends, strangers etc. I myself am more of a friendster slut, as I am picky about who I will accept. I also happen to run #friendster on efnet. We also have a webportal to get there in case you dont have a client i'm usually on as wormwood." (Friendster Slut being the intrepid amateur reporter that he is) he signs on...and discovers 120 people discussing the topic: "I smoke a little weed". Sounds like every other IRC chat room I've been in :-) ...

Also, I find myself in total agreement with this post by Danah Boyd in her blog Connected Selves:

"...Friendster draws people in because of their curiousity, but that it cannot sustain participation that way. Because the majority of users are not looking for a date, dating cannot be the long term model for Friendster."

Frankly, after the initial thrill of getting a million friendsters (which is not hard to do), and the second thrill of hitting the 50% network penetration mark (I'm sure the #friendster chatroom would find that particular phrasing quite funny), there's not to much to get excited about. Danah is bang on; there needs to be something more than just dating possibilities to keep people, or they won't stick around.

October 20, 2003

Well, I do owe Jonathan Abrams an apology...

"You are connected to 1,401,184 people in your Personal Network, through 162 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Brendan (3014335) * 0.93 = 2,803,332
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 50%

...turns out that he wasn't behind the site being taken down after all; it was Penn State University that did it. An article published today in The Athens News by Quinn Bowman. A quote from the article:

"Their Web site,, has received mentions in the New York Post and Vanity Fair magazine in stories about a new online community called "Friendster." received around 100 unique hits a day, Royer said. The Web site, which is now defunct due to action taken by Penn State judiciaries, poked fun at "digital pimps," males who use the Friendster service to flirt with women...

Royer and Sweeney came up with the idea while working at a computer camp over summer break. The friends of two years took on online personas consisting of overly forward and self-confident males while chatting with female Friendster users, then posted the conversations on their Web site. "Guest pimps" were sometimes utilized to bring extra flavor to the Web site. They also sold merchandise on the site, including trucker hats and thong underwear bearing the site founders' faces.

This is what got Sweeney into trouble and ultimately shut down

The site was hosted on Sweeney's Penn State-provided Web space. The university shut down the site after it learned merchandize was being sold, a violation of university policy. "

Therefore, I was wrong in jumping to the conclusion that Friendster had shut down the site. And my earlier drama-queen blog entries on this subject were totally off-base. Sorry, Jonathan.

Omigod I *did* it! Fifty percent of friendsterspace!

"You are connected to 1,394,679 people in your Personal Network, through 156 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Jeneen (3005735) *0.93 = 2,795,334
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 50%

Wow, I certainly never thought that I would have been able to pull this one off...according to my (admittedly rough) calculations, I have access to half of all the active profiles on Friendster. Woo-hoo!

October 19, 2003

Friendsters Anonymous is back on Friendster!

"You are connected to 1,366,144 people in your Personal Network, through 141 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Kalie (2976116) * 0.93 = 2,767,788
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 49% (Yippee!)

Two things:

First, a surprising development:

Date: October 19, 2003 1:54 PM
Subject: To Friendsters Anonymous Members

You may have noticed that we disappeared from your friends list for 5 days. This account was suspended due to a breach of Friendsters terms of service. This profile is run by a real person, for real people, and although it may be humorous, I don't think it REALLY violated the TOS. Apparently Friendster Officials didn't think so either because they reinstated us. In the 5 days of downtime, 20 of my friends were killed, so I now have room for more friends! Please recommend FA to anyone you'd think could benefit. Yeah, right, like anyone benefits from this. Ha.I hope in the interim you have reached out and touched your real life friends, and maybe got some sleep and nutritious food in you, too. With a Firm Handshake,

Second, I did a much more scientific sample of the range of friendster ID's (101 to 2,969,769), checking 198 ID's at regularly spaced intervals. Of those 198, 13 were dead links (i.e. "invalid userid" or "account unavailable"). That makes for a more accurate ded links figure of 7% rather than 5%, so I will use that from now on.

Worthless Seed....

"You are connected to 1,332,020 people in your Personal Network, through 128 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Ada (2964098) * 0.95 = 2,815893
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 47%

This gem comes from the online profile of a woman named Molly in Losa Angeles:

Who I Want to Meet: "I checked the box marked "single," and technically am, but I'm hoping to avoid the sleaze and cheese of misguided guys with little to offer the world than spreading their worthless seed all over the internet (you know who you are). Please don't write me if you are just trying to expand your online bikini harem. I am auditioning husbands, not looking for some vacuous entertainment."

:-) love it....I may steal that line someday...

Also, after an email from Erik on, I decided to redo my sampling of Friendster to determine if my 5% dead-link figure is in fact correct. My mistake was to sample only from the low end of the ID numbers, when in fact I should be sampling from throughout the whole (almost 3 million) ID numbers. More on that later....

All Over the World...

"You are connected to 1,330,207 people in your Personal Network, through 128 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Phylis (2960137) * 0.95 = 2,812,130
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 47%

I went to bed early last night and woke up at 2:00 a.m., so I decided to go back online and send out a few more requests to be added: to Japan, Spain, Norway, and the Netherlands (heard back from one person in Spain almost immediately, where it's daytime).

October 18, 2003

Viral Marketing for Social Software...

"You are connected to 1,307,119 people in your Personal Network, through 118 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Steve (2944535) * 0.95 = 2,797,308
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 47%

From Ample:

"What's the excitement around the social-networking trend and Friendster? Not since Google, which had no marketing but exploded to become a household term, has there been an exciting new Internet consumer company to storm onto the scene, even if some people may say, 'What's so new about an online dating site?' But it's not what it is that's piquing the interests of entrepreneurs and those with deep pockets, but it's how it's gained critical mass. Building an audience through word of mouth, or viral marketing, is cost effective way in these strapped times. Who has the cash to spend hundreds of dollars on big, splashy TV ads or costly distribution deals with Yahoo or AOL Time Warner ?"

I spent the afternoon sending messages to most of the membrs of the Rad Librarians profile; I'm afriad that if/when the profile is whacked, we'll lose these connections. Several of them have already responded; librarians are such good networkers...


You know, I just realized something: my estimate of the total size of (i.e. number of people in) friendsterspace is too high. What about all the empty spaces where people (fakesters and realsters) have been deleted?

So I decided to conduct a highly unscientific study, checking 40 profiles, from friendster ID=200 to ID=4100, going up by hundreds,. Of the 40 profiles checked, only 2 came back with an invalid ID error., which gives a guesstimate that 5% of the total number of IDs no longer exist. This means I need to subtract 5% from the total size of friendsterspace before I calculate my percent coverage.

O.K. let's try this...

"You are connected to 1,295,401 people in your Personal Network, through 109 friends. "
Highest ID number in the New People display: Sunshine (2939435) * 0.95 = 2,792,463
Estimated percentage of total accessible friendspace covered by personal network: 46%

That's better :-) ...

Friendster United Nations...

"You are connected to 1,294,751 people in your Personal Network, through 109 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Jeff (2938105)
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 44%

Well, my work yesterday to try and get some overseas representation in my network seems to be paying off: I now have links to people from Japan (Tets), the Philippines (Manna), Australia (Tatjana), Belgium (Kris), in addition to previous links to Iceland (Petur), England (Dickon), Singapore (Roy) and the Netherlands (Wileo/Wilzen). Not a bad start :-) ...

October 17, 2003

Friendsters Anonymous is back!

"You are connected to 1,275,470 people in your Personal Network, through 106 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Amanda (2922911)
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 44%

I'm happy to report that Friendsters Anonymous is back up again. They're on Yahoo! Groups under (of course) Friendsters Anonymous.

Why friends should not let friends use Friendster...

"You are connected to 1,256,493 people in your Personal Network, through 104 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Bill (2916264)
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 43%

From The Daily Bruin Online, a hilarious article by David Chang. Here's just an excerpt:

"When we confronted our Friendster-addled friend at her apartment, I asked her how many people are in her "My Friends" list. Our collective knees buckled when we learned the number was 476. Sure, I've heard tales about mythical Friendster users with a thousand "friends" in their respective collections, but the thought of it being someone so close and dear to me, especially a friend of a friend of a friend, made my heart sink.

Tempers flared and eyeballs glared once the word "intervention" came out of my mouth. You could cut the tension in that room with a high-powered chain saw. She became defensive, refusing to acknowledge her dangerous and unhealthy obsession.

