March 9th, 2004

master's voice

antisocial networks

wasting time on orkut (i.e. like Friendster, but with a less obvious name) tonight, I rediscovered that you can (anonymously) rate your pals as to whether they are "cool" (an ice cube) "sexy" (a heart) and/or "trustworthy" (a smiley). they call these ratings "karma". You don't know how many of your listed pals have bothered to vote, or if they ranked you 0-3. generally, anyone that seems to have any points at all has them evenly distributed: anyone 60% sexy is usually about 50-60% cool. BUT...

Looking at one of my single female pals, I find she has 7 "trusty" points, 20 "cool" points, and 16 "sexy" points, whereas one of my married female pals is 14 trusty/14cool/7 sexy. randomly clicking friends of friends, I notice single people seem to get more "sexy" points and married/partnered people tend to get more "trusty" points, maybe because it seems less creepy to rate a person who isn't on the market as "trusty" than "sexy", especially since there isn't an option for "sexy but with an armed boyfriend that will beat me up if he finds out I've been rating you 3 hearts".

So what is it about "sexy" that seems contrary to "trustworthy"? I think I would rate the trustworthiness of pals according to where they fall on the "returns books they borrowed from me" to "would they drive me to the hospital at 2am if I had the stomach flu?" scale. I like to think anyone I'd find "sexy" enough to actually pursue would at least be book-returning trustworthy, and hopefully up to "will drive me to the hospital after work around 6pm", if they don't meet the 2am holy grail. I can drool over people who are sexy but not to be trusted (me and Alex used to have a joke about how Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music had the persona of a man who would sweep you off your feet, make love to you all night, and leave a rose on your pillow as you slept, as he snuck out the door with your VCR), but in real life, sexy and "somewhat concerned about my well-being" go hand-in-hand.

I'm not exactly intepreting these orkut points to mean "I'd do him, but not loan him a CD", but if that's the case, that's a
pretty fascinating (and grim) view of what it means to call these people in our social networks our "friends."

also, now that I'm on the topic, there are already at least 3 of these damn things. nobody create any more of them unless you have some major improvement to contribute, because I know I'm not the only one tired of entering profiles on the damn things after getting an "invite" from a friend.