Friday, July 13, 2007

Im in yr Facebook, getting in yr face

That poor bastard, Damian Christie. Besieged, he is, by people treating him like the PM at a press party and wanting to be his friend on Facebook.



As it is, I'm partly responsible for this. I sent Damian just such a request earlier this week. I have met Mr Christie exactly once, at Mighty Mighty some months ago when he drank me under the table. Under usual circumstances, this would not be an occasion to base a friendship on. For good or ill, internet social networking sites use different criteria.

I've run the whole gamut of social networking sites. Back in '95, sitting in the alt.fan.tom.robbins IRC channel; in '98, getting my jollies with a Yorkshire divorcee I met in the MSN chatrooms before they got killed off. Fun as it was, there's a limit when typing is the only means of contact. Adultfinder.com, NZDating, MySpace got nary a wink, certainly no decent nudges. So this email arrives early in the week and invites me to the Republic New Zealand Facebook group. It's raining outside and bollocking cold, there's nothing on the box, I'm all YouTubed out and Arts & Letters Daily is just too damned dense. Why not.

Behold, in a matter of days, Facebook proves I have 6 friends in New Zealand. In real life, Captain Hook could count the number of my real friends with one hand. But lo, the internet shows how much more popular I am! Any day now, I'll correlate my blog page views with Facebook and work exactly how popular I am to five decimal places.

In Facebook, Keith Ng is my friend. My first real contact with Keith was when he fisked me in Salient a couple of years back about my nightmare organising a J Day in Aro Park. For a long time, Keith Ng was nothing more than a lot of unanswered voicemail messages. I have met Keith once, at a Great Blend gig, and found him to be a nice bloke. Buy him a round, but I'd have to upgrade to Facebook Pro to do that. But now Keith is my Friend. We have so much in common. We are both in a Group called People Who Always Have To Spell Their Names For Other People. As it is, Facebook can't even spell my bloody name properly. It's a small d.

If you join Facebook any time soon, be sure to become friends with David Lange. He doesn't post much, but already has 50 friends. Woohoo! I am one eighth as popular as a former PM! David Lange belongs to 21 groups, including Let Us Change Our Facebook Color Scheme. If one ever sees reason to do so, one could always send a tickle to Deborah Hill-Cone, although the hubby might have something to say about things like that.
But slagging Facebook is easy. It has its benefits. For one, people are using their real names as opposed to avatars or sexygirl69, who may or may not be your former woodwork teacher. By and large, the pictures are more or less the people they represent. There are exceptions, such as Jeremy Greenbrook-Held's, which is either as photoshopped as an election billboard of H1 or a SouthPark imitation (Strange but true; the night Damian drank me stupid, I almost threw up on Jeremy in an unrelated incident).

Facebook is an improvement on prior networking, in that people are more honest now than previously. All we have to do now is work out out what to do with it. From what I gather, social networking sites are great for teenagers to discuss angst, trade Vogon poetry and news of the latest Glassons sale. For the rest of us, it's a tool without purpose.

My primary aim with Facebook is simple. It is the same as all other social networking sites I've subscribed to; pick up chicks and get laid. Thing is, all my Friends on Facebook are blokes. Unless they have available sisters, this is not going to work. Ah well, no harm. I could always start a group called, I dunno, Wellington blokes talk shit and pick up chicks.