Turns out the weapons of mass destruction are not in Iraq or at the Mirage in Las Vegas. They are strategically placed on Friendster to destroy your free time, your meal time, your study time, and perhaps most frighteningly, your hygiene time. When you're on Friendster, time doesn't fly; it gets shot down, blown to 476 flaming pieces upon take-off.

According to her roommate, a day in the life of our Friendster addict starts with a morning dosage of home page browsing. Once she signs in, the browser remains active and the Friendster site stays on the screen for the duration of the day. The poor soul periodically checks the site in between classes. She even ditches a lecture just so she can finish reading the latest batch of testimonials she receives from her friends."

Expanding Overseas...

"You are connected to 1,246,120 people in your Personal Network, through 101 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Catherine (2902327)
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 43%

Looking at my list, I realize that 97% of them are from North America...I'd better get to work to add a few more overseas people. I wish I could link to a few Australians...

October 16, 2003

One hundred! Friendster in a Nutshell...

"You are connected to 1,235,471 people in your Personal Network, through 100 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Aisha (2877446)
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 43%

Well, I now have one hundred people in my network. In order of friendster ID number, and with direct quotes from their profiles, they are:

1. Noreen, from San Francisco, California: "I am a magnet for the bizarre."

2. Avery, from Washington, D.C.: "We are but the sum of our moments; each moment adding to our continuous definition."

3. Keyatta, from San Francisco: "I think I'm what is known as a people person, very extroverted... " (and he has a network of 206 friends to prove it!!)

4. Cass from Atlanta, Georgia: "if you like music and alcohol in abundance then you're alright in my book. "

5. Marc, from San Francisco: "I started a company called MacroMind - which became Macromedia."

6. Scott, from Matawan, New Jersey: "I'm an aspiring social conduit who doesn't really care for a lot of the trivialities of socializing."

7. Klarfax, from Cambridge, Massachusetts: "Grew up in Houston, moved to the Silicon Valley just in time to catch the dotcom bust before graduating from Stanford, moved to Japan for a while to do some engineering work, currently a first year law student at Harvard."

8. Jondus, from Middle Island, New York: "Don't ask me 'bout my ex-girl / ask about my next girl / Manolo pumps and Sean John sweats girl..."

9. Logan, from Santa Rosa, California: "I'm going to be famous and I'm going to hate being famous."

10. Tanner, from Winnipeg, Manitoba, who says she doesn't like to "pool hop, eat pizza, go anywhere (especially when i'm somewhere cool), do anything but watch tv, get up before 3 pm, see daylight, get less than 12 hours of sleep..."

11. GoPunkYerSelf, a single mom from Dayton, Ohio: "I live for my son, he's 3 and could probably kick yer ass."

12. Scheele, from Petaluma, California: "Everything our parents said was good is bad. Sun, milk, red meat... college."

13. Anti-Robot (Alyse), from Reno, Nevada, who "refuses to list favorite bands for the sole purpose of trying to impress. NO, I will NOT post pictures of me in my underwear because I can get friends other ways."

14. Kryssie, from Neptune, New Jersey, who "loves cars, and video games, and any movie where at least 4 people get brutally killed."

15. Jeremy, from Clifton Heights, Pennsylvania: "Things I Love: The Art Museum, The Franklin Institute, Kelly Drive, Manayunk, Center City / Philadelphia, Photography, Graphic Arts, Choppers and Harleys, The Jersey Shore, New York City, Tattoos, Girls with tattoos, Music."

16. Rebecca, from Fairfax, Virginia: "I sell gas masks!"

17. Wilzen, from Amsterdam, the Netherlands: "Love to meet all kinds of different Friendsters to learn more from the world we live."

18. Kitty from New York: "I am in regular contact with the mothership."

19. Fawne from Thomaston, Georgia: "I'm feeling old at twenty-one. I have brown eyes, black hair, one tattoo on the inside of my left wrist, and the most beautiful daughter I've ever seen."

20. Kate from Trenton, New Jersey: "Well, i'm always looking for new people to hang out with."

21. Melanie, from Moncton, New Brunswick: "I'm the girl your mother warned you about."

22. Michael, a Web animator from Verona, New Jersey: "28 in the wilds of NJ, self employed nerd-for-hire, sassy and single."

23. Brooke from Clearfield, Utah: "I have 5 piercings which include my bellybutton, nipple,tongue,lip,nose and of course my ears (2gage)."

24. Elizabeth from Provo, Utah: "If i could be a fruit i would be a pineapple because they are incredibly unsexy."

25. Peter from Oakland, California, who says he is an "Internet start-up".

26. Jacob from Brooklyn, New York: "Enjoy meeting new people (especially non-vegetarian, non- sober women and men), challenging myself (improv and trapeze are my latest crazes) and having fun (which I define as never saying "no")."

27. Josh from Brooklyn, New York, who says he is an "Interplanetary Spy".

28. Candice from Jamaica, New York: "I've got a sharp tongue and cool hats and I love city exploring."

29. Chris from Hillburn, New York: "I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru."

30. Hayley from Anaheim, California, whom I lured over here from the Enneagram Institute online forum: "I now work at Subway, which is more pressure than needed for 6.75/hr."

31. Steve from Davison, Michigan: "I have a crazy drive to succeed in what I do."

32. Shirene from Long Beach, California: "Lately, I feel as though I have a charmed life."

33. Eddie from Fort Lauderdale, Florida: "I go out for breakfast every Sunday and order the exact same thing: broccoli & cheddar omelette, side of sliced tomatos, short-stack of french toast, and instead of toast with the omelette can i have an extra piece of french toast thrown on the short-stack to make it a full order please? thank you very much."

34. Rayasa, from Coppell, Texas: "I'm Cambodian-American...This "about me" stuff is retarded cause everybody will have a different interpretation of you."

35. The planet Uranus: "I'm just a gigantic ball of gas and metals waiting to have a good time." :-)

36. Lisa from Anchorage, Alaska: "I like pirates, beer and chocolate."

37. Dickon, from London, England: "I enjoy drinking sake, reading Saki and being sarky."

38. Joshua from Crawfordsville, Indiana: "I guess mostly I am a huge computer geek. I work in information technology, and it encompasses a large part of my life."

39. The Syndicate, a bar in Weehawken, New Jersey

40. Bill W., of East Dorset, Vermont, who wants to meet "oher friends of Bill W, Dr. Bob, and Lois W."

41. John Shimmer, a musician from New York: "Don't watch tv. Oh, well, Jackass., I love, Jackass."

42. Sherri, from Lawrenceville, Georgia, who wants to meet "every friendster named SHERRI, because we're taking over."

43. KROM, Norwegian god who gave man the secret of steel: "If you are looking for a god who rarely listens or answers, but is always there when things are going wrong... KROM is your god!" :-)

44. Ester Goldberg from Washington D.C.: "One Word...DIVA!"

45. Jay from New York: "I like breathing air and drinking water."

46. The Weblog Gothamist, who wants to meet "people who like tri-colored cookies and strong drinks."

47. Jim from Corte Madera, California: "I am a hopeless romantic who is in love with the idea of love!"

48. Petur from Reykjavi­k, Iceland: "I met my wife on the internet."

49. Three Degrees, a bar in Chicago.

50. Ramon, a Californian in Japan: "I'm in Aichi. I am also in need of a better pic for my profile."

51. Renee from San Francisco: "I want to take suffering and accept it first and transform it second...I envy people who can simply enjoy life and don't analyze as much as i do."

52. Rad Librarians: "Making the world safe for democracy."

53. Tina, a travel agent in Largo, Florida: "I am recently single and learning to have fun again."

54. Osnat, a graphologist and counselor from Tel Aviv, Israel, whom I also lured here from the Enneagram Institute discussion forum...

55. The state of Illinois :-)

56. The online magazine Salon ;-)

57. Gina from Pacifica, California: "I'm obsessed with serial killers and books written about them, pop culture trivia, dive bars, 420, stand-up comedy, 49ers (I can get you in for free at the home games if I really really really like you), SF Giants, Golden State Warriors, quoting movies nonstop, writing fucked-up poetry about ex lovers, Jamie Kennedy X-Periment Show, writing testimonials on Friendster, and last but certainly not least, Scotty Schwartz."

58. Liz from Tampa, Florida: "I'M BETTER THAN YOU. (i'm not eighteen yet.) FUCKING ADD ME YOU SLAMHOLES!"

59. The Brendster, from Winnipeg, Manitoba: "The computer at my high school chose tattoo artist and boat maker as possible carreer options for me."

