March 18, 2007

Social Network Sites: Boon Or Bane?

How many social network sites do you see and/or know on the Internet? Let's see, we have MySpace, Friendster, Multiply, Bebo, etc etc. For some reason, Malaysians favour Friendster to the very-popular MySpace, which is used by many Americans. Well, most of the Malaysians I know anyway.

Have you noticed that although many Malaysians are members of Friendster, you don't often hear of stories of online predators who prey on young girls over that particular social network? For Malaysians, I mean. The news boomed of stories of paedophiles, preying on young girls and boys over MySpace, and unfortunately, it's a growing problem, all right. Do the statistics show that Malaysians are a more careful lot? I don't think so. I reckon Malaysians are becoming more wary of the 'baddies' out there, but that doesn't mean we're safe, no sirree.

I'm pretty wary of these social networks, although I do use Friendster to keep in touch with my friends. I only allow my contacts to view my personal details (as such, I do not reveal more than it is necessary) and photos. I do not discount the usefulness of such networks; it's a great way to keep in touch with your friends, especially those whom you haven't seen in ages. But there are certain things which I find pretty distasteful, and sometimes downright ridiculous about some of the users of such sites. I only use Friendster (my Multiply's only accessed sporadically), so I'll just give you my two cents on that.

Let's do some mental calculations now, shall we? How many friends do you have? Go ahead and include your acquaintances too. A hundred? Two hundred maybe? Not too bad, right? No prizes for guessing why I find people with 900++ friends amusing. Seriously, do you even know HALF of the people whom you added to your friends list? I mean, really KNOW them? Sometimes I think it's more of a popularity contest than anything else. I have more friends, hence I'm so much more popular than you are. Gimme a break. I have less than a hundred people added to my list, and about 20% of them are close friends. Yeah, go ahead and tell me that I'm just being sour as I do not have as many friends in my list, and I'll ask you to grow up.

Now the male population is probably going to hentam me for this (oh it's gonna be good), but boys, do check your list of friends. More girls than boys, I reckon? Not going to say much about that; it's only natural you'd want to add the lovelies into your list to show your mates. But what I cannot tahan is that a lot of the guys with the 900++ 'friends', 99% of them are females, and VERY sexy females at that. Lots of skin, lots of impressed cleavage. Wowee. Respect, brothers! *roll eyes*

What about those frequent Friendster messages and requests you get from strangers, inviting you to add them as your 'friend'? I've had a few requests, and I clearly remembered one of them using a LOT of terms of endearment, calling me "dear", "sayang", giving me plenty of "hugs", in his message. That particular message made me laugh, as I found it so funny (and scary ... bulu roma naik, man!) that he'd call me all that, when he doesn't even know me.

Don't get me wrong, Friendster (and the rest of the social network sites) is a great place to meet new people (the right ones, that is, but then again, it's to your discretion on who's right or wrong for you), keep in touch with old friends, etc. I especially enjoy viewing photographs of friends who have been to different places, different countries, just to let us know what they've been up to.

But do be careful of the people whom you add as a friend (the ones whom you do not personally know), especially if you do plan to actually meet up one day. And for goodness' sake, it's not a popularity contest. A thousand friends, for real? Are you freakin' kidding me?


Kamigoroshi said...

Oh let's see. Other than the ones you mentioned, there is also Hi5, Facebook and Virb. I know there are 2 more out there, but I couldn't be stuffed with it. I can't really see the attraction of social networking sites because as much as someone tries to make it better, it's all reinventions of the wheel.

I don't even bother anymore. I log into my friendster to see if my old schoolmates left me any messages or if I know someone who knows someone I know as well. I like to check on the whole 6 degrees of separation, but I hardly find time for that anymore.

Then again, sites like, Oink or Joost have their benefits as social sites that give people something to connect to so it isn't such a bad idea.

beetrice said...

oh yeah...a lot to be seen on sites like Friendster..of course, you get plenty of pics to see from friends you don't get to keep in touch with regularly...

but on the con side, those same personal pictures are flying all over cyberspace...and you have to wonder...into whose hands??

Timodee said...

well, if you get up to 1000 ++ friends, you'd expect them to probably just be considered 'acquintances', as it's impossible to know 1000 'friends' per se...(unless you're a friggin politician, that'd imply that everyone's your friend, but people would probably hold differing views about you, hehe)
but i do find friendster helpful in keeping in touch with friends abroad, and also some curious browsing to find friends of friends (that's usually quite interesting)

Merv Kwok said...

I know this guy who goes around friendster looking for girls to 'friend'. I kinda find that disgusting.

As for myself, Friendster is cool. Helps me keep in touch with all school friends I've forgotten about hahah

Kleio said...

I don't fancy Friendster too. Found the wave lenghts there to be very much different and distasteful sometimes. The comments are eeky! The photos are screaming for lewd attentions. Sorry I just can't help it.

That's why I am on VOX ( Found the ppl (crowd) there to be very pleasant and genuine. Plus I love the international appeal of it. Made a couple of new friends online at VOX. All decent and nice.
Love the exchange of culture and philosophy.

Tine said...

Kamigoroshi: Hmm you just reminded me on the deal about the six degrees of separation thing. It would be interesting to find out for sure if that's true, but yeah, I reckon I can't be arsed to do so.

Beetrice: Oh yeah, no kidding girl. The photos I saw on Friendster are borderline soft-core porn. Tsk tsk tsk. Many a time I wonder if someone else uploaded the photos for these girls, or did they actually put it up themselves?!

Timodee: Honestly, I don't think I have even have that many acquaintances to begin with, but then again, it could just be me. Friendster IS helpful, no doubt about that, but man, so many of which I saw take it as a popularity contest than anything else (I've even seen it in action).

Merv: Yep, that's exactly what I was going on about. I've seen that too.

I use it to keep in touch with my old school mates too. Fantastic to see how we've ... err ... 'moved on in years'. Hahaha!

Kleio: Oh yeah, lots of lewd photos all right. Hmm ... will check out VOX :)