Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Of Friends, Social Networks, and Frengers (a.k.a Sayonara, Friendster).

I love this blog. I really do, even when I hardly update and all, the mere existence of it acts as somewhat a solitude to me. When I think of the time that I almost delete it I got shudder behind my spine.

I know I may not have those thoughts again, but people change, eventually, so hopefully, when that time comes, I may be able to think back carefully, and seriously. For the sake of that time, too, I write this post, as a testimony, that when things go wrong, you have a blog to ramble it all out, someplace private enough to be yours alone. I mean, this is my blog, so I can write anything I want here with freedom, right?

This post may be a tad serious (despite the tag of it being random, because duh, I am random) and I cannot believe myself typing this down here either (for emo post like this usually got locked up in Livejournal) but this is not as personal as those, and Lj is still a somewhat social network site to me, so Blogspot, which stands to me as a standalone entity, is somewhat perfect.

I am currently listening to Comforting Sounds by Mew (why, of course) on repeat since last night so if there's anything to blame for my current state of mind that will be it. It's a great song, and it is highly recommended that you listen to the song while reading this.

So, first let's start with a somewhat explanation.

I am an awkward person. I have no problem admitting to that, because it's kinda obvious anyways. Some may say I'm quite a loner, and that, too, is not that far off either. Guess it's in my nature somehow, as people generally sees me as a somewhat quiet person.

In real life, that is.

Until an existence called social networks born in the world.

I studied in a boarding school since 13, and while computer is not that alien of a thing to me, internet generally is, at that time. The only access I can get is via the school's computer lab, which blocks almost everything, except the typical sites; Yahoo, Google, etc. By the urge of a friend, I signed up to Yahoo, and plays chess there occasionally ("You need better people playing against you", or something along those lines, she said).

And then people are talking about MySpace.

Some friends asked me to join, but since I stayed in hostel (the school is not a full boarding school, some students whose home is far -like me it is 2-3 hour journey- stays in the hostel, while majority of the school don't) I declined, thinking it is a waste of time.

A while after that Friendster becomes a somewhat phenomena.

Classmates from elementary school starts tracking people to rekindle those old friendships, so being a friend I am, joined when internet is accessible at home. It was 2006.

But then, for some reason people keep adding me to the list, even from Philippines and all. While people generally will reject the request, I simply approve them, one by one. Before I knew it the number of people accumulates until 800++.

It caught me by surprise, even more so when the number of messages and comments keeps increasing, but then I was too kind, maybe, I make it a point to reply every single one, without fail. There are people who:

1) Thinks I'm a guy ('What's up, bro?'), probably due to the Heiji pic on the profile picture (though I clearly mentioned on the gender it's Female),

2) Discussed the latest anime and manga with me (this makes up the most of the conversations with the most number of people),

3) Simply needs someone to talk to, about love life, family problems, etc (this usually from people who I never know on real life, which makes the deal more bizarre to me, but I helped with whatever ways I can -people did call me a counselor back in high school),

4) Of course, the friends who I already know from schools (which ironically, is the smallest portion of number among the 800++).

But then as time goes by the appeal of the social network starts to wear off of me, and by 2009, the number of visits become lesser as people starts to drift apart. I also focused more on writing stories and other stuffs that Fs simply...become just another thing to me, forgotten.

Around that time, I entered university, and starts this blog.

The number of people visiting this blog is not much, and comments are very far and between, but I was dedicated enough to post stuffs back then (compare to now...). The Friendster notification and all still arrived in my mail (until this very day) but I simply deleted it, like another spam.

And then Facebook arrives.

I was determined on not joining, as I did feel bad for neglecting the Friendster account, and I knew it will end up the same, too. By that time most of the people around me already have a Facebook, and the friends keep telling me to make one.

I was stubborn, at least.

Until a lecturer creates a group for a subject on Facebook.

Reluctantly, I joined, adding the group and the friends. To make sure I'm not making the same mistake, I was (and still am, really) very selective on adding or approving people. I added only people who I know and approves only people who I know, or at least tell me who they are (usually friends from high school who used different name as the username).

But the bond between people is not something easily erased.

I used the same name and the same profile picture from Friendster because I simply like it that way, and to my surprise, there are people adding me, asking, "You are Heiji Hatsutori from Friendster, right? We talked a lot before! Glad to see you here in Facebook!" Or something along those lines.

It really shocked me, for it's been years, and I know I talked to a lot (like damn LOT) of people, and I may have forgotten everything and anything about what we talked about, but here there are, and mind you I never met all these people in real life before, we were practically just friends on a social network, a frengers (which to Mew's definition -it's the title of their 3rd album too- a friend but also a stranger at the same time so Friends + Strangers = Frengers) but they still remember me, they recognize my damn simplistic profile from the sea of millions others in the network, and it took all my willpower to not cry.

It touched me greatly, really.

So we keep in touch, rekindling back all those old friendships, and until today, we still keep in contact with one another. Which is great. Like REALLY great.

I don't feel as bad as I was with Friendster anymore. Heck, it's more like I no longer give a thought about it anymore.

Until now.

This morning a somewhat different notification comes from Friendster. Apparently they are somewhat upgrading the site and will move all the games record and whatnot to the new site, except the profiles, personal data and contact information, in which the user him/herself has to export them themselves in case of security.

So if I choose to ignore this blatantly until the 27th of June, all of the data, friends, profile, all those memories will be gone off the smoke. Somehow (which is weird, considering the fact that I don't even use it at all now) the thought does not sit well with me.

So I login back.

It's been a long time, like damn LONG that everything feels foreign to me. The interface and all have changed so much it feels awkward. The number of friends has gone down to 737 people (still a lot, though I am sure half of them are no longer around -just the profile is there, like me), and comments are there to approve, the latest was dated way back on 2010 (1 year after, which is still somewhat amazing to me) and friend requests are 44 people. The last comment published was on August 2009, not long after I entered UMS-KAL and the comment is also about the entrance from a junior in high school.

It's weird, how everything feels foreign and familiar at the same time simply when I viewed back my own profile. The status was the link to the blogs (both this one and Livejournal) and the background is the wallpaper I used on my desktop before. I used to change the coding of the profile much back then, experimenting on colors and all that it is ironic that coding is the very subject I truly hate when I enter college.

The news feed shows the names I don't recognize and the latest is a girl telling goodbye and thank you, apparently it's her last status, too.

So I did the same.

I wrote, 'It's been a long time coming, but I guess this is goodbye. Thanks a lot for all the memories! Sayonara!' and post it.

Nobody commented on it or anything, nothing happened and all and that's to be expected, but somehow it feels sad. I commented back on the girl, telling her goodbye, and there are other status mentioning the same stuffs too (one even planning on having a farewell party to Friendster LOL).

I don't know if what I'm feeling is regret, and if it is, I don't know what I am regretting for, for there are a couple of possibilities, on not being active, on neglecting the people, or simply, on taking things up for granted.

It may be simply just a social network; you meet people, talk, and share stuffs, the usual. But it may be more than that to some. All those people I talked to, all those people I shared stuffs with, I may not know them, heck, I may not remember them anymore, but somewhere, somehow, they might remember me, and if the short period of time of acquaintance makes them happy, even a bit, I'm glad.
What is the definition for friends, anyway? Just because you know people in real life does not mean they are straight away in friends' category. I can identify more frengers that way to be frank.

In truth, the more I think about it, the more I felt that all those people, in any part of the world, are really friends, not just a frenger. And that thought feels nice, somewhat.

The people who found me back in Facebook (in this case, Ryuu), told me that I was kinda known on Friendster and is a friendly person, and nice, which is weird to me, but then people do tend to be different from their real self on the net, so that pretty much explains things up for me, maybe.

I am an awkward person. I have no problem admitting to that, because it's kinda obvious anyways. Some may say I'm quite a loner, and that, too, is not that far off either. Guess it's in my nature somehow, as people generally sees me as a somewhat quiet person.

But even if I come off different to all those people, it does not change the fact that they get to know me, even for a bit.

If people happened to add me in Facebook after this, maybe I will be less hesitant to rejected the requests. The feeling may not be the same, as Facebook does not come off as friendly as Friendster, somehow IMO. But until the time comes for goodbyes (I've seen a couple of people deactivating their accounts already on Facebook), let's get to know each other.

It will be a good thing, I believe.

Of course, social networks do not last forever, and people may come and go, but the memories may stay.

For now, I will not be exporting the Friendster profile, and I may not terminate the account either. I will leave it as it is, I guess. I still have the link to my blogs on the profile, as well as my e-mail, so I'm reachable if anyone's looking for me. Until they disappear of the server, may the goodbyes reach everyone, wherever they are.

More importantly, I want to say thanks for the memories.

It's really, like really nice to meet you.

And, of course.

Thank you Friendster, for everything.



~The still-somewhat-melancholy Heiji.

Music of the Day: Mew - Comforting Sounds.

[I'll be repeating this song till midnight, I just knew it.]


  1. somehow i feel sad but glad when i'm reading this.. hahaha.. silly me, but those words really do touched me. thanx. =)

  2. Well, whenever I read it back I feels something else altogether too, so glad that others may feel the same~

    You're welcome and thanks for commenting~!