A few months ago, I finally opened a myspace page; my number of friends grew quickly, as a hell of a lot of my ‘real-world’ friends, acquaintances and co-workers had been nagging me to get one so they can chat with me. It seemed silly to me, just as email once seemed silly to me; why not just call or come over?
As the character Rez, from William Gibson’s novel, “IDORU” once said, “that physical thing…there’s nothing like it” … but almost right away, I became fascinated with what I called, ‘drift-searching’ profiles. I’d punch in random names and just surf myspace, looking for something that grabbed my eye. Along the way, I found a LOT of things I didn’t like; a veritable continent of reasons to back-up why I found so many people shallow. And then this happened…
My friend, Lilly had a huge fight with her boyfriend and he kicked her out. This was nothing new and she always ended up moving back in within a few days, so I allowed her to crash on my couch. She used my computer constantly as the two days became four and then five; I might have gotten fed up however, she’d brought a large quantity of ‘party favors’ to keep us occupied.
One night, Lilly unexpectedly burst into hysterical tears and choked, “oh NO!!! NO!!!” over and over. I asked her what was wrong and she said,
“He removed me from the number one spot on his friends list!!!!”
At the time, through a veil of supreme intoxication, what I felt was a mixture of disdain and confusion. Now, I think about it and it seems to be to be the perfect precursor/analogy for the coming world. Lilly and her boyfriend got back together shortly thereafter (she called me to happily inform me that if I checked, I would see that she had reclaimed her spot at #1 on his “top friends list” … but the whole thing now strikes me as a dubiously profound statement of where our society is headed.
The digital age is already in full swing, depending on who you talk to, but when I cruise myspace (which I find myself doing less and less these days) and look at the pictures –and words – people have selected to represent themselves to the other inhabitants of the digital world, I think again William Gibson’s novel, “IDORU” … of the characters, Zona and Kelsey, in particular.
“IDORU” EXCERPT 1: “Zona, her blue Aztec death’s-head burning bodiless, ghosts of her blue hands flickering like strobe-lit doves.”
“IDORU” EXCERPT 2: “Kelsey drew her nymph-self up with elvin dignity, batting manga-doe lashes in disbelief.”
October 13, 2007