Thursday, January 05, 2006

Human Botnets IV

They say if you mention Scientology online, your web traffic spikes. I've seen similar behavior here after writing about the Myspace top 12 friends hoax. Hits nearly doubled, and about 38% of total traffic for the last week and a half (that would be 38 out of 100 total visitors, ahem) has been from people searching on yahoo for "Myspace top 12". Welcome new readers. For the record, Tom never offered top 12 friends for forwarding a chain letter, switching your top friends list from 8 to 12 or even 16, like most other things in the standards-ignorant, browser-crashing world of Myspace, just involves digging around in the source code. Click here, you fiends, and figure it out.

People are losing their shit about this for at least two reasons: (1) Having a profile that looks different from everyone else's commands a certain amount of respect. It's like: "Cool, how'd you do that?" This is a really productive thing, it's driving a generation of newbie script kiddies right through copy/paste coding and into real html and CSS. We should be looking forward to what they come up with, maybe they'll even figure out how to keep those embedded movies from crashing Safari all the time. (2) The top 8 (or top 12 or whatever you L33T Myspace HAXORS can conjure up) is a like a constant shoutout to those 8 privileged peeps of yours: you are representing yourself, on your page, through those people you have selected to show up on your top 8. This is why a major source of chatter in the comments boards (other than everyone accusing each other of being emo: my friend SiliconGirl over at Xanga has the last word on that), is from people going "Oh, so I'm not in your top 8 anymore, what's up with that?" This stuff is pure Social Capital. That link is to a text by neocon political philosopher Francis Fukuyama. A key quote:
"... social capital is an instantiated informal norm that promotes cooperation between two or more individuals. The norms that constitute social capital can range from a norm of reciprocity between two friends, all the way up to complex and elaborately articulated doctrines like Christianity or Confucianism. They must be instantiated in an actual human relationship: the norm of reciprocity exists in potentia in my dealings with all people, but is actualized only in my dealings with my friends."
Y'all know what friends are, right? as of this writing, Tom has got 47,273,658 of 'em. How many've you got?

Human Botnets I
Human Botnets II
Human Botnets III
Human Botnets V

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