“It May Be Complicated… But It’s OUR Complicated!”

Once upon a time, there was a social networking website called Friendster.

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Friendster had a good thing going for awhile, being the only decent social networking website on the Internet and all. But then Friendster made a few mistakes, and people stopped using it. Even though Friendster is still out there today, most people consider it dead.

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Then another social networking website came along called Facebook.

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Facebook had a good thing going for awhile, too. Since Friendster had already paved the way for social networking, there was already a broad user base to draw from, and LOTS of people joined Facebook. (Facebook made some pretty big mistakes, too, but we’re not going to get into that right now.)

Facebook and Friendster had a lot in common. They both let people post information about themselves. One of those information pieces was “relationship status.” You know, like single, in a relationship, married, etc. Friendster went a step further than the standard categories and added a category called “it’s complicated.”

Facebook decided this was a good idea, and they did the same thing. After all, many relationships are complicated, and it’s important to let people express themselves in a way that fits.

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Then Dead-Friendster yelled out, No! No! We said that first! It’s ours! And they added a trademark symbol to it, to claim their territory.

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And then the Internet laughed and ignored Dead-Friendster, because even though Dead-Friendster wanted to be important again, you just can’t trademark a complication.

And because the Internet is a cruel, cruel place, the Internet decided to give the trademark (in spirit) to Facebook. Just to spit in Dead-Friendster’s eye.

And they all lived complicatedly ever after.

The End!

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8 Responses to ““It May Be Complicated… But It’s OUR Complicated!””

  1. Koan Says:

    All hail the beauty of complication! The beauty of simplicity and Occam’s Razor notwithstanding, deeper beauty can be found in the infinite richness of diversity and variation – which is grand, in my book – but attempting to *trademark* that?

    Silly Friendster!

  2. Jon Says:

    What’s really annoying about Friendster these days is that you get the feeling that they aren’t even trying to do much other than just, well, be there.

    Some days, I ponder how I would build a social networking site. I’m already working on ideas…

  3. sarah Says:

    Hey Jon, I completely agree. Although, couldn’t it be argued that the others are sometimes doing the same thing?

    Social networking sites are only as effective as the commitment of the people connected with them. I don’t think we’re lacking in decent social networking sites — I think we’re lacking in a collective consciousness of how to use them.

  4. Jon Says:

    Or, how to use them beyond the MySpace example of a site where you can blast people with your music when they go to your profile, or seduce you into clicking onto their porn site that will somehow bill you via your bank account to escape; or the Facebook example which seems to be keyed around minigames.

    Hm…Tribe has been good, when it’s been up and running. The only issue with that is that it is very much like Usenet in the old days (back when we had to use acoustic couplers to dial into the big iron Unix servers and we were Happy!)-it lives or dies on the enthusiasm of the people on it.

  5. Emma McCreary Says:

    Hee, I love the comic.

    What I wish is that all the social networking sites would talk to each other. Someone should create an open standard in ‘profiles’ and ‘friends’. Kind of like OpenID I guess, but better. Then I would only have to update my “relationship status” in one spot.

  6. Jon Says:

    Social networking sites will remain proprietary as long as each of them has something different to pitch to their client base.

    Which isn’t a bad thing. Competition is a good thing three times out of four.

  7. Emma McCreary Says:

    Maybe I’m a hopeless hippie but I don’t agree. I think that niches make competition obsolete. I use FaceBook for much different things than LinkedIn or Zaadz. Each network meets different needs, so they aren’t in direct competition. By making it easier for people to join each of the networks that they want to use, it would help all of them by lowering the barrier to signing up.

  8. Jon Says:

    Not entirely….a good niche social site is Orkut, which seems to have become the default social site for most of Brazil. :)

    Give it a few years, it’s starting to shake out interestingly.