60. Judy, accordian-playing comedian from Beverly Hills, California: "Grovel at the feet of the most powerful and famous woman in the entire world."

(*pee break...ok i'm back*)

61. CrueLiNtentiOns from East Rutherford, New Jersey: "I like stuff that is pink, things that smell like strawberry or cherry, and the Disney Channel. I used to have this really cool pink cellphone but then it died : ("

62. Chris from Las Vegas: "I hate doing profiles of myself."

63. Storm from Lakewood, New Jersey (a man of very few words...)

64. Morgan from Monroe, New York: "i love pee wee herman, and i dance a mean pee wee dance. ask me..i may show you ;) "

65. Alison from Wichita, Kansas: "i think i will just put some lyrics here..."

66. Daria from Minneapolis, Minnesota: "i love my mac, my kitten, and my time alone. and when it's time for world cup, i become oblivious to the world around me, and live on football, err soccer, scores alone."

67. Kristen from Fair Lawn, New Jersey: "my dream is to work for the onion and own my own record label."

68. Hollywood :-)

69. Wileo, from Geldeerland, the Netherlands, who sounds suspiciously like #17...

70. Angelyne, who lost her run for governor of California :-( ...

71. NPR (National Public Radio)...

72. Megan from Bonita, California: " all about just chilling and havin fun."

73. Roy from Singapore: "I seriously dunnoe wat to say ... just really shocked to see a huge amount of familiar faces here."

74. Jen from Woodland, Pennsylvania: "I'm a good kid."

75. Mogul, from Brooklyn: "I want things to change. The president sucks and has to go!!!"

76. Savrosita, from San Francisco: "big laugher....goofball....wacky the smell of paper, leather and markers"

77. Ben and Jerry's ice cream (I can't help it!!!)

78. Jayvi, a D.J. from San Francisco: "I think Dr Evil put it best when he said, "The details of my life are quite inconsequential... "

79. The VaGiants, a band from Winnipeg, Manitoba, maintained by Brendster (#59) ...

80. Sean from Phoenix, Arizona: "I'm the sock rockingest Professional Sexy Dragon out there."

81. Luke, from Brockport, New York: "I monitor and observe primate behavior."

82. Tess from Compton, California: "I am 5' 7" tall, 110 pounds, and i work as a flight attendant for a major airline on the hong kong-usa flight segment."

83. Lady Miss Kier ("The groove is inthe heart...")

84. Envy from Fremont, California: "Message me if theres anything you'd like to know."

85. Boys Night Out, a band from Burlington, Ontario...

86. McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario...

87. Gary from Crawfordsville, Indiana: "I'm kinda a quirky guy from Indiana (Originally from Kentucky) who's currently working in a cheese factory and attempting to start a band."

88. Grassroots, a tavern in New York...

89. "The Dude", from Ballwin, Montana: "I am researching online communities."

90. Steve, from Birmingham, Michigan, whose favourite music is classical and jazz...

91. John, my meatspace friend from Winnipeg, Manitoba: "John Rymon is a very sweet guy. He is a very talented dancer, and he was a finalist for the (Canadian) Bravo reality TV series StripSearch!"

92. The reality TV series Paradise Hotel...

93. Janet, a writer from Nemacolin, Pennsylvania...

94. Hong Kong :-) ...

95. Rick, another meatspace friend from Winnipeg, a banker whom I originally met on

96. Carl, another meatspace friend from Winnipeg, a great cuddler and an even better cook...

97. Brad, another meatspace friend from Winnipeg; he represented Canada at the international Toastmasters public speaking championship last year...

98. Chad from Seattle, Washington: "I'm am the strangest person in the world."

99. Jeff, another meatspace friend from Winnipeg, who works for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation...

and 100... John, my best friend and also an ex-boyfriend (also a Winnipegger).

Well, there ya go...friendster in a nutshell. Well, go ahead, mingle :-)

"Friendster whore"-free zone?

"You are connected to 1,232,462 people in your Personal Network, through 99 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Brent (2866283)
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 43%

I notice with great amusement, that when I use the term "friendster whores" in a bulletin board post, it is blocked by the Friendster software. "friendster sluts" still works, though.

I think it's amazing that the software will search for and trap all kinds of forbidden expressions (e.g. without telling you what they are, what "rules" you've broken. It's up to you to keep typing in variations and thereby "guess" what part of what you typed is verboten... I cannot believe that they are feeling so insecure about losing market share to their competitors that they would block references to them in bulletin board posts.

MySpace Addicts Unite!

"You are connected to 1,219,180 people in your Personal Network, through 96 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Joy (2857393)
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 43%

Well, response to the MySpace Addicts Anonymous group has been strong, right off the bat; when I signed in this morning, there were 7 requests to be added. Looks like I'll have to start up another blog: I kind of like the name "MySpace Addict" :-) hmmm... wonder if there is a Bloggers Anonymous...

October 15, 2003

25 people a minute....

"You are connected to 1,210,306 people in your Personal Network, through 94 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Ryan (2847699)
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 43%

wow, friendster gained about 36,000 people in 24 hours...that's 1,500 people per hour, or 25 per minute!

that's just insane.

Friendster - Home

Friendster - Home: "You are connected to 1,201,312 people in your Personal Network, through 90 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Brian (2839592)
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 42%

In preparation for the oncoming hordes descending on and, I am setting up two groups: Tribe Addicts Anonymous ( and MySpace Addicts Anonymous. What the hell...they're coming anyway, may as well make'em feel welcomed :-) hee hee hee...

Friendster - Bulletin Board

"You are connected to 1,195,223 people in your Personal Network, through 88 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Jared (2833019)
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 42%

A message from a felow friendster: "In the past week, I have seen more and more bulletins about frustrated people leaving this
place behind for other sites. Please note:

(1) Although I don't agree with the mass killings of many of our fakester friends by fascist friendster authorities with no sense of
decency or humor, I will NOT be leaving this place. The reason is because I respect my friends and connections I've made here... and
partly because I give Abrams props for being the first to build this kind of thing.

(2) My reluctant loyalty has not stopped me from exploring many of the other places as well. As any hip, single girl will tell you, you've gotta keep your options open. If you are considering moving on or have already done so, please feel free to look me up and add me to your lists on any of the other big three meeting places:

Friendster migration...

Friendster - Home: "You are connected to 1,189,348 people in your Personal Network, through 87 friends. "
Highest ID number in the New People display: Brian (2829140)
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 42%

I have noticed that an increasing number of friendsters (both fakesters and realsters) are pulling up stakes and moving to other services. The fakesters are moving to avoid getting whacked, or after getting whacked); the realsters are moving because their favourite friendsters are getting whacked or *they* are getting whacked (e.g. for putting a URL pointing to into their profile). Some people are leaving friendster because it is just too slow and buggy and they have finally lost patience.

The two main recipients of these disgruntled friendsters seem to be and, at least as far as i can tell.

October 14, 2003

Friendsters Anonymous is no more...

"You are connected to 1,179,351 people in your Personal Network, through 85 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Maiko (2811687)
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 42%

I had seen my total number of friends drop by one but I couldn't figure out who was gone. And then, finally, I figured it out, and why there was a slight dip in my network size: the Friendsters Anonymouos profile has been whacked by Jon Abrams and Company.

DAMN! I really liked that one, and there were a lot of funny testimonials. Thank God that I linked to as many people as possible who were linked to that profile...basically everybody who posted a testimonial.

Feeling disillusioned...

You know, I am becoming seriously disillusioned with Friendster. At least on there are opportunities for serious discussions amidst the fun and silliness....but Friendster just feels like one long intolerable cocktail party where everybody is making small talk. I can make small talk with the best of them, but even so, after several hours of small talk you just feel like you HAVE TO GET OUT before your head explodes. Anyways, that's how I'm feeling about this tonight.

I'm really starting to wonder why I thought that this was so cool in the first place.

Voices from Friendsterspace...

"You are connected to 1,179,033 people in your Personal Network, through 85 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Sean (2810821)
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 42%

A selection of anonymous random comments found while idly cruising through Friendster on a Tuesday night (when I should know better....):

Who I want to meet: "i'm getting really annoyed with a lot of people. they say you are their friends but yet they do not act like it. they expect you to be there if there is a problem but if you need them... they are either busy or know where to be found. lately i have truly found out whom my real friends are. i try try try so hard with these people... i guess they are showing their true colors and i am finally realizing that they are no longer worth my time."

