Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Social Network

You can think of us as little maggots wiggling out of our eggs. Barely out of the puddle and into the world, the web around us was already teeming with life. The social mosquito - which I would become - has sought a share of the goodies. This manna may have come from Pinoyexchange - in one of the threads there - and knowing  how this gift would appease my ego, I spawned a copy of my digital self to let it wander the realms of cyberspace.     

The  avatar found anchorage in a website called Friendster. As every thirteen year old know  by now, creation begins when one types his name and uploads a picture in a website. It doesn't matter if you steal another person's identity as long as you can make human connections. Place no importance to age and location unless you want to be found.

Hobbies are only useful when scouring for potential dates.

But  we are vanity's children so we fill out profiles to trade for testimonials. Good words from friends soothe our spirit, so we  return to Friendster in search of lost connections. Intimate circles expand outward as we find colleagues, classmates, and even old flings. Our nature calls that we scour the social network to stalk our object of affection

and rekindle primordial ties.

Popularity breeds petty pleasures and when the masses arrive, Friendster becomes a huge pile of trash. Overnight, Glitter  letters and pictures made public testimonials look cheap. Facebook - which was new at that time with its clean layout and symmetric boxes became a haven for the weary.

I immediately put up an account believing the social website's zen aspirations.

The final exodus came when I had to disappear from the ex-lover. Knowing he may never track down my whereabouts, I roosted on top of my ivory wall  when everyone was complaining how ugly Friendster has become.  Soon, the website would be seen as the Jejemons haunt, the kids we all love to hate. When the clutter became too much for our aesthetics, people soon disappeared. Friendster would turn into an empty shell of once was the Milky Way of social networks.   

Hakken, 2008

Seasons came and passed, and I  heard less and less from the social website. I read a news article a few years back that a Malaysian firm bought Friendster at a bargain. I tried to check it but my password was blocked. Turns out, part of the forgetting  includes losing my  log-in name. It was meant to prevent me from accessing a memory.

I  learned what the new overlords did to make Friendster look sickly. Its cursive font and piss yellow color background tarnished its solid beauty.  As a witness to the social website's downward spiral, I think the new layout is the root of all its misfortune. Add to that the strangeness felt by its old inhabitants and Friendster was  eventually abandoned. 

I was able to access Friendster using my G-mail  last month after two years of being locked. The birthday notifications, which I continue to receive all these years were the key that would open my account. I read the kind words once written by friends.  While these letters are now mothballed into the subconscious, to see them again rekindled some old ties.

"Setting his meek aside, he is swift, cunning, a political plotter yet statesmanly- like Cicero. He had the bulk of power in in our college. He moved his political affiliation to that one sweet glory. And just as he was the leader, i was the bishop. i believed that during my stay with him, i was the balancer. i was the first who always negated him. he always asked permission from me whenever he decided on something. indeed, Mugen was a "healthy" leader. a very diplomatic person. outside that, he even revealed himself more. and we enjoyed it so much."

Vice President, Journalism Class

"Basta claim ko na best friend ko tong si wapo. The best that I could ever have. Di pa ko iniwan nyan. Savior ko. Ilang months na tayong magkakilala? Nearly a year na siguro. Or baka nga a year old na. Sya una kong nakilala na Alien. Ngayon Others na kami. He's into long walks tapos wentuhan one to sawa. Naikot na namin ang Ortigas, nagsenti sa break water, gumulong sa damo ng american cemetery, naabot na rin namin ang rurok ng cloud 9 sa Antipolo. Yeah, marami na kaming pinagsamahan. Love ko tong si Parekoy eh.=p"


"Mugen... is a friend im glad i have,,,, we're batchmates at UST and we met at model platoon. a cool and sentimental guy. Mugs remains to be one of the simplest guy in A.B. that i know. Being simple is he's best asset. He is easy to get along with and very nice to have as a friend. Thank you for being my friend at sa lhat ng masayang alaala kapatid! I hope hindi dito nagtatapos ang ating pagkakaibigan."

Model Platoon, ROTC.

Friendster will always be the well-spring from which we all began. Almost everyone has a Facebook, Tumblr and even a Twitter account today.   We use it  to connect with friends, or  impress our thoughts to those in our social network.  While Friendster has been abandoned in the confines of memory, some had left their accounts untouched as a remembrance.

