Mixi’ng with the wrong crowd

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.

And here is my account if you wanna be my friend.
Mixiプロファイルを作ったよ。Mixiに居たら教えてね。

10 comments

  1. Well, one big part of my japanese friends is using mixi abusively, and they are organizing a lot of events through some so-called “communities”. The sad part is that they tend to forget that people may not be inside mixi, and therefore not be aware of everything. So far I managed to resist the evil. I doubt I will last long.

  2. Neuro: bah, it’s ok, well stick with conventional communications 😉

    MacTuitui: as I was saying, I’m not overly in favour of these forms of gated communities… Typically, joining one of these networks for the sake of joining it sounds like a waste of time to me. However, provided the underlying idea is to make communication with your friends easier and more convenient, rather than *replace* it, then I don’t see a problem with that. It sounds like in your case, your friends find a direct incentive in using a software such as Mixi to make co-ordination easier: I can’t blame them, I am myself quite impressed by the way it works and see a real use for it, on a very concrete level.
    Go ahead, try it, you’ll like it 😉

  3. Sounds interesting. My GF is Japanese and I have been meaning to learn her language. (Eventually we would like to get married and might end up in Japan.)

    Odd timing that I was asking her about something like this about 10 minutes before reading your post.

    I might, in the future, have to try this.

  4. Yep, mixi is much much better than Friendster and the like. This actually gives you an opportunity to find people who really do have similar interests.

    Don’t use it too much but have found some good information through the communities. And, I’m sure it would be a more fun way of putting some Japanese in practice!

    (ps, apologies if this comment appears twice, my pc seems to be acting up…)

  5. ‘ 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. ‘

    The irony of such a comment is indeed overwhelming; however….
    the reality of the masses wanting to kick it with you because you own a Mac;
    well that is just plain strange.

    And then there is the question of actually being able to play, read, and compose music..ie musician; which is a whole other matter.

  6. hey i have a question. could you possibly send me an invite? I tried logging in recently but for some reason it won’t let me. if you could send me an invite i would greatly appreciate it

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