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A long time ago in 2005, I started writing about social networks. I signed up for everything, and invited everyone I knew to join my circles upon circles of friends. But, when you attend a networking event and give your card out to 50 people, you ultimately only follow up with those who interest you. And so it is with social networking sites.
Now, in May 2007, my networked life is pretty set. I have active profiles on Friendster (for my pals in their 30s), MySpace (for my pals who make and share music), Facebook (for my pals in their 20s), and LinkedIn (truthfully, I have no idea what this one is really for, but suddenly everyone I know is doing it). I don’t visit any of these sites because I have to, but because they’ve lodged themselves firmly in the context of my life. I make it on to the first three at least once a week, and sometimes multiple times in a day. And I make it on to LinkedIn every time someone I know somewhere signs up and asks me to connect to them.
Here’s the thing: I want my other virtual identities to just go away already. Yet they come back to tease and annoy me constantly. Sisterwoman.com sends me flashy notices reminding me that somewhere some group of Gen X and Babyboomer women are swapping photos I might want to see. MyYearbook emails me every day to tell me that I have a secret admirer, inspiring constant annoyance. If I could remember my password or even my handle, I could proactively remove the profile, but I’m lazy and forgetful. And then I start to wonder how many profile corpses I’ve abandoned. And is there a quick and efficient way to clean my virtual house?
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