See My Friends

Alarming news in the Telegraph this week; apparently the average 20-something has over 1000 “friends” on social networking sites. It makes the 67 friends of my real-life Facebook account look pretty pathetic, but I’m positively gregarious compared with Johnny, my Second Life avatar, who can muster a mere 20 virtual chums (though some of them are fairly impressive, like Peter Ludlow and Bettina Tizzy). I suppose he could add in his Twitter followers, which would yield a slightly more respectable total of 94. Despite this seeming lack of interest, Johnny is “influential to a tightly formed network that is growing larger“, according to internet reputation assessors Klout, but I would take that with several pinches of virtual salt.

At least Johnny’s account seems to have survived Facebook’s latest purge of avatar profiles; being under the radar does have some advantages I guess. The site’s continuing hostility to pseudonymous accounts is mystifying, since they seem essentially harmless, and boost the membership total, which is a key metric in the social networking industry. Maybe avatar profiles use more electricity or something.

It does make one doubt the wisdom of the Linden Lab strategy of encouraging residents to use Facebook though, since anyone who spent time creating a profile and carefully building up a circle of friends, only to see their work disappear in a flash, will, I imagine, be feeling pretty pissed off with the whole concept. Most long-term residents live in a perpetual fog of dissatisfaction anyway, so I don’t suppose it makes much difference.

I wonder how long it will be until Johnny heads across the river…

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