February, 2007

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To use the term “friend” loosely…

Thursday, February 15th, 2007

Writer and historian Henry Brooks Adams once wrote, “One friend in a lifetime is much, two are many, three are hardly possible. Friendship needs a certain parallelism of life, a community of thought, a rivalry of aim.”

I wonder what Adams, were he alive today, would have to say about MySpace?

Sure, it’s a “social networking” site, the point being to “network”—form social relationships with other people. But how meaningful can a relationship with another person be, when one is, say, one out of 245? I’m fairly distrustful of anybody who has more than a few dozen “friends” on their MySpace account. Is “friend” a “best friend since childhood” or “someone they once greeted at a party”? Naturally one can expect more of the latter than the former, but I also see a lot of people with MySpace “friends” with whom they’ve never so much as spoken or written a word.

True, I can’t “know” that for a fact, but it stands to reason because I get “friend requests” from people whom I don’t know, who have never before made any attempt to communicate with me. Moreover, on the odd occasion where I’ve accepted them into my list of friends, they’ve never followed up with any further communication… So what was the point? It renders the whole social networking—much less the term “friend”—completely trivial and meaningless. People do it, I suppose, because it requires less effort than introducing themselves via an E-mail message, but what does it say about them, that typing a few words (instead of clicking the mouse a couple times) is too much effort?

Maybe I’m not hopeless after all

Monday, February 12th, 2007

I’ve been casually browsing the personals ads on CraigsList, replying to a select few that pique my interest. Much to my annoyance and frustration, I’ve never received so much as a whisper of a reply to any of my enquiries.

Tonight I figured out why. It turns out that the way I’d been replying to messages: cut-and-pasting the CraigsList-specific E-mail address, subject line and message text into my Gmail web client, simply doesn’t work. For some reason the CraigsList message forwarding service refuses to forward such messages. Only by clicking on the E-mail link and using my own local mail reader am I able to issue a reply that gets through. I verified all of this by sending a few different test replies to my own CraigsList ad.

I wish the messages that I sent out “incorrectly” would have bounced though, as that would have saved me considerable trouble and vexation.