Saturday, May 20, 2006

Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer

I finally managed to take a look at myspace as I've been intending. The dig in the ribs that I needed was a poster advertising the Lexapalooza Festival at GJ's a local boozer and promoting it via the URL

I set up a free account at and started noodling around. I can see that it potentially brings together almost everything that one might need to socialise online (with the possible exception of messaging) but I'm unimpressed by the way that it is walled off from everything else on the web. I can't see how you might get an RSS or Atom feed from it to subscribe to a blog for example.

There is a funny article here from the LA Times about the intense, hot house flower culture that is evolving on myspace. Maybe that is why da yoot like it, I'm more of a red wine, good cheese, Elgar, Auden and slippers man myself these days. Take a look at one of the myspace dilemmas:

LET'S begin with an exercise. First, name the eight most important people in your life — friends, family, rock stars. These are your Top 8. Now rank those people in order of importance. Finally, send a copy of this list to everybody you know, including people who didn't make the cut. Be careful not to hurt the wrong feelings, or you may end up getting bumped from other people's Top 8s.Go ahead and bite your nails. Realize the magnitude of these decisions.
J.D. Funari is hoping that clarity prevents offense. A week after logging onto MySpace, the 24-year-old TV editor from Studio City posted a disclaimer above his Top 8: "Since this 'preferred' listing of friends can quickly become unnecessarily political, I'd like to briefly explain my sorting technique," he wrote."The first spot will always be my brother (for obvious reasons) and the second spot will always be my friend Katie (for reasons obvious to Katie and I). The third and fourth spots are reserved for music and movies of interest. Five and six are wild-cards which may be related to how well I know the person and/or if I'm dating them (opposite sex only) and/or if they've paid me for inclusion. The final two spots are, to be perfectly honest, the two most attractive current female photos from my list of friends."

My test account on myspace says "you have 0 friends". and will probably stay that way as I can't see myself going back.

I quoted Tim Berners Lee the the other day, advising us to set up FOAF pages. It turns out that the Friend of a Friend (FOAF) project is about creating a Web of machine-readable homepages describing people, the links between them and the things they create and do.

I think I'll have a look at that in a little more detail If its a more accessible version of the myspace friends system I might use it to keep a record of the different folk I have met online.

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