What I learned this weekend:
I have what the cool kids are calling “social network fatigue.”
I am also, apparently, what the fine folks at Business Week call a “fogey.”
Here’s the deal: I work in advertising. As such, pressures exist to stay on top of all the current trends. Thus, I have always been tasked with knowing what the kids are into and trying to predict the next fad to coming down the pike.
I’ve listened to the oldest, whitest, most out-of-touch individuals spout off phrases like “we need to increase the bling factor” with no idea that the phrase they are using has been dropped from the popular vernacular.
Needless to say, this newfangled internet contraption has been one of the key places to search out new and unique trends. I get something like nine thousand emails a day from various sources of “cutting edge information” about the net’s latest crazes. As a rule, these articles clog up my inbox for a few months before getting deleted when the IT guy sends me a nasty-gram about disk space usage.
When the choice is between my iTunes and work-related materials, the work stuff will lose out every time.
Anyway, I was actually bored enough to parse through a few of these notices before trashing them the other day when I came across this little nugget: Fogeys Flock to Facebook.
The article was referring to Facebook, which is the darling of the moment among the so-called social networking sites. Just a week prior, I’d had three people send me emails asking to join their friend wall or whatever the hell it’s called. These same people had asked me to be their friends on My Space and their pals on Friendster. All three had asked me to become a part of their Linked In network one week prior to the Facebook request.
I’ve always understood that one of the draws of the internet was that you could be anybody you wanted, but do I really need to be five different people? It takes me days to answer emails sent to the personal account I actually check on a daily basis — it’s the gmail one, for any friends who are still trying to contact me via hotmail, yahoo, aol and/or any of the work emails of former employers — how am I supposed to be good at responding to bulletin postings on a website who’s main function seems to be making it easy for my old high school girlfriends to find me and piss off my wife?
Not to sound like a fuddy duddy (too late, I know), but I was a Friendster pioneer back in the day. I had a profile with pictures and personal tidbits way before Dogster and Catster came around. I have one friend who still updates thier friendster profile. I get a friendly reminder in my hotmail when I do my monthly check to dump all of the junk mail collecting there. I want to tell her to move on, but I’m not sure where to send her. I’m sure there’s going to be some new networking site starting up tomorrow that lets you keep in touch with all of the people who you went to summer camp with after fourth grade.
When My Space began taking over the world, I couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about. Hadn’t people seen Friendster? It was the EXACT SAME THING!
Of course, I was missing the point. It wasn’t about being unique… it was about being there. Once everybody has migrated to Facebook, the alpha dogs will sniff out CamperBuddy.net (I checked, it’s available) and lead the rest of the pack there soon enough.
So, now I’m trying to decide if I should write some clever new thing for my Facebook profile, or lift the clever nothings I used on My Space to save some think time. I’ll try my best not to feel like a pervert for hanging out on a website designed for college kids, and I’ll write a strongly-worded letter to the editors at Business Week. Over thirty does not a fogey make. Dumb punks.