I finally caved in and got myself a Mixi account.
I am not exactly a big fan of so-called “Social Networking” software. Overall, services like Friendster, Orkut et al. have always seemed more of an attempt to make up for years of high school unpopularity, than actually trying to establish meaningful connections between people.
Well, that’s a whole other debate altogether, but frankly, the mere idea of “Social Networking” kinda irks me. That pragmatism of friendships that contend to be mixing mutual feelings of appreciation with some sort of social ladder climbing scheme. You no longer have “friends” on miscellaneous degrees of closeness, you have “contacts”, rated on their ability to help you reach your own social goals. Back when I experimented with Friendster, shortly after it was hailed as the dawn of a new digital age of human interactions, things went a bit like:
Step 1: create a semi-anonymous profile with hobbies, likes and dislikes. Mention that you like to play with electronic music production. Watch the level of activity hovering close to zero outside of the friends you already knew before joining.
Step 2: add a mention in passing that you actually release records, organize parties in SF, and mix for some of them. Watch as over a hundred “friends” suddenly pop-in, add you to their contact list, quickly start trying to sell you their own demo mix or grab guest list comps.
If anything, this laughably caricatural episode taught me one thing: never mention in too much of a positive light any of my professional activities outside of purely professional discussions. If we are having a friendly chat in a social context and it turns out I may be able to help you or we may enter in a mutually beneficial partnership, I’ll be the judge of that, but please save me the fucking faux-friendly courtship that wastes everybody’s time and does nothing to convince me of your professional qualities. Yea, I guess I’m not exactly much of a schmoozing PR guy.
This post-dotcom brand of opportunism, along with the equally ridiculous concept that the friends of your friends ought to be cool people (let me tell you something about the friends of my friends: to an overwhelming majority, they are drug-addled, self-centered, alcoholic pricks. I certainly don’t want anything to do with them) is why I can’t wait for this braindead concept to go down the dot.com drain.
Why have I joined Mixi then?
A few reasons:
1) I need to practice my Japanese more, and Mixi being 100% Japanese is a good way to force me to read and write regularly.
2) The communities and calendar functions make it an infinitely more useful tool than the “You have 3 millions friends-of-friends” traditional Friendster feature.
3) It’s pretty fucking well done altogether.