I've been a member of MySpace since December 2004 when I was a college sophomore, about a year after the site launched. I was skeptical. Over the past two and a half years I've acquired exactly 75 friends. I rarely searched for people, preferring to accept or (more often) reject friend requests. I emphasize the rejection bit in tandem with the aforementioned skepticism- the vast majority of friend requests I received were from emo boys with bands or men attempting to woo me. MySpace took on an identity, in my mind, of a virtual "meat market". Rather than meat, however, what is being consumed seems to primarily consist of young women, CPU-heavy (not to mention gaudy) profile pages, and a seemingly infinite number of musicians. The friend requests from artists quite frequently piqued my interest, and musicians and bands make up nearly half of my MySpace friends.
I never made much of an effort on MySpace to accumulate friends, and my profile is somewhat "pimped out" only after a friend told me how lame it was. The *real" social networking service, the one all my friends used and that didn't bