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I love that you grabbed danah boyd's Friendster profile. But of course, because that's going to be the easiest one to find since she was the first person to take social networks seriously. It's been many years since I've invented research questions in order to email her, but based on her willingness to humor me, I'd guess she'd be happy to chat with you about ye olde golden days of social media.

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Oh, interesting! I did not know that she was a special person in this context. But that probably explains why her Friendster profile is still floating around online. Yes I bet she'd be fun to chat with.

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Chatting with her would be a great follow up!

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Those rubber-band balls belong in MOMA:)

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RIGHT??? My doorman has very proudly noted, several times, that it's not easy to make the balls perfectly round. I will pass your compliment along. I'm sure it will help his knee.

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I'm seriously old in that I was 22 in octal before I encountered a computer. I used to punch my crush 's punchcards for his IBM data sets, and my first job computer was a DIGITAL PDP8. But my age never pinched me until I started having to transfer money over Venmo and discovered that depending on how I set my parameters, other users could see my transactions. I went like what the actual fuck is up with THAT!?

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Oh man, it'd be so cool to be able to say you used a punchcard! I wonder what my equivalent will be.

It is very fun, BTW, to scroll Venmo and see what random users are spending on. We humans are such a bunch of monkeys.

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Who mate for freaking LIFE. We are celebrating 50 years of officially sanctioned wedded bliss this year although we lived together longer than that. Punch THAT card!

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Ah, I have found an octal-aware! We are becoming a rare breed. So funny...and Digital Equipment. The Venmo thing, making money a social transaction is fabulous in its craziness. Always fun to put a stupid transaction description like the notes field on a check. You should write a Newsletter, I would read it.

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I really wanted to share that there was a social network in 00s Russia that was basically like Facebook for ex inmates. Alas, apparently it was just a spoof. But my naive teenager self really believed it!

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Oleg it's never too late to make this vision a reality!

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I hope to be known for better things. Like a social network for pets, for instance.

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Although something like that was already tried and piloted by fellow Lithuanians - https://www.dailysabah.com/life/2019/02/05/tinder-inspired-app-lets-dog-lovers-in-lithuania-find-perfect-pet-match

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First off, welcome back from vacation, Anne! Second, I don't think your text about the rubber band ball was too weird. Honestly, it can never get weird enough, but that's just me, I guess.

OK, this Friendster interview with Ryan was great! And nostalgic! I remember that I liked my Friendster account. It was nice to see some basic info about my friends and their friends, but it was also nice because I don't think anyone took it too seriously. So even though Friendster was my first social network, it didn't feel weird to put this info online or creepy to read about your friends. In a strange way, Friendster might've been the most organic platform ever, or maybe I was just naive. Regardless, I was friends with Pizza The Hut, and that made me happy because it had always been my dream to befriend a Spaceballs reference.

Anyway, I eventually left Friendster for MySpace, where I learned about all the shitty bands in my social network. I figured Friendster was just dead, but somewhere around 2007 or 2008, I was working as a trade reporting covering ad tech, and I got pitched by Friendster PR. I couldn't believe it! I ended up meeting with the Friendster people at a conference. They kept trying to get me to write about how they were a huge gaming social network in Asia, and I kept trying to get them to resurrect my old account and tell me what happened to Pizza The Hut. I don't think I ever filed a story on Friendster, but if I had, it would've appeared on a website that went out of business somewhere around 2017. Thanks for the nostalgia and the insight on this one, Anne & Ryan!

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So glad you enjoyed the Friendster Q&A! Haha, I WAS one of the shitty bands on MySpace. And I love your Pizza the Hut Friendster PR tale. This is what the internet is FOR!

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I definitely think we need to hear/see your days in a "shitty band"? Sounds like a pretty good story....

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I agree with Neal! Let’s hear about this band.

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And I’m pretty sure the two of us make a quorum

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Oh golly now I feel bad for calling the band shitty! We were great! Matching red dresses and everything. Our drummer was a repo man! Actually I’ve been thinking an interview with him would a great CAFE ANNE feature. Marcelo Romero where are you???

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I feel like shitty band is kind of a catch all for unsigned bands in your social network. Like they don’t actually have to be shitty. Actually, they can be good. But you know, they friended you on MySpace so they’ll always be *that* kind of band. Also, I don’t play an instrument. But if I did I would’ve formed a band in the early aughts and called it My Friend’s Shitty Band.

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Yes, these are parliamentary rules of newsletters, as I understand them. We have a quorum.

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Regarding the shitty bands, I do want to say that I supported many, many shitty bands by paying outrageous cover charges at various LA clubs. Also, I still have a lot of great friends from those shitty band days, so it was totally worth it.

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Thanks for writing, Anne!

Friendster - no idea it even existed. The transparency of info sounds like fun. To that note, I think there’s a new wave of social media thinking being born out of Gen Z’ers (would love to know other Gen Z’ers opinions as well):

Although I’m not active on BeReal, the success of its concept makes sense. As Gen Z’ers, we’ve tried the 9 different profiles, deleting pictures that don’t get enough “likes”, restarting accounts, etc.. The new fun is just simply saying, “Here I am! This is me! Take it or leave it!”

I could see this trend continuing, and Broderick may be right: maybe Friendster was just ahead of its time.

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Wow it's so interesting hear from someone who has never heard of Freindster! I guess internet culture is a lot more ephemeral than, say, music. Dead internet platforms are not going to come up in your Spotify feed.

It's also interesting to me that I've been thinking people were going to more and more confuse their true selves (whatever that means) with their online identity but now it looks like that trend is being completely inverted. It'll be fun to see.

Hoping, like you, to hear from more Gen Zers on this...

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Sep 4, 2022Liked by Anne Kadet

One aspect of Friendster's death that I've never seen discussed is that it was awash with fake profiles -- not to trick anyone, but to amuse others! You could pretend to be a ham sandwich and have exchanges with dozens of other people/sandwiches: it was great. But Friendster wanted to primarily be a hook-up site (ala the long forgotten Nerve) and started swatting down the satire and parody profiles, which caused a lot of anger amongst users, who then began abandoning the site. I'm convinced that if it had instead just instituted some moderate limits -- no fake celebs, etc -- it would have thrived for a lot longer.

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Oh dern, now I regret I did not get in on all this sandwich fun.

And OMG, NERVE! Totally forgot about that. Is it just me or was online dating more fun in the early days because only crazy people were online dating?

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Plenty of crazy people dating and fucking, yes. Life was good.

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I ate at Teany (I still crave that peanut butter bomb cake. Sigh.) and had a RAZR flip phone (so cool) and whilst I didn't date Moby, I did interview him a couple of times, but I have no recollection of Friendster! But I now feel like I missed out on some fun times! Maybe you can bring it back!

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Jane! We probably crossed paths though I never went to Teany being always and everywhere pro-coffee anti-tea. Never mind what happened to Friendster, whatever happened to MOBY? He was the best car commercial soundtrack producer EVER!

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Aug 29, 2022Liked by Anne Kadet

I remember being on Friendster in college! And being friendsters with all my friends in college! And having SO MUCH ANXIETY about what to write in the "About Me" and "Who I Want to Meet" sections. I am also really struck by/surprised by the idea that being yourself online is passé. Whoah.

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Aug 29, 2022Liked by Anne Kadet

I came back to NYC just after college. It was winter of 1999. A friend of mine discovered Yahoo Personals and was really excited about it. She showed it to me. It said she was blond, blue eyed, 5'5" and 130 lbs. Her height was the only accurate part. I said to her, what on earth is the point of lying!? She said she never actually intended to meet any of these people, so who cares! It made no sense to me, so I went on my first internet date instead, having shaved off just 5 pounds, not 50+. My point though is my friend was not alone in choosing to create an online persona that was more aspirational than real 😂 It had been a battle between 'being yourself' and 'being some better/best/other version of yourself you can imagine' all along. One side lost...

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Yeah, that last notion sort of shook me up too!

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Aug 29, 2022Liked by Anne Kadet

Okay so first off thanks for making me feel like I missed out on making out with Moby while everyone else was doing it. Second, I don’t think your text was weird. Weird would be putting the rubber balls on all your friends’ shrines and sending photos as they travel around. You know, like the yard gnomes in “Amelie”… (BTW if you wanna do it, I’ll make room on my shrine 😂) And thirdly, thank you for the Friendster flashback. I refused to join because at the time I was convinced the whole idea of having online interaction with your friends no less was utterly idiotic. Like why can’t we just call each other?! Then I wasted a few years on Facebook instead 🙄 I do vibe with your comment below, maybe we have to come full circle - from real profiles, to carefully “branded” profiles, to multiple profiles that are all mostly fake, to get back to a place where social networking can be a delightful way of keeping in touch with actual close circles - minus the constant ad noise, the unsolicited opinions of relative strangers, the anger, the FOMO generated by perfectly staged photos of “oh just another day at the beach” etc. The Friendster profile pic looks so quaint. I guess I’m nostalgic for a platform I was never even part of!!! 😂

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Maria, you are now officially my friend on Friendster. :))))

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Text me when it makes a comeback.

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Dec 20, 2022Liked by Anne Kadet

Do you think there are other doormen/door people who create rubber band balls? Could be an Instagram account!

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I will leave that to you, my friend!

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I was in chat rooms as a preteen before going to BlackPlanet and briefly MySpace. Friendster seems like it was too old for me at the time. I went to Tumblr for a while and let that go dark. It’s so interesting to see social media graveyards and the people we were while we were on them.

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Right? After I wrote about Friendster, a reader dug up my old MySpace profile and sent me the link. There wasn't much left of it, but it felt very eerie!

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Oh wow. I don’t even remember what those old profiles look like.

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Sep 6, 2022Liked by Anne Kadet

hi! i got here via garbage day and just wanted to say how much i enjoyed the writeup, but the rubber band story too. i have my own rubber band ball - as a kid i loved on pee-wee's playhouse when he would bring out the rubber band ball or the foil ball to add a new piece and see how big it had gotten. fond memories!

i never joined friendster - i think my first social media (beyond AIM/ICQ/MSN and email) was deadjournal, and then i switched over to livejournal. back then for both sites you needed to have an invite from a current user to join. i still have my livejournal and may go back to it. i did eventually join myspace, because i could not join facebook. when facebook first came out, you needed a college email address to join and i went to a small art school that did not have such a thing. also around that time i joined what i think was called melo, short for melodramatic. as i recall everything was a lavender color, and it was basically like myspace except i used to post embarrassing poetry there, and i think they had some kind of point system with a lot of sexual innuendo, like getting points for popping someone's cherry, i.e. being the first to post on their page etc. i wish i could remember what the points were called! anyway, fun trip down memory lane all around, thank you <3

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So fun to hear all these memories! And its amazing your Livejournal is still active.

If you like rubber band ball stories here is one I did about a lady from Reno who has serious regrets...

https://annekadet.substack.com/i/55850810/i-think-about-him-sitting-in-a-landfill-somewhere-or-has-it-exploded

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Sep 7, 2022Liked by Anne Kadet

yeah, my livejournal turns 20 (!!!) years old in january!

i loved that rubber band ball interview - so funny too that it came via a fellow boston person. i wish she had a picture of it's final form. thinking about it exploding (i never thought about/knew about this possibility oh mylanta) and destroying a small town, or someone finding it and keeping it going until it became a roadside attraction...it's too funny. i also could relate about sometimes getting the "pretty" rubber bands from produce. a lot of my rubber bands are mint green, from when i used to stop at whole foods every week for eggs.

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Just as a heads-up, LJ is owned by Russia and has been for a long while. Many of us bit the bullet and deleted our LJs (after porting them over to Dreamwidth) because there are far too many privacy concerns (and that was BEFORE the war started...) You may want to consider doing the same. 🖤

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I've seen a pattern where doormen get injured and then blame the injury on their job and then retire on worker's comp.

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Sep 3, 2022Liked by Anne Kadet

Good for them

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I do not doubt you, but Mr. Santiago would NEVER! He says he is very much looking forward to coming back.

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Well, the fact that he didn't reply to your shrine email made my suspicious. I think he may be distancing himself from you.

And the fact that you typed "never" in caps and even added an exclamation point to it is a double signal of your deep down unacknowledged thought that I'm right. LET'S SEE!

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Are you taking bets?

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Sure, if you give me odds. You have to admit my prediction is a longshot. Say 5 to 1.

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The sign in the laundromat seeking info on the dog-bed scofflaw reminds me of this sign for a found cat: https://www.thisamericanlife.org/775/the-possum-experiment/prologue-2

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OMG this is such a great clip—it made my morning. "Just thump him in the nose! Just—thump him with your knuckle!" Thanks JRB!!!

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Ha! Similar to the laundromat note!

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Aug 30, 2022Liked by Anne Kadet

I was super obsessed with Ryze for a short while.

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I never heard of this but I just Googled. I love that the homepage features a testimonial from the founder of "Hot or Not."

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Aug 30, 2022Liked by Anne Kadet

Oh it still exists????????? And the design appears to be the same. Whoah!

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