About me: "Classy with a capital K....5 ft of fury with an enormous rack. I carry a switchblade in my cleavage, I cry in fear in "fun" houses, enjoy frolicking in the flilthy ocean water off the toxic Jersey shore, and I make/wear hats made of maps when inebriated."

About me (profile picture of naked man in {simulated...God I hope simulated} act of love with a large stuffed sheep): "i work at the hospital where they inject hot monkey cum directly into my brain, an organic foodstore for some reason, and at the rennasaince festival because i get paid to yell crazy shit at people. i am: geeky, leftist, feminist, sarcastic, anti- sexist/classist/racist/heterosexist/sizist/ageist/etcist. except when it comes to gypsies. it is imperative that we kill as many gypsies as possible right now."

OK I think I've had enough for one evening. Waiter! Cheque please!

42%; Tale of Another Friendster Addict

"You are connected to 1,176,695 people in your Personal Network, through 86 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Seah (2796871)
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 42%

I find it interesting that my personal network growth is parallel to the growth of the friendster network as a whole, and therefore my accessible part of the network remains steady at 42%.

Todd Inoue writes in his article 'Six Degrees of Procrastination':

"MIKE PARK doesn't need any more friends. As founder of Asian Man Records, a solo musician and community activist, he has trouble keeping in touch with the ones he's already got. Recently, however, Mike's social circle has exploded. In September 2003, he typed into his web browser, and online life for him hasn't been the same since...

...The day after signing on, Park embarked on an eight-hour Friendster jag, typing in the names of friends randomly, surfing profiles and sending and approving Friendster requests. In two weeks, his list of Friendster friends ballooned to 150.

"I'm addicted," Park admits. "Whoever came up with this is a genius." "

This is an excellent overview article, and I recommend it highly.

"Friendstering someone you've just met"

Friendster - Home: "You are connected to 1,163,223 people in your Personal Network, through 83 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Wataru (2787624)
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 42%

Erik Benson writes in his Weblog (July 25, 2003):

"You know what's even more creepy that Googling someone you just met? Friendstering someone you just met. Especially when you can see how they're only 2 or 3 degrees removed from you, and what their friends think of them."

October 13, 2003

Positive Sinking: Gotta Catch 'em All

"You are connected to 1,156,506 people in your Personal Network, through 82 friends."
Highest ID number in the New People display: Monica (2774165)
Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 42%

Akshay Patil: Gotta Catch 'em All...great quote:

"The more “friends” you have, the better person you are (naturally) with extra weight given to “testimonials” people write about you. That’s how you discover that EVERY SINGLE PERSON in the world is cool, fun to date, awesome in general, a great friend, a total catch for anyone interested. Maybe you gain slightly individualized information like, “He’ll drink you under the table,” or “She’s a party animal,” but other than that, you might as well just spin the wheel of compliments and randomly slap a few on (“He likes cheese!” “She smells nice!” “Disease free since 1993!”).

And where does the hot-or-not come into all of this? Well, what kind of online community would it be if it didn’t have photos of everyone? So now you can sit at your computer and ogle at all the hot friends your friend’s friend has.

Sweet. You still don’t know who they are, but maybe now you know their name and that you are indeed four degrees from Kevin Bacon (all 30 of them)."

"Be My Friendster Whore"

Friendster - Home: "You are connected to 1,143,485 people in your Personal Network, through 79 friends. "Highest ID number in the New People display: Meagan (2764518)Percentage of total friendspace covered by personal network: 41%

Woke up this morning, after wandering around friendster-space until 1 a.m., and I had this funny thought: why not a line of greeting cards. I mean, somebody is already out there selling T-shirts with pictures from friendster profiles, why not greeting cards?

I see a Valentine's Day-like card wit hearts and angels, which says: "Be My Friendster Whore" LOL

October 12, 2003

Bad Pun Time...

Friendster - Home: "You are connected to 1,136,432 people in your Personal Network, through 79 friends."

You know, I think this makes me an official friendsturbator (*groan*)...

1,136,432 Friendsters

Friendster - Home: "You are connected to 1,136,432 people in your Personal Network, through 79 friends."

"It's not who you knhow, it's how many"

Excellent article by Sean Nelson: 'Overconnected: On Friendster, It's Not Who You Know, It's How Many' (, Vol. 12 No. 44, July 2003:

" my absence, I'd become connected to 15,214 people through my one friend (thanks, Merl!). It began to make sense. Browsing around the site, it became clear that the "friend" part of the Friendster equation was less a matter of socializing than of commodity trading. It's not about who you know, it's about how many."

Globe and Mail article on Friendster

I must have missed this when it came out in August, but I found it online: 'Friendster: hot dates for the dating-averse' by Simona Rabinovitch, Globe and Mail, Saturday, August 9, 2003 - Page L1 this point, it just grows on its own...

Friendster - Home: "You are connected to 1,126,248 people in your Personal Network, through 76 friends."


Pretendster: "Suffer the embarrassment of a meager friend pool no longer. Finally receive the testimonials you desperately crave and so obviously deserve." This is hilarious.

Thanks to my Minneapolis correspondent....

Message from an Aspiring Friendster Slut :-)

A message comes in this afternoon from Minneapolis:

"hey - i'm in competition with my friend XXXX to see who can hit 1,000,000 mark first - and i think you would put me really close to that mark [i'm at 789,003] so please add me :)"

Sure...always happy to help the aspiring friendster sluts reach their goals :-)

Macleans article: 'Internet Sex Unzipped'

In my doctor's waiting room, I came across an article on the new Internet dating services, in Macleans (the Canadian equivalent of Time or Newsweek): Internet Sex Unzipped, by Jonathan Durbin (Macleans, October 6, 2003).

"But if is any indication, Lavalife may have reached its zenith. Friendster -- which in name and iconography recalls music industry demon Napster -- is the brainchild of 33-year-old Canadian Jonathan Abrams. Located in Sunnyvale, Calif. (Abrams moved to Silicon Valley in 1996 to work for Netscape), the new kid on the dating block founded Friendster last August because "anonymity sucks. On the Internet, no one knows who you are -- you could be a psycho or a dog for all I know. Friendster is more like a cocktail party than a singles bar because your friends are there, and meeting people is based on referral."

Although the site hasn't officially launched yet, its growth is viral. Increasing in size by about 20 per cent per week, it now hosts over two million profiles, up from 280,000 in March, with no advertising campaigns -- just word of mouth. The company didn't even have an office until July. Currently Friendster doesn't cost, but it will begin charging in the next few months and plans on competing with dating juggernaut Match.

Basing the service on the six-degrees-of-separation model, Friendster asks an individual to post his or her profile. Then that person invites their friends to join. Then the friends invite their friends, and their friends invite their friends, and so on. If you're looking for computer companionship, it works. According to the site, I have accrued 514,410 acquaintances since logging on in July.

Dating is one of the site's applications, abetted by the testimonials users write for their friends -- the idea is to present references from people who know you, up front, so there aren't any surprises later. But critics say Friendster is less than perfectly designed and that using the site is like collecting baseball cards of your friends. For some, the idea is to amass as many cool friends as possible. Others have gone further by selling membership to their networks on eBay, effectively transforming their friends into commodities. There's a thin line between metaphorically selling yourself on sites like Lavalife and actually auctioning yourself off to the highest bidder. The Internet is a great tool for those who want to conflate technology and sex to augment their self-image or make a quick buck."

Hmmm....collecting baseball cards. I like that analogy. I always wanted to be somebody's All-Star :-)

October 11, 2003

"You are connected to

"You are connected to 1,102,353 people in your Personal Network, through 71 friends."


Deeeeeep breath...

Calm down.

(*Friendster Slut thinks to himself: God, you are such a f*cking drama queen. *)

I mean, really, think about it. I mean, really think about it.

All this fuss is over people connecting with other people. There are many different ways that people connect with other people, and not everyboy's is going to agree with everybody else's ideas about how to make, or how to maintain that connection (example: same-sex marriage, which is now legal in two Canadian provinces and will be legal in a third in 2004). What's really at stake here is the freedom of people to choose how they connect with each other, within the constraints and laws of a democratic society.

