I just registered into Orkut (Google's version of Friendster according to Slashdot), thanks to an invitation from Don Park -- thanks Don. Part of the registration process contained one my pet peeves, a question about ethnicity that had [african american (black)] as one of the options. As if both terms are interchangeable. I almost picked [other] since the designers of the software seemed to think that people of African descent that aren't citizens of the United States weren't a large enough demographic to have their own option in the drop down list. I ended up going with [african american (black)] since I didn't want to confuse people who'd be looking up my profile.

Checking out a couple of people's friend networks it seems the misgivings I had about Friendster which kept me from using it when I first heard about it are accurate if Orkut is anything like it. Online folks seem to have a weird definition of friend. When I think friend, I think of someone you'd give a call and say "Hello, I just killed someone" and after a pause their response is "Shit, so what are we going to do about the body?" That isn't to be taken literally but you get the idea. A friend is someone you'd go to the ends of the Earth for and who'd do the same for you. People with whom my primary interaction involves reading their weblogs and exchanging mail on various mailing lists don't really fall into the "friend" category for me. Lumping those people together with folks I've known all my life who've been with me through thick and thin who've done things like let me hold their bank card with the PIN number to use in case of emergencies when I was broke, trusted me to come up with my share of the rent and bills when I had no job and no prospects because I gave my word, and helped me get out of trouble when I thought I was in over my head just seems wrong to me.  

There are acquaintences, friends and folks I'd die for. Lumping them all into one uber-category called friends just doesn't jibe with me. I'll play with the site some more later today but I doubt I'll be on it for long. I've got some stuff coming in from IKEA this morning.


Monday, January 26, 2004 7:00:17 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Not that I'm inquiring about your immigration status, but I'd assume that you're a Nigerian citizen. So "african american" doesn't even apply, unless it just means an african living in america? What about people of african descent not living in America? I guess if they want to use Orkut, they'd have to pick "other".
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