Friday, August 8, 2008

Do you Friendster?

I’ve been a member of Friendster since November 2003. And just when I thought that my account has gone stale, I was proven wrong. Yesterday I added a cousin to my friends list and today, a classmate from grade six. Now I have a total of 252 friends in my network, not a lot but plenty nonetheless.

Among the 252, around four may vaguely remember me. A little over that number are people I don’t think I know because they changed their names to hide their identities (which I don’t get much). Perhaps nearly half of my friends are grade school and high school classmates while the other big bulk is composed of my college classmates. A very small number comprises the people I’ve met during my practicum days. Some are people I’ve worked with who eventually became my friends. Of course some are family (That includes my dad who has finally uploaded pictures! Way to go!) and relatives (I’m glad the number of relatives is growing) while some are friends of the family. And then few are boyfriends or children of friends and/or family. It’s that diverse!

To tell the truth, I was clueless about this social networking thing when everyone where I spent a few months of internship were going crazy over Friendster. I was like, “Frriend-what?”

But eventually, I jumped into the hype. I think it was Jill who first added me as her friend but it was Leng’s invitation that I accepted first simply because she was seated next to me in the internet shop and she talked me into going about opening my own Friendster account and approving her in the process. I am the ultimate cyberbobo, didn’t you know?

The fun part is gathering as much friends as you possibly can. That’s how how berks and I got addicted early on. At one point, we made a pact not to visit any internet shop during the day to minimize our addiction but what do you know? We ended up catching each other sneaking in the Coop internet shop in between classes! Haha! (If I remember it correctly, computer rental at Coop was around Php 15/hr. That’s Php 7.50/half hour. Pretty cheap! Incidentally, when I left the Philippines the minimum jeepney fare was equivalent to 30 minutes on the net during my college days. I don’t know how much jeepney rides go these days but I heard, in the news, that text messaging has dropped to Php 0.50 per message sent. Wow, makakagaan talaga sa buhay ng mga Pinoy! Nakakabusog!)

The fun-er part is composing and receiving testimonials, where you make something like a public palanca* letter for your friend to, I guess, “strengthen” your friendship, and where, in return, you receive testimonials that ultimately make you feel special and loved. [*Palanca letter is the letter you give each of your classmates during your class retreat which enumerates their good and bad traits—I wonder if kids in school still practice this. Can someone enlighten me, please?]

My first testimonial was from Faith. I recall that I compose really good testimonials, I could have probably made a career out of it. (And yeah, I still owe Diane a testimonial in Cebuano.) But not too long ago the Friendster people merged the testimonials with the comments box and as trends would show, no one posts the old-school type of testimonials anymore.

Posting pictures you are proud of was also a thrill. It’s a subtle way of saying, “look, I’ve been there and I’ve done that!” Or then again, it is a simple way of hollering to those whom you know, “Hey, I’m still alive and I do have a life!”

Some would say that Friendster is overrated. I think it has ceased to be. (May Multiply na kasi—haha!) Well, maybe at least to people my age, the hype has slowed down. Comments like, “add mo ako sa Friendster,” “pahingi ng testi,” or “papicture tayo na pang-Friendster,” are no longer heard as frequently as before. Yet every now and then, someone somewhere updates his/her Friendster account, receives a comment or adds a friend.

Unlike its other social networking counterparts like Mutiply, Facebook, MySpace, etc., Friendster seems to never outgrow its bugs and is rather slow in offering new features. Creating blogs, albums and groups came a bit late to Friendster. (But then, my second blog flourished in Friendster. However, I was forced to move out because of how my posts’ formats are messed up every time they are published. These days, I use my Friendster blog to promote my active blog. So if you found this site from my Friendster blog, then my strategy worked!)

Customizing one’s Friendster site is also tedious compared to other social networking hosts. You should be a master of CSS in order to do an overhaul of your site, where as with others, there are readily available unique CSS’s you can further "personalize" just by dragging portions of your site to the desired spot on your page.

But since it is a pioneer to its kind, I don't suppose Friendster will be faced out anytime soon. After connecting and re-connecting with their “Friendsters,” account owners wouldn’t turn their backs that easily to the host that has tapped into their sentimental side.

Am I right or am I right? Friendster has somehow become a household name especially to us, Pinoys. Why else do you think I used it as a verb in my title?

1 comment:

luna said...

haha! nice artik bout prenster. Meron na yata Enemester e. pang enemy naman, lol. alala ko nun una natin narinig yang prenster na yan. sa practicum days natin. dun nga yata ako sa opis nun gumawa ng account na nakalimutan ko agad ang password. gang ngayon pag nisearch mo name ko lalabas yung kalumalumaan kong account na di ko nabubukas. haha. Mas gusto ko na rin ang multiply. hindi ako marunong ng CSS churva eh!