Every invention has been put to some use unintended by its creator. The guy who created dynamite expected it to be used for blasting rocks, not people. I also seem to remember reading somewhere that the people who invented the television set expected that it would be used mostly for educational purposes (well, Queer Eye is pretty educational...but I want to Marry a Millionaire? Ew.) The fact is, that once an invention is created, it is difficult, if not impossible, to stop other creative people using it for other, newer purposes.

If I and all the other friendster sluts want to connect to each other and build up ever-bigger networks, where's the harm? Nobody is being coerced here; hell, most of us never even meet each other face to face. And the gift we give to others who choose to link to us is a broader cross-section of humanity, a chance to sample the richness of Earth's culture. Can this really be so wrong?

Danah Boyd and the Definition of a Friendster Whore.

Danah Boyd, of the School of Information Management & Systems at the University of California, Berkeley , is (I believe) the first person to coin the term "friendster whore". She is researching Friendster and other social networks tools, trying to understand how people present their digital identity, negotiate social contexts and articulate their relationships.

Her definition, which I have adopted, is taken from her blog Connected Selves, September 1, 2003:

"Friendster whores - people who simply collect as many people as possible, including Fakesters."

She is the author of the paper "Reflections on Friendster, Trust, and Intimacy" (Adobe PDF format), from which I take the following quote:

"As a site for intimacy, Friendster has complicated the notion of trust. On one hand, it reveals one s most intimate relations, mixed with acquaintances, familiar strangers and past associates. Additionally, the site tries to capture one s most intimate notions of self, but fails to allow the individual to negotiate how that is publicized. Yet, by limiting access to those within 4 degrees, Friendster implies that a user s visibility is only available to trusted connections.

Friendster fails to realize that the trust implied in one s social network cannot be easily imported into a space modeled on performed identity and publicly articulated social networks. Yet, the site is ill-equipped to handle how people might connect via this new architecture.

Fakesters have created a playful space to explore identity and relations beyond authentication. Of course, this further highlights weaknesses of trusting articulated selves. Although intended to alleviate the blatant devaluing of connections, Friendster s Fakester genocide is seen as squashing creativity and trying to control the ways in which people regulate privacy, relationships, and self, so as to protect themselves in a public space.

As we think about intimate (ubiquitous) computing, we must reflect on how architectural changes fundamentally alter the ways in which people connect socially. While simply trying to help people connect in a more efficient and meaningful manner, Friendster has inadvertently uncovered a hornet s nest around articulated public identity, reshaped how groups of people verbally identify relationships, and solidified the importance of creative play in social interaction. Yet, amidst the confusion, intimacy flourishes, although often in unexpected forms."

There is NO SUCH THING as bad publicity!

Friendster - Home: "You are connected to 1,089,300 people in your Personal Network, through 70 friends. "

You know, the more I think about the friendsterpimp thing, the more angry and upset I get. Jonathan Abrams is shooting himself in the foot, not only over the whole fakester thing, but also about this. Maybe there's more to the situation that hasn't been disclosed (like complaints from some women), but I have rarely seen a company so unattuned to the wants and needs of its customers. Friendster is succeeding *IN SPITE* of the company, not *BECAUSE* of it. Most other companies would kill for the kind of attention that Friendster is getting. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS BAD PUBLICITY!!!

ARGH! I'm going to go make myself a cup of chamomile tea and lie down....

Friendster Pimp Shut Down: so am I going to be next?

Friendster - Home: "You are connected to 1,085,745 people in your Personal Network, through 67 friends."

A posting by Mary from

"October 10, 2003 - 10:01 PM
is friendster not only axing fakesters but also axing spinoff sites?

check out:

and speculate with me..." (thanks to Mary for bringing this to our attention)

So I posted the following bulletin board message to my Friendster network:

I have just heard (and verified for myself) that
Jonathan Abrams and Company has had the Web site shut down through the
threat of legal action against the two people who
ran it.

OH GREAT...wonder what he's going to think about my blog, This man has absolutely zero sense of humour.

Anyways, there is always the possibility that I will be whacked off Friendster for my (perceived) misdeeds. But I also know that many of you have liked having a much bigger personal network to surf, adding a million-friendster hub always helps out a lot :-)

THEREFORE, I ask two things:

1. Please begin adding each other to your personal networks, i.e. bypass me, so in case I get thwacked, you can still enjoy the larger network.

2. If you do want to keep in touch with me, please email me your real email addresses. You can send them to:

Also, there is the Friendster Whores tribe on Tribe-dot-not, where I am quite happy to hang out and share my friendster-whoring tips.

Peace, --Ryan.

Frankly, at this point, whatever happens, happens. The worst thing that can happen is that Friendster comes after me the same way it came after the two guys who ran, and kick me off the Friendster site as well. But where does it stop? Are they also going to go after Danah Boyd for her research, for her definiton of "friendster whore"??? WHERE DOES IT STOP?!?

Thirty-Four Kevin Bacons

As it somewhat fitting for such a choatic network, Friendster has no les than 34 people claiming to be Kevin Bacon. You know, I betcha Kevin Bason is already on here somewhere, under an assumed name, and laughing his ass off.

A Friendster Addict's Tale...

My Friendster Experience: An Addict's Perspective from, the Web site of artist and musician Terbo Ted. This makes me stop and think, look at myself, then stop and think some more.

O.K. time to go home and GET SOME SLEEP...

"You are connected to 1,069,560 people in your Personal Network, through 63 friends."

October 10, 2003

And the add requests are rolling in....

"You are connected to 1,035,649 people in your Personal Network, through 62 friends."

(*Ryan does the happy Friendster slut dance*)

Way Out of Hand

How you know that your Friendster habit has gotten waaaaaaaaaaaay out of hand :-)

Friendster - Home: "You are connected to 1,027,426 people in your Personal Network, through 56 friends. "

Wow! We're on a roll today...

"You are connected to 1,014,077 people in your Personal Network, through 55 friends."

You know, I feel a little bit like that kid who keeps running back to the tank to see if his Sea Monkeys have hatched yet...

Update from my Icelandic correspondent :-)

"you lucky devil!! here's me:

You are connected to 997,829 people in your
Personal Network, through 97 friends.

i'm so close, i can taste it. i still only make
friends with fakesters that i have
admired/gotten a kick out of throughout my life,
or childhood icons, etc. i mean, the year i was
20, captain morgan was one of my best friends!!
haha, congrats, i'm right behind ya."

Whoops...I did it again! :-)

Friendster - Home: "You are connected to 1,000,661 people in your Personal Network, through 52 friends. "

Friendster - Messages

The Friendster messaging system is still terribly slow and screwed up; copies of messages I sent out TWO DAYS AGO still haven't appeared in my Sent folder, and I keep getting copies of yesterday's replies. Something is seriously wrong here.


It isn't even twelve hours old and the Friendsterwhore tribe already has eight people signed up...amazing!

Scheduled Maintenace

Friendster: "Friendster is Temporarily Unavailable
The site is temporarily unavailable due to scheduled maintenance. Please visit us again after 5am PST. "

Well, if it was scheduled, how come no message was sent out to the users warning them that it was going to happen? Harrumph.

October 09, 2003

Friendster - Gay porn star Mark Dalton

Friendster - Mark: "Who cares if you're smarter or richer than me. I'm hotter and better looking than you, and that's all that matters in this world. "

Uh... yeah... right Mark. You go girl.

Friendster - Messages

The messaging system on Friendster has been SERIOUSLY screwed up all day. I keep getting new message alerts and they're all for messages that I had read and replied to yesterday, or earlier today.

Friendster - Home

Friendster - Home: "You are connected to 978,467 people in your Personal Network, through 49 friends. "

Wow, the number of friends goes up, while the total size of my network goes down...I feel as if I'm in Pompeii as Mt. Vesuvius starts to smoke.

Friendster - Home

Friendster - Home: "You are connected to 969,476 people in your Personal Network, through 48 friends. "

Well, it would seem Jon Abrams is thwacking away at the nether ends of my network: more people, but fewer total friendsters. I suspect a few Fakesters acting as nodes have sad.

I know that my days are numbered on Friendster, now that I've announced the creation of a Friendster Whores group on Oh well (*shrug*)...if you're gonna go to hell, go express, I always say :-)

I made it! One million friendsters! Now, to celebrate....

'You are connected to 1,000,097 people in your Personal Network, through 47 friends.' Woo-hoo!

I took a screen shot with SnagIt to prove I was here :-)

To celebrate, I've decided to set up a group to promote and support the many fine keyboard athletes who practice the brand-new sport of Friendster whoring. (Hey, if synchronized swimming can be a Olympic sport, then so can Friendster whoring.)

"Friendster whores - people who simply collect as many people as possible, including Fakesters." (Boyd, Danah. 'Types of Fakesters/Fraudsters', Connected Selves blog, Sept. 1, 2003)

But, of course, if I tried to set it up as a Fakester on Friendster, it would eventually get shut down. Therefore, Ryan has invited you to join Friendster Whores, a new tribe on You won't be able to post messages to this group until you register, but it's free (and it will very likely STAY free for the forseeable future).

The address is (note 'whore' is
SINGULAR, not plural). Once you're in, select the Tribes tag, then Computers and Internet Tribes. Find the Friendster Whores tribe and click the Join button. You're in!!!

See you there!


Friendster - Home: "You are connected to 999,992 people in your Personal Network, through 47 friends."

Oh God...this is just killing me...

Friendster - Home: "You are connected to 999,250 people in your Personal Network, through 47 friends. "

Just a little more....

Friendster - Home: "You are connected to 993,422 people in your Personal Network, through 46 friends. "

Canonical List of Fakester Types....(there'll be a quiz later)

From the Connected Selves blog: Types of Fakesters/Fraudsters: "I realized that i never wrote down the different types of Fakesters/Fraudsters that i've been observing. Here are a few that i can think of right now. [Let me know if there are other ones that you've seen.]

Play Characters.. These characters are meant for fun and entertainment, and to allow people with common interests to connect.
Famous character or person. examples: Homer Simpson, Stanley Milgram, Drew Barrymore

Place (university, city, bar, etc.). examples: Brown University, New Jersey, Lexington

Objects, animals, creatures, mythical figures. examples: Salt, Giant Squid, LSD

Identity markers. examples: Black Lesbians, FemSex

Concepts. examples: Fear, Pure Evil, Infinity

Tribes (real life communities). examples: Infinite Kaos, Space Cowboys

Passable Characters. These characters are meant to appear real on the system.

Unwilling friends. i.e. my friend Andy refuses to create an Friendster account so i'll create one for him, use a picture of him that i have, and link to all of his friends

Friend supporters. i.e. a group of guys create a girl to give them good testimonials and introduce them to other girls. Bait. i.e. a passable character, often female, meant to see if 'she' can pick up tons of other characters in the system by flirting.

Clones/Spite-based Fraudsters. i.e. Jonathan Abrams needs to learn a lesson so i'll create an image of him or his friends and try to communicate with various friends of his to toy with the system.

Note: Cloning is pretty common now. 'Fake' characters as well as 'real' characters are often cloned. There are tons of Jedis, Jesus Christs and Jonathan Abrams.

There are also Collectors - people who collect one type of fake character.

There are also Friendster whores - people who simply collect as many people as possible, including Fakesters." Friendster whores - people who simply collect as many people as possible, including Fakesters.

Friendster whore? My goodness. Never heard of such a thing... :-)

I'm so close I can almost taste it!

Friendster - Home: "You are connected to 986,707 people in your Personal Network, through 44 friends."

Friendster - Messages

My contact in Iceland (whom I met through Friendsters Anonymous) sent me a message this morning:

"i'm a proud friendster whore myself. i even met my girlfriend on friendster!! i'm always happy
to make new friends. if you need any information on iceland, just let me know, although i'm guessing you already know a thing or two.

let's join forces and build a friendster army the likes of which has never been seen!!! muwaahhahahaahahahaha!"

Hi Ho, Hi Ho...

Friendster - Home: "You are connected to 946,730 people in your Personal Network, through 43 friends. "

Will Friendster Slut reach a million? Stay Tuned...

Friendster - Home: "You are connected to 926,151 people in your Personal Network, through 42 friends."

October 08, 2003

Like a snowball rolling downhill...

Friendster - Home: "You are connected to 913,960 people in your Personal Network, through 40 friends. "

More on: Friendster networks for sale on eBay...

BUDDY SYSTEM: Friendship for sale, by Kate Cohen , Boston Phoenix.

"Is it possible to put a price on friendship? Members of, one of the Internet’s fastest-growing communities, are finding out, thanks to a handful of auctions on eBay that hawk friend lists to the highest bidder."

Mwa Ha Ha Ha... (*rubs hands together*)

"You are connected to 907,046 people in your Personal Network, through 39 friends."

"Long live the Fakester Revolution," cried the fakesters!

The Fakester Revolution Web site... the fake Friendsters are banding together and fighting back...

Social Software Weblog

Jason Calacanis' new Social Software Weblog

(*Friendster Slut does the happy slut dance*)

Friendster - Home: "You are connected to 901,617 people in your Personal Network, through 37 friends. "


Friendster - Home: "You are connected to 885,497 people in your Personal Network, through 36 friends. "

Yes, I know it's meaningless--but it's fun :-)

Well, it's nice to know that I'm not the only one doing this :-) ...

Jackie Spinner writes for The Age: "Counting friends — the contest"-

Mike Nguyen admits he’s addicted. Nearly every day for the past five months, the 27-year-old has logged on to count his friends and the friends of his friends. And their friends. At last check, he was up to 210,185 in all.

Lawyer Andy Kamage, 31, has been counting for only a few weeks. She is connected to a mere 17,000 people, or “friendsters”, the term for cyber-acquaintances made through, an online networking service that has burst on to the urban hipster scene this year.

Friendster was conceived as a twist on online dating, but many have treated it as a giant parlour game to see who’s connected to the most people.

“It helps you quantify how popular you are,” says Jen Chung, 26, a New York marketing strategist who has 432,475 friendsters. “People get bent out of shape if someone they don’t think is as cool has more friends.”

As with all flashing pop-culture trends, Friendster has already spawned a backlash. There’s a website called Introvertster that bills itself as “an online community that prevents stupid people and friends from harassing them online”.

Duncan Watts, a Columbia University sociologist and the author of Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age, says people are “deeply fascinated about how they are connected to each other.

“It’s a funny obsession,” says Watts. “But they’re obsessed in a way that doesn’t require them to think about it very much … a momentary pleasure.”

Nguyen got hooked on Friendster after a friend sent him an email asking him to join. “Next thing I know, I’m on it, and it’s become a pseudo-obsession.”

“Kamage, who has never met Nguyen but is connected to him through his cousin, said she would never sign up for an online dating service.

“It’s free entertainment,” she says. “It’s an interesting diversion.”

Friendster Obsession

Well, it's nice to know that I'm not the only one doing this :-) ...

Jackie Spinner writes for The Age: Click for clique -

Counting friends—the contest

Mike Nguyen admits he's addicted. Nearly every day for the past five months, the 27-year-old has logged on to count his friends and the friends of his friends. And their friends. At last check, he was up to 210,185 in all.

Lawyer Andy Kamage, 31, has been counting for only a few weeks. She is connected to a mere 17,000 people, or "friendsters", the term for cyber-acquaintances made through, an online networking service that has burst on to the urban hipster scene this year.

Friendster was conceived as a twist on online dating, but many have treated it as a giant parlour game to see who's connected to the most people.
"It helps you quantify how popular you are," says Jen Chung, 26, a New York marketing strategist who has 432,475 friendsters. "People get bent out of shape if someone they don't think is as cool has more friends".
As with all flashing pop-culture trends, Friendster has already spawned a backlash. There's a website called Introvertster that bills itself as "an online community that prevents stupid people and friends from harassing them online".
Duncan Watts, a Columbia University sociologist and the author of Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age, says people are "deeply fascinated about how they are connected to each other.

"It's a funny obsession," says Watts. "But they're obsessed in a way that doesn't require them to think about it very much; a momentary pleasure."
Nguyen got hooked on Friendster after a friend sent him an email asking him to join. "Next thing I know, I'm on it, and it's become a pseudo-obsession."
Kamage, who has never met Nguyen but is connected to him through his cousin, said she would never sign up for an online dating service.

"It's free entertainment," she says. "It's an interesting diversion."

And they tell two friends...

Friendster - Home: "You are connected to 853,735 people in your Personal Network, through 33 friends. "

October 07, 2003

Jonathan Abrams versus the Fakesters...

Must-read article: SF Weekly | | News : Feature Attack of the Smartasses, by Lessley Anderson...someone on (the home of various disgruntled former Friendsters) told me about this article.

Russ Josephs on Friendster...

From Free Williamsburg, July 2003: "...I have mixed feelings about are the "Testimonials," which further reinforce the high school nature of the site. Here you can write something about one of your friends, and whatever you write (if they approve it) will appear in their profile. It's almost like signing someone's yearbook, only your words are displayed for all to see. Some typical postings:

"This girl is the hottest thang in nyc. and knows her shiznat. she's got it dooooowwwn."

"Gorgeous, intelligent, friendly, compassionate, caring, funny and very classy--Couldn't ask for a better package deal than that folks!!!"

"This girl is one bad beeatch...double D's like the 23's...dang when she comes down the street girls move out the way!!! She a true dragon killa!!! beware of this hottieeee!!!"

Most Friendsters have a few of these (I have four, and one of them is from Monica), but others have tons. Some people have so many that to read them all would take an afternoon. Maybe it's just me, but when I come across people like this, instead of thinking this person is super cool and super connected, it makes me feel sorry for them. It's as if their self-esteem is based entirely on encouraging words from their friends. And without such, without the actual proof right there on the page, they would cease to feel good about themselves, and immediately rush out and take their own lives.

Popularity is a strange thing, fleeting, subjective and ultimately ridiculous, and Friendster goes a long way in keeping its allure alive. However, even though most of my true friends are too smart to participate in such a thing (despite my pleading), and so I come across as less a quarterback or prom king than an outcast or a chain-smoking punk (which is closer to the truth anyway), I find myself on the thing everyday. This could be because, as mentioned, I enjoy seeing the connections between people, or because you do actually get to meet some interesting folks (so far I've met a fetish model, an opera singer, a sex therapist and an assortment of writers and musicians), or because it's fun.

Another reason though, which I think applies less to me and more to others, is because even outsiders enjoy seeing what the insiders are up to. How else does one explain E!, or Entertainment Tonight, or People? These are not geared towards its subjects, but to those who want to be them. Famous people, rich people, and yes, popular people are always in demand, and will always have a captive audience comprised of their less-than-fortunate peers.

However, the bottom line is this: if you are truly cool, or have a busy, productive life, then you don't have time for Friendster. Which means that those people who spend every waking hour on the site, creating vast networks of friends, their profiles dripping with praise, are really the true losers out there. With this in mind, I don't feel bad about my seventeen friends. Fine, sixteen."

reflections on compulsion

I have an investor friend whom I tease mercilessly for checking his stock quotes several times a day from his PC. But now I've fallen into the same sort of trap myself: I have my Friendster home page open in a corner of my PC, and every 15 minutes or so, I check to see by how many people my personal network has grown. Is it up or down? By how much?

Looking at it from an outsider's objective perspective, I find this behaviour rather disturbing. Somehow Friendster has hooked itself into some deep need of mine....the need to feel connected? the need to feel I belong?? the need to feel that I can help by linking people together, much as I do in real life? (or at least, as much as I think I do it in real life...). My God. This is bringing up all kinds of nasty questions. But I sure the hell am not going to discuss them on Friendster...I'll be heading to to talk about that.

This is my take on the difference between and Friendster: In a large, fancy restaurant, ten people are seated around a table, deep in conversation, brainstorming, idea-shaping, etc. There's a sense of engagement, commitment, (dare I say it?) community. Those are the people.

In the next room, one thousand people are speed-dating over cocktails. That's the Friendster crowd :-)

connected selves: and the march towards digital social networks

Now this is an interesting blog:

"danah boyd: As a researcher studying digital social networks, i noticed that i was regularly blogging about Friendster and the various social network tools that are emerging. Since this is of great interest to me and other researchers, i decided to dedicate this blog to tracking the digital discussions on social networks tools and record my own reflections on the matter. This blog is intended as a resource for myself and the general academic community as a consolidated space for me to process what i'm learning."

Definitely one to watch...

Dav's Friendster Network: spin the globe, find a Friendster...

This Java applet from Dav's Friendster Networkis very cool...

Auctioning off your friendsters? Ew.

From judith meskill's knowledge notes: "Clay Shirky, an adjunct professor of interactive telecommunications at New York University, compares some users' obsessions with collecting Friendsters to a high school popularity contest spun out of control. Once stripped of real-world restrictions like time and space, he explains, participation in online communities can 'quickly accelerate beyond the realm of human behavior.'
But unlike a word processor, social software constantly adapts to its users, professor Shirky says. A few entrepreneurial Friendsters have even taken to auctioning their networks on eBay, guaranteeing the buyer an instant social circle."


Boys Night Out has 845 friends in their network! How the hell did that happen? I thought the limit was 500 for old Friendsters and 200 for new ones. Someone at Friendster must be a BNO groupie :-) ...

Braille Friendster

Sigh. Major problems with Friendster today over lunch: no pictures are loading. It's kind of like Braille Friendster. (Ooh the possibilites...)

Friendster Slut

Well, according to Friendster's sequential member numbering system, it would appear that the service has grown from 2 million to 2-1/2 million users in one week. That's another 500,000 people in 7 days. Amazing. No wonder the venture capitalists are trowing money at it. But the word I think of is: "bubble". No system can contain this rate of growth forever without problems.

Last night, the system was full of bugs; I couldn't respond to requests from others to add me to their networks; I mysteriously lost a friend from my network; etc. This morning I sign on again and all's well. Late evening Winnipeg time seems to the be the worst I guess that's when all the West Coast people sign on. This morning, when all the Californians are still asleep :-), seems to be a much better time to get good system response.

I'm at the point where my network is growing like a yeast infection, about 50-100 people every 10-15 minutes, even if I do nothing but re-log in and check. It's wierdly fascinating, like watching a slime mold...

October 06, 2003


Dating? DATING?!?

You mean I'm supposed to be using Friendster for DATING?!?!?

I thought I was supposed to be selling Amway or Avon or something... :-)


"You are connected to 778,320 people in your Personal Network, through 20 friends."

Hmmm... maybe this Friendster thing is getting a little, uh, outta hand.

Oh well, the Friendster Slut thinks to himself, just surf the chaos.

He thinks back to a week ago, when he was a normal person, not hanging out in the 24-hour Unix lab next to the Grad Student catacombs, and he weeps for the innocence he has lost. But there is no turning back....

jason ronbeck does the same thing I do....

Jason Ronbeck of out of control writes: "i've spent a bunch of my day so far browsing through friendster profiles. basically there are two 'branches' of friends i'm connected to: the 'gay boys' and the 'intellectual hipsters.'
i love how all of the gay boys' pictures are all sexual and often shirtless, etc. while the 'hipsters' have either fake photos (i.e. photos not of themselves) or really funny or strange or awkward pictures of themselves. it's totally: 'how sexy am i?' vs. 'how cool am i?'
anyway, friends of mine who haven't signed up really should. it's a funny little service."


Many-to-Many is a group weblog on social software.

Friendster Slut reflects...

(as you can see, I'm getting a *LOT* of apartment cleaning done...sigh)

Jonathan Abrams is in my personal network!

A link to the man who started it all: Jonathan Abrams, the founder and CEO of Friendster. I'd ask to link to him directly, but I only have so much chutzpah to spend :-) maybe I'll just bookmark him instead.

In my bookmarks list so far are comedians Judy Tenuta and Margaret Cho; California candidate for governor and billboard star Angelyne; drag queen porn director Chi Chi LaRue; Douglas Faneuil, the stockbroker's assistant who testified against Martha Stewart; and five seriously hot gay men :-) sounds like my perfect dinner party LOL

Friendster Community on Livejournal

Thanks to a connection on, I got a free code to LiveJournal, and I am now experimenting with this new tool. Imagine my surprise when I stumble across the Friendster community on LiveJournal. I even found somebody else who wants to be a Friendster Whore!

well, that's enough for today; I need to tend to my apartment before it becomes one large dust-bunny :-)

October 05, 2003

Depending On The Kindness Of Friendsters

Dickon Edwards has some very interesting things to say about Friendster: dickon_edwards: Depending On The Kindness Of Friendsters, and some of his blog's commenters have some strong opinions too:

"Friendster is horribly depressing, I've found: it shows you fabulously attractive people, all of whom share your most obscure interests and aesthetics, none of whom can you possibly ever meet, and informs you that they're in your "personal network". It's just an elaborate laugh in the face, and another new way to feel more alone than you really are."

This page is well worth a browse.

Message to Friendsters Anonymous members

Friendster - Bulletin Board: "Have you reached out and touched an actual in-the-flesh friend yet? Neither have I. I did make a bunch of new friendsters, though.Let us move on to the second step: following through with the first. When we say we will do something, we should honor that. It is respecting ourselves. Do you find yourself promising you'll stop adding friends or doing user searches in 10 minutes and then you'll get that report typed for the boss or you'll clean the cat box, or you'll eat? And then an hour has passed, during which you've been fired, the house stinks and you're looking pale and concave.Let's try limiting our time: whatever works for you: offer yourself little rewards like: I can spend 2 hours on Friendster later if I stop in 15 minutes and bathe. Or: I can add 10 new friends tomorrow if I take the dog for a walk today. and a little side note: Friendster kills fakesters. Did you know this? And this little self help profile is in constant danger of death. What do you think about that? Is that fair?"


Aww. Noam Gonick won't be my friend :-( he's rejected my request to link to him. But hey, when Friendster tells you: "You are connected to 702,854 people in your Personal Network, through 12 friends. ", somehow it lessens the sting :-)

October 04, 2003

Friendster - Paul Erdos

Paul Erdos: "A Mathematician is a machine for turning coffee into theorems." and he's linked to all his philosopher and mathematician buddies :-) you know, you could spend the rest of your life just browsing the profiles for witty sayings...

Kevin has cable!

Now here's someone who tells it like it is: Kevin...

Under "Interests": unhealthy nostalgia, masking vulnerability through cynical detachment, adding friendster friends and pretending it means i actually have friends

And under "Who I Want to Meet": Actually no one, 'cause i got cable now, so who needs friends?

I can stop anytime I want!!!

Well, this is addictive. I was up until 4 a.m. in the 24-hour Unix lab, surfing through my Gallery, sending notes to various people whose profiles caught my eye, and occasionally requesting to become a link on someone else's personal network. Went home, slept 5-9 a.m. and I'm back at again Saturday morning.

I bet there's a twelve-step group for this, a Friendsters Anonymous. Oh, wait...I already have a request in to join that network too :-)

"You are connected to 111,713 people in your Personal Network"

I must confess that I can't even quite grasp the concept. At 15 photos per page, there are 6,827 pages. At one minute per page, just for a quick scan, it would take me 113 HOURS to go through 111,713 profiles. That's FIVE FULL DAYS. This is truly insane! But it's addictive, and God some people photograph well LOL. Not that I'm jealous (OK I am).

October 03, 2003

International Friendster Meetup Day

Cool, there's going to be an Friendster Meetup on Thursday, Oct 16 here in Winnipeg. I may actually go, even though it's a sure bet I'll be at least ten years older than anybody else there LOL

"Abusing the Idea of a Personal Network"

A very pertinent and interesting blog post (note the sentence I bolded): communications lab journal:

"I joined Friendster a few weeks prior to ITP, so it's funny that now I have to write about it, because it's been festering in my mind. Friendster has become something of an annoyance and a fascination to me. I joined reluctantly, as it seems is the case with many people. I was bombarded with invitations to join! friendster! and when I finally caved in, it was because someone I least expected to join a cheesy online dating club, was so excited about it.

The first few days of Friendster were fascinating. I would watch in wonder as my personal network grew exponentially from hundreds to thousands to tens of thousands. At parties, Friendster was the new small talk. 'I'm connected to 25,000 people,' a new person would boast and other people would ooh and ahh. The idea of it is so fun to everyone, because it's your own personal Internet where your friendships with people (or profiles) are your link. It's a weird symbiote of the Internet.

I'm now over 200 thousand people and the newness and excitement of it has worn off, only to be replaced with feelings of drudgery. It's become more of a chore now to add people to my friend list, because now I realized that Friendster isn't about who your friends really are anymore. It's become an online pissing contest of popularity about who else you know (even tangentially) is on Friendster.

I started off with something that I thought of as Friendster Integrity, which was to only invite/accept people who I really thought of as my friends. Isn't that the point of Friendster anyways? However, Friendster began to wreak havoc on my definition of a friend. I guess my definition was too rigid, and I began to re-evaluate my relationships.

A person I hadn't talked to or seen in over five years asked me to be his friend. Am I still really his friend? Hadn't we just sisilently accepted to let our friendship wither and die over the years? I would put him down as more of an acquaintance as a friend now, but it seemed that Friendster wouldn't let this die. It was really messing with my sense of friendship. Unsure of what to do, I put this person in the limbo of 'waiting for confirmation'. I also found myself in a sticky situation where I received a Friendster request from my friend's ex-boyfriend. Should I put him on the list? Will my friend get mad if I put him on the list? Again, I put him in the 'waiting for confirmation' category.

However, things came to a head when we got the assignment to join Friendster in Communications Lab class. It shot my whole Friendster integrity to pieces. By then, I gave up and started accepting friend requests left and right. I realized that other people were doing the same thing, and that the whole model of Friendster was basically screwed up anyways because no one else had the same kind of integrity. We were abusing the idea of a personal network by accepting anyone and everyone. I somehow became linked to the fake profiles of celebrities or places (see Michael Jordan's Profile or City of Chicago's profile). One link to a fake Friendster made my personal network grow exponentially, and every new connection by this fake friend gave me more false connections. My pool of personal connections feels like it has now diluted into the whole network of users on Friendster."

I'm guilty of this too; I just wanted to expand my network so that my experience of Friendster would actually be interesting, and so I have accepted (and offered) links to people I don't really know well, or people I don't know at all. So I've dented my integrity as well. But then again, I did want to be a friendster slut :-)

I'm linked to Noam!

Hey! I just discovered I'm linked to Winnipeg indie filmmaker Noam Gonick! He lists among his favourite movies Hey Happy! Hey. no fair! You can't list your own films, can you? :-)

Updating my Friendster Profile

Under Who I Want to Meet: "I just want to be a Friendster slut and meet as many new people as I can! Is that so wrong?!? Oh, I want to ask Anderson Cooper of CNN to marry me :-) "

Thanks Gothamist!

Friendster - Home: "You are connected to 110,418 people in your Personal Network, through 3 friends." Woo-hoo! Thank you, Gothamist.

October 02, 2003

Stay posted for Ryan

Stay posted for Ryan Schultz on his adventues in social software...

October 01, 2003

Friends of Friends

From a Fortune article by David Kirkpatrick: - Fast Forward - I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends of Friends of Friends:

There may be a new kind of Internet emerging--one more about connecting people to people than people to websites. The blog phenomenon, where blogs link to blogs, is another aspect of this same trend. Mark Pincus, an investor in Friendster and founder of, calls this the early phases of the 'peopleweb'--a user-controlled network of identities and relationships that transcends any one site or company. How that web will take shape remains murky, but in the explosive growth of social networking we are surely seeing the future, using the Net to connect people with bonds of trust and friendship--and maybe sex.

As I highlighted in a post below, it's the communication, not the content.

Metcalfe's Law

Quote from the Abstract Dynamics article on Friendster: The Idiot Savant (Friendster Triumphant): "Now Metcalfe's Law actually isn't much of a law, its a conjecture that, at the moment, is pretty reasonably supported by empirical evidence. What it says is that the value of a network increases exponentially with the number of members in the network. Now Friendster's network is shockingly large. Close to 2 million accounts at the moment, and still growing fast (exponentially?). If Metcalfe's law is even close to true, the value of the Friendster network is increasing tremendously each day. And quite honestly I just don't see how any competitor is going to be able to build up a comparable network. "

Friendster vs.

Interesting article from the blog Abstract Dynamics on the head start that Friendster has over competitors such as Tribe: Abstract Dynamics: The Idiot Savant (Friendster Triumphant). I spent a couple of hours last night exploring both Friendster and Tribe..I think I prefer Tribe, but it's kinda hard to judge when you are only linked to one other person :-)

September 30, 2003




Matty (a link I found via Let Me Get This Straight) gives a good overview of Internet trends over the past year. Bang on. I hear so much about Friendster, and I've signed myself up, but I haven't recommended any friends yet, so I can't surf :-( but it does sound interesting. and it certainly is generating a lot of buzz. I wonder how well something like Friendster would work if you live in what the beautiful people of SF, LA, and NYC would probably consider to be the hinterlands LOL

Oh God, I'm indulging in a Winnipegger's favourite pastime: putting ourselves down. Somebody slap me.