say your piece
ISSUE NO.154 23 OCT. 2003
Is This a Popularity Contest or What?
By Hayley Heaton

currently have 147,897 friends and the number is skyrocketing. How? Well, apart from being innately charming and generally lovely to be around, I'm linked to all these people on

Friendster, as most call it, is an answer to all those cheesy online personal services that typically leave you with a creepy camouflaged feeling the second your profile is posted. When I was first invited to join Friendster I’ll admit that I was a tad dubious about it all. I didn't want to fill out an online profile so that some dude up in Montana could click on my picture and think, “Hot damn, she's got a purdy mouth.” But Friendster isn't like that. Friendster is cool.

  Online hot spot Friendster offers yet another way to waste time on the internet.  

In a recent interview for Spin Magazine, the 33-year-old founder of Friendster, Jonathan Abrams, said, “In real life, you don't socialize isolated, you do it collaboratively with your friends.” This is exactly how Friendster works. It’s set up so that you can help your friends make new friends, make new friends yourself or if you're looking for love, meet new people to date through your friends. It's like a giant cocktail party without all the schmoozing. The process is simple and basically pain-free.

If you haven't been invited yet, just log on to and sign up. Then you can invite your friends to join by e-mail and they can invite their friends and so on. Once started, you can browse through your friends’ profiles and click through their friends’ profiles. And let’s not forget my favorite bit, the testimonials. There is an option that allows you to write gushing words of endearment about each and every person that is on your page. These typically get very creative and fun. I recently wrote a testimonial likening my friend to a monster truck.

Granted, Friendster isn't all puppy dogs and balloons—there are some problems with it. The servers are sometimes slow and once in a blue moon you get an insincere invitation from people who just want to have zillions of Friendsters on their pages. I’ve only received one such invitation from a guy called Gweedo Mofo. He claims to be a pimp. Whatever! Gweedo, if you're reading this, you are as pimpesque as that guy who cleans crap out of the elephant cage at the zoo.

There is also the issue of price. Friendster is currently free, but who knows for how long. The free testing days are few. Fortunately, Abrams isn't planning on charging an arm and a leg and there will be some accoutrements once the site officially launches. There are plans for instant messaging and a better search engine.

All this aside, is a vast improvement on all those other online personals. It provides a sense of security because you're able to create your own private and personal community with people you or your friends already know.

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