Today I went to my favourite magazine store and bought a stack of new ones, so my head is just swimming with ideas and plans for new projects.
Anyway, of the items that stuck out was a report in the newspaper that there is a site called where you can “buy” friends for your Myspace, Facebook or Friendster profile. Starting at $0.99, you can buy the image of some hottie (cheesecake or beefcake) who will “comment” two times a week on your page. And so the sales pitch goes, having said hottie be your friend will attract other friends to your space and make you the most popular kid in school. Hey, wasn’t that the plot of Can’t Buy Me Love starring Patrick Dempsey?
When you have to start faking it to the point where you’ll pay some nutty company for a picture of some girl’s bum to get others to like you and link to you, I’d say its time to give up the Internet, and either get a diary or go play outside.
I suppose the users of blogging services/social media sites like Blogger and WordPress are a little less visually obsessed than those above, but I must admit that it does often feel like blogging is just one big popularity contest. You write and then wait for the comments to start flowing, the visitor counter to uptick, the blogroll and Technorati rankings to climb. I’m not about to start faking commentary or press people into linking to me, like I have heard others have done.
These days, there’s more at stake than just social currency. There’s money to be made from Internet popularity. For example, publicists often write to popular bloggers and ask them to promote stuff in return for free tickets and merchandise. It’s like high school with endorsement deals. There is also Adsense or Amazon Associate advertising to think about – the higher the traffic to your site, the more likely you are to make any money from putting their ads on your site. As reported by Darren Barefoot, there are even companies that match up bloggers with advertisers who will pay to have reviews written of their products. Again, the better your visitor counts, the more likely you are to make some money.
We all have our own motivations for pressing on with this blogging thing, whether it’s to write, keep up with friends, get popular, or make money. On and offline, let’s face it, we all want to be liked and important. Would you love me more if I had pictures of hot friends on my site? If so, get the fuck out. MySpace and the people who run FakeYourSpace await.