Of  the days when Web 2.0 was just an idea and strangers hardly cuss one another online.

But things are about change before the end of next month.

"On the help forum, Friendster encourages all users to use the ‘Friendster Exporter’ app to download or export their profile information, friends list, photos, messages, comments, testimonials, shout-outs, blogs and groups. Options include porting content to Flickr or Multiply.

On May 31, Friendster will move to wipe out all photos, blogs, comments and groups uploaded or created by its users. The company will, however, keep all accounts alive, along with user friends lists, games details and basic profile information."

Succumbing from Facebook's unrivaled dominion, Friendster will drop its old image to become a mere entertainment portal: A move, that will not sell under its present feeble layout.

The prospects of reinvention entices the curious and the sentimental, but let us dwell on the fact that an age is now over. "All good things will come to an end," the wise men say, and the Friendster we all knew will soon be no more. 


orally said...

So what's next after Facebook or Twitter?

Btw I just read "Graduate". Howbout bringing Baabaa with you the next time you go clubbing hahahaha, that's like suicide no?

Would love to read about your Draga entry

Alter said...

people would panic when rumors spread that the social network they patronize so much will have to terminate it's services. it happened to Facebook late last year i think, it felt as if the entire world shook:

all too amusing and entertaining.(obviously not a social network fan lol).

Spiral Prince said...

There was indeed a time when those testimonials mattered, and when they had more meat in them, too. I'm not touching my Friendster account. I guess that's how I intend to pay my respect. Also, the first time I saw the new Friendster layout, I was aghast. Hehehehe.

There should be testimonials for Facebok!

Louie said...

With this, I've realized that I have been ingrato to Friendster and even called it as the haven of the jologs and Jejemon, when in fact it sparked my own social media revolution. Tapos sa inis, ni-delete ko sya.

Hanep sa mga testi ha? Hehe. I remember tuloy doing 12 testi's for a crush within a month. Haha!

c - e - i - b - o - h said...

natawa naman ako sa comment ni Louie, but i guess it's also one of reasons before on why i stopped using FS, because of those called jologs and jejemons..

but honestly, FS paved a way for me to know a lot of people..

claudiopoi said...

friendster will always be my one true love. :)

Seth said...

I haven't opened my Friendster account for months but I just leave it parked there. While the common friends isn't as accurate as Facebook, nor photo tagging was even thought of before, I still keep it because for a good 6-8 years ago, it used to be my "digital ID".

Testimonials were a huge deal back then because people would have to really sit down and write something about you. Unlike in Facebook, you get comments and likes within minutes.

red the mod said...

This has to be the most insightful and eloquently written post of yours to date. The breadth and flow of your thoughts is as fluid and elegant as a sans serif, each proposition bleeding into the page from a place deep within your consciousness, an ode and an oubliette respectful in its reminiscing.

Friendster heralded an era, that focused attention more on stats and testimonials than anything else. It provided a venue where the antisocial can become popular, and the intellectual impeccably becomes juvenile.

Social networking has never been the same again, and even more so ironic. Thank you for expounding what some judge as purely pedestrian and insignificant.

green breaker said...

that 'Friendster Exporter' app is one of their wisest inventions.

Friendster will be the social networkings's first and so will be mine. I, too hated the glitters and weird stuff which made it jologs at that. I loved though the ability to change the layout of your profile just like a personal blog, but the way other people overdo it is just eyesore.

if only this exporter could tie up with Facebook. lol. which is more than impossible.

Sean said...

napaka-jurrasic ko pala. di man lang ako nagkaroon ng friendster account.

daniel said...

Naalala ko pa yung mga testi days, haha. Na-expired na ata yung friendster ko, dinko na nabuksan hehe : )

RainDarwin said...

Everything has its own season to prosper and shine. Friendster that has touched million of people’s lives finally ended its purpose. I remember, through this social site, I was able to track up all my long lost friends and classmates from way back.

Facebook like Friendster will also end its shine as the new innovations in the world-wide-web continue to sprout over time.

Myk said...

The testimonials section was what I liked about Friendster...until it became a chat room of sorts for everyone.