How to Lose Friendsters and Influence People

Gary Turner kindly invited me to join him at this Friendster thing. I looked, sniffed around, signed up, hung out for a couple of days, but now I'm quitting - for four reasons:

1. The whole thing was starting to genuinely creep me out. Positioned as "a social and business networking service", I think Friendster is quickly revealing itself as less a viable business networking thing; more of a meeting ground for desperate horndogs, hose beasts, and wannabe swingers too clueless to realise there are already thousands of real swinger sites online.

Either way: I'm already taken and not interested, thanks.

2. I received a message from someone I've never met who is apparently "connected" to me through the forced six degrees of separation Friendster sets up for you. It's a seriously odd message. This person wants to get together for coffee to discuss "areas of mutual concern", whatever the feck that means. And that's the sane part. The rest is really quite unnervingly odd.

3. I've made plenty of real friends through this blog already - some of them very good friends indeed.

The perfect example, in fact, is probably Gary Turner himself. I've only ever "met" Gary through our separate and shared blogs. We've never even spoken on the phone. And yet I'd certainly consider him a friend. I'm taking the fact he asked me out to play at Friendster as a sign the feeling is mutual. (Thanks, mate.)

Point is: I think I'm getting all the Friend mojo I want through just being online, thanks very much - don't need no aspartame-flavoured Friendster sweetness to help me along here. Friendster aims to solve a problem I just don't have.

4. The last straw. Checking in at the site tonight I noticed my account page flagged with an Alert! message in big red type.

The message reads: Please Enter a valid Last Name

I did. It's: Michael O'Connor Clarke. That's my whole last name right there. Perfectly valid. Says so on my passport.

Screw with my head and my ideas of what constitutes friendship all you want; but build a site so clue-deprived that it can't even cope with apostrophes or double barreled surnames, and you try my patience.

More succinctly: fuck with my name, and you can fuck yourself, friend.