Social networking sites such as MySpace (for which Rupert Murdoch paid $580 million last year) are vast celebrations of solipsism. “My interests are music, girls, sports, clothes, cars and oo did i forget to mention girls,” writes Lex, a featured member of MySpace.com, whose page I wandered onto a couple of days ago. Charming, though slightly less so when it develops that Lex is 23 and includes a picture of his wife.
Or is this blond babe really his wife? Sure, you can live a fantasy life on the Web, reinventing yourself at will. But the vast majority of people on these social networking sites are revealing themselves as honestly as they can.
There’s an element of amiable self-parody about a lot of this that makes it bearable. Or is there? It’s hard to tell. Surfing aimlessly, I stumbled upon a Web page that describes itself as “The definitive site for finding out ‘What is Doug Doing?’ ” Doug himself writes: “So I know what you all are thinking . . . Doug never updates this!” Doug seems genuinely apologetic about not keeping us up to date on the minutiae of his life. For myself, I’m worried sick that the grad course and two music history courses Doug is taking this semester, which he says are driving him “a little crazy,” may not leave him enough time to keep the page totally current. Remember your priorities, Doug, and don’t let school get in the way of maintaining your Web site.
For the ultimate in solipsism, check out Twitter.com, a site where — once you register — you can answer the question “What are you doing?” At 7:47 am on Monday, for example, Lynda was going to get a glass of cold water.
With an explosion of dynamic investigative work, opinion writing, and news-based social networking going on across the web–from TPMMuckraker on the left, to the milblogs, to the War on Terror and conservative blogs policing the make-it-up media, to Power Line’s new forum, to Pajamas Media–why is it that Kinsley can’t find anything better to write about than some random MySpace page and Twitter.com?
And why is it that the Washington Post can’t find anything more informative, timely, and insightful about the Internet to publish than the once-pioneering Web journalist Kinsley’s own aimless old twittering?
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