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Friday, June 01, 2007

I Bebo, Therefore I Am (a tweenage girl)

Column from Day and Night magazine in today's Irish Independent

Being the easily peer-pressured, follow-the-herd merchant that I am, I caved into the online social networking craze from the get-go. To not do so would have signalled me out as 'different' and the Gods in heaven know I'll do anything to avoid that label.

I've been quite a consistent "social networker" since then, albeit not on MySpace (the officially 'cool' one), but rather on Bebo (the 'tweenage girl' one). "Social networker" is a phrase I find simply hilarious though. It's not so much a "social network" as a haven for the "excessively curious" ( i.e. nosy parkers) or "thorough researchers" (i.e. stalkers).

Bebo and the likes may have originally developed as a way to keep in touch with friends, but, lately, it's taken on a much wider remit. I had this confirmed recently while chatting someone up. He didn't ask for my number or even my MSN address.

Instead, he asked for a link to my Bebo page and he hasn't been the last person to ask something similar of me or others I know. What good is a number or simple text message anymore when you can gain far deeper insight into a potential love interest's life by way of their personal web page?

Bebo, for example, will have ample photos on display, lists of hobbies, evidence of who a person's friends and even their exes are, as well as a glimpse into the person's personality and sense of humour.

Why, it basically does all the hard work of a first date by getting all the rudimentary 'getting to know you' awkwardness out of the way, without actually having to go on a first date with someone. Talk about efficient time management.

So if you don't keep your personal web page up-to-scratch, you'd best get cracking. If things keep going this way, pretty soon nobody will form an opinion on you until they've auditioned you by way of your Bebo. And to think that so-called experts said the internet would destroy our ability to relate to other people on a human level. What a bunch of quacks, eh?

1 comment:

Gav said...

Wow, Dec, that's pretty much bang on the money! Especially when with the magic of Bebo stalking I found this guy and this other guy - both of which are other Declan Cashins of the world, though sadly both with private profiles, denying you the chance to converse and gain such insight into the first one who's from Geelong, Australa...

Who knows, you could start your own little Dave Gorman collection with this!