Social (Network) Retardation

I just checked my MySpace account. And my Facebook account.

I hadn’t done that in three weeks. Before that, it had been two weeks.

I’m burned out on social networks, and I’m coming around to realizing that they ultimately serve no purpose whatsoever in my life. None. They don’t do anything for me. They don’t improve my life, though they often serve to neglect my life through a virus-like spreading of time wastage.

I signed up for MySpace a while ago, back before the Facebook explosion, because I had friends on MySpace. I customized my page and then started searching. I came into contact with people I hadn’t heard from in years, commented on people’s pages and felt voyeuristic in my search for more and more obscure lives that had at one time passed through my own.

And when I quickly grew tired of the MySpace monster, I switched to Facebook, just a few months after they opened the sluices and took the “organizations and schools only” barrier off of the front door.

Now I can barely tell the two apart. MySpace has added all of Facebook’s best features, while Facebook keeps slipping further and further into the gadget market. Those people I had yearned to rediscover? They’ve been rediscovered. Those voyeuristic natures? They’re commonplace.

When the luster wore off of the social networking sites, they were exposed for what they were – an inefficient system of keeping in contact with your friends, a black hole of non-productivity. It has an allure to some people, I’m sure. But I’m tired of collecting friends like baseball cards, and I’m exhausted with keeping up with 50-75 people. At once. I refuse to add more applications to my Facebook page, and I’m tired of finding seventeen friends replaced by spam monsters through MySpace.

So the sites sit, neglected. Wasting away, comments trickled to nothing, birthdays going ignored, messages thinning and winnowing. They sit, waiting for me to return. But aside from checking for news every few weeks, like an abandoned Hotmail account filled with junk mail, I wouldn’t be surprised if they just fall away all together.

I can’t be the only one already letting go of 2.0. Can I?

This was lovingly handwritten on January 3rd, 2008