Tuesday, February 18

Why friends should not let friends use Friendster

I know a friend of a friend of a friend who was utterly addicted
to Friendster. However, this friend of a friend of a friend would
not admit to her addiction. Thus, my friend, my friend’s
friend, and I decided to have an intervention.

For those of you who have a life, Friendster is a massive,
profile-reading orgy of a Web site. Members of Friendster have
access to an FBI-like database that reveals fascinating and juicy
tidbits such as: Johnny lives in San Mateo, Calif., works as a day
trader and enjoys listening to Huey Lewis and the News. However,
the nicotine of Friendster is no doubt its network feature.

When we confronted our Friendster-addled friend at her
apartment, I asked her how many people are in her “My
Friends” list. Our collective knees buckled when we learned
the number was 476. Sure, I’ve heard tales about mythical
Friendster users with a thousand “friends” in their
respective collections, but the thought of it being someone so
close and dear to me, especially a friend of a friend of a friend,
made my heart sink.

Tempers flared and eyeballs glared once the word
“intervention” came out of my mouth. You could cut the
tension in that room with a high-powered chain saw. She became
defensive, refusing to acknowledge her dangerous and unhealthy

Turns out the weapons of mass destruction are not in Iraq or at
the Mirage in Las Vegas. They are strategically placed on
Friendster to destroy your free time, your meal time, your study
time, and perhaps most frighteningly, your hygiene time. When
you’re on Friendster, time doesn’t fly; it gets shot
down, blown to 476 flaming pieces upon take-off.

According to her roommate, a day in the life of our Friendster
addict starts with a morning dosage of home page browsing. Once she
signs in, the browser remains active and the Friendster site stays
on the screen for the duration of the day. The poor soul
periodically checks the site in between classes. She even ditches a
lecture just so she can finish reading the latest batch of
testimonials she receives from her friends.

That’s not all. Since a testimonial usually begets a
return testimonial, she spends hours typing up messages like
“ThIS giRl’s gOT It All”¦bEautY, BrAinS, aNd a
SWeEt peRSonALitY”¦a tRuE FRieNd.”

She needed help.

The first step in a 12-step program is all about admitting your

However, even after all the above evidence was presented to her,
our deteriorating friend was still in denial. She even questioned
our friendship and threatened to kick us off her list of friends. I
angrily told her that I wasn’t even on her list, prompting
her to send me a friend request (which I accepted of course) and
then immediately delete me from the list (which made me mad).

I was ticked off that I lost the chance to be Friend No. 477.
Plus, her blind stubbornness was beginning to wear on me. With my
composure on the back burner, I proceeded to inform her that it was
the opinion of several of her friends that she’s fast
becoming a “Friendster whore.”

Stunned, she quickly posted a question on Friendster’s
Bulletin Board, inquiring of everyone if that were true. When the
responses turned out to be affirmative, she started getting
teary-eyed and buried her face into my shoulder, asking for

At this breakthrough moment, I regrettably uttered, “Hey,
can you hook me up with that Jolyne girl on your list? She looks

She’s no longer a friend of a friend of a friend.

E-mail Chang at [email protected]

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