To all hi5 users…

… I suggest this as a late night reading. It won’t stop you from using hi5 (it didn’t stop me at least), but it’ll put some (much needed) perspective on its (mis)use.

It’s not just Facebook and it’s not just me. Every “social networking service” has had this problem and every user I’ve spoken to has been frustrated by it. I think that’s why these services are so volatile: why we’re so willing to flee from Friendster and into MySpace’s loving arms; from MySpace to Facebook. It’s socially awkward to refuse to add someone to your friends list — but removing someone from your friend-list is practically a declaration of war. The least-awkward way to get back to a friends list with nothing but friends on it is to reboot: create a new identity on a new system and send out some invites (of course, chances are at least one of those invites will go to someone who’ll groan and wonder why we’re dumb enough to think that we’re pals).

EDIT: I’ve been wanting to complete this post for some days, but it’s just now I got the chance. And perhaps the first thing to do is to complete the above with the paragraph that follows it, which states the same conclusion, if somewhat more firmly:

That’s why I don’t worry about Facebook taking over the net. As more users flock to it, the chances that the person who precipitates your exodus will find you increases. Once that happens, poof, away you go — and Facebook joins SixDegrees, Friendster and their pals on the scrapheap of net.history.

Now in the Portuguese scenario, Facebook isn’t that popular, but hi5 is. And Doctorow’s (the author of the referred article) conclusion also stands for hi5, as the email from which this was excerpted (in Portuguese) shows:

Olá gauthma,

Você tem 3 amigos esperando por você no

It is basically an invite to yet another social network, and some of the inviters are from (surprise!) hi5! And another one joins the “scrapheap of net.history.”

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