Internet services have been rapidly expanding these past few years. From online shopping to online gambling, one can't help but notice the vast array of entertainment the Internet can provide.
A recent and growing trend in this www world is online communication. What started out simply enough with instant messaging services like AOL Instant Messenger and ICQ has now turned into an online marketing revolution as "virtual communities" like the Facebook and MySpace.com multiply faster than bad Ben Affleck movies.
A message post on these online communities is the lowest form of communication known to man. Far worse than a text message, not even comparable to an instant message, it wouldn't even be a head nod from an acquaintance as they walked by. These "social networks" are just an easy way for college students to see what their old friends have been up to without actually having to pick up the phone and call them. Finally, no more need for that highly overrated and exceedingly difficult "verbal communication."
The Facebook is generally referred to as the start of this de-evolutionary process, but most people have forgotten that the originator of this evil concept was actually Classmates.com.
With too many marketing gimmicks and annoying pop-up ads, the Facebook with its superior format easily overtook Classmates.com. The Facebook gives college students the ability to keep in touch with fellow students and old high school acquaintances through online messaging, groups, image posting and most importantly "poking" one another.
As far as accessing the Facebook, all one needs is a college e-mail address and the madness can start. The Facebook is only the beginning of the process however; a gateway drug that leads addicts to their next brain-melting stop: MySpace.com
MySpace.com is a step up from the Facebook in that instead of just college students, any old creep with a computer can view a member's profile. Myspace.com offers similar services to the Facebook, but has a much wider range of users spanning from high school students, to bands, to perverted old men with way too much time on their hands.
MySpace.com also gives members unlimited creative control to their home page; from backgrounds and graphics, to music and videos, the possibilities are endless and nine times out of ten INCREDIBLY ANNOYING.
Like the Facebook, but with a vaster and less censored selection, MySpace.com has an unlimited amount of groups, which members can create and join.
This is by far one of the more refreshing aspects of MySpace.com, as groups like "Old Skoll Nickelodeon Fan Club" and "Dane Cook Fans" have tens of thousands of members, while the "I Still Love Avril Lavigne" club only has one member. There is a disturbing side however, as groups like "Claymates" and "We Look Like Clay Aiken" exist. Ironically, all 15 of the sad individuals belonging to "We Look Like Clay Aiken" also belong to a group called "Zoloft: When a Good Breakfast Just Isn't Enough." Zing.
What's the next stop on this metaphorical and life absorbing train ride? The possibilities are endless. What starts out innocently enough with the occasional checking of messages and spending a minute or two looking for old friends, inevitably turns in to a blood-thirsty competition where one's only goal in life becomes having more friends on their profile than anyone else. After the move from the Facebook to Myspace.com has been made, the downward spiral has begun; and before one knows what's going on, he or she is talking to 80-year-old men posing as women in their mid-twenties through online dating services.
These online communities boil down to deceitful marketing gimmicks designed to consume student's lives. In terms of numbers, CU's presence in these social networks is almost twice that of CSU's, proving CU students are much more susceptible to life-wasting decisions.
Joining the Facebook or Myspace.com is like giving a pervert a pair of binoculars and the address to your house. They may not require any money, but at the cost of one's soul, the price to pay is high. So forget this retina-burning form of communication and try to remember the beauty and occasional mild odor of the spoken word. Shut your blinds to peepers, perverts, and other circus freaks, and make sure to just say no to online communities.
Steven Gross, 882 friends and counting.
Steven Gross is a senior finance major. His column appears every Thursday in Verve.