People started using MySpace. Then it got clogged with spammers and add-happy users who wanted to increase their friend count. People who truly wanted to social network online moved to facebook. Then facebook got adds, and while there is little commercially induced spam, the constant self-promotion has forced those who are truly reaching out for synergy to move to yet another social networking site: twitter. Twenty years from now, I wonder if the same people will just keep drifting from one social networking site to the next as each becomes corrupted. This will mean connections must be made anew and it kind of resets the hierarchy every time we move. There will, of course, always be change ups with those who remain stuck on a slowly diminishing website and those who jump fresh into social networking online for the first time using the current site.
There should be a name for this phenomenon. I predict once there's a name for it, articles will start to be written about it. Then Apple will come up with a brilliant app to transfer connections between networking sites. Then networking sites will get even more creative and beat the app so you can't do that. Then a new job field will spring up calling for creators of social networking sites which will hire a ton of people to create a bunch of sites, and then lay a bunch of them off because they only need a few people to maintain the massive sites that have grown.
We are the true networkers. We travel from site to site, seeking connection and productivity first and entertainment second. We find havens here and there for half a decade before moving on. The advertising paparazzi follows us around, always conveniently 5 years behind.
In a sense, we are destroying the sites that we love with nuclear fall outs of spam and ads. Once the PR people find it because they want to reach out to us, it will be tainted forever. But the good news is we can constantly create new worlds, resetting the social hierarchies every 5 years. This means if I get rejected by an agent over twitter now, 5 years from now I might get accepted by that same agent on the future networking site, but neither of us will know this happened because we will both have different screen names and probably different IP addresses (unless we both use Macs, of course).
So here's to all my twitter friends, who I talk with regularly, who I used to talk with on facebook, who I used to see on myspace. Once these electronic sidewalks get crowded and we move to other places where we can bump into people, I will see you again in 5 years and I look forward to meeting you at the new alpha site again for the first time. Sorry if you don't make it. I would really have liked to see that other screen name of yours. You know, the one you only bring out once you realize you only have to live with it for 5 years. I personally am going to have my next half-decade identity be PrincessoftheAmazon. I think I can live with all the hits I get from misdirected jungle dwellers and book buyers for half a decade, especially if they're nice and have lived former lives on twitter alongside me.
All social networking sites have a half life, my friends. Don't get stuck as a worm next time around! Build up your karma personality and typing skills and for goodness' sake, weed out all the stuff that makes you sound like a moron. The force of the internet does not look kindly on rebirthing people who will kill the new network with their stupidity more quickly than an add for genital wart cures appearing next to posts about rainbows and puppies.
Drift on, true connectors. Drift on.
Side note: If two people who God made to be together are lucky enough to find each other, what happens if one of them gets stuck on myspace while the other one moves to twitter?
Other side note: I laugh when I see movies and tv shows trying to act current and cool by talking about social networking sites or incorporating them into a crime somehow. It's so obvious they're not trying to bring us entertainment by being relevant to our lives. They're desperately trying to fool us into thinking they are up with the times. It's so cheesy, it works. Every time the chief of whatever-law-enforcement-guild strolls onto the screen shooting personality out his butt and asks, "What's a blog?" (actually, they will probably name a social networking site from three cycles ago that no one uses anymore) and its supposed to be funny that the old guy isn't up with the times, I am entertained by it. I clap and say "Excellent metaphor for yourself, tv show. I'm surprised you're that self-aware." Of course, this is mean of me. I don't really want them to be up with the times because then networking sites would only last one to two years instead of five. But I still enjoy laughing at them because they are not.
And the metaphor that got me started on all this:
Using the word 'post' to describe new information that appears on a website. Kind of interesting to think that long ago, it meant to actually tack a piece of paper to a hitching post or the post of a saloon, etc. Using already existing objects that have a purpose to convey information. Fascinating to think of that as a metaphor for our electronic posts today.
MDA: I used several metaphors in this post without even trying (well, I sort of tried. I like metaphors). Pick your favorite and turn it into an extended metaphor.
Note: an extended metaphor is a metaphor that is not contained or explained in one sentence, but more like a paragraph or two. They're usually used to slow the reader down and make them focus on the metaphor to get it through their thick skulls that the tenure and vehicle are really, REALLY alike.
Or just write an extended metaphor on your own. You don't have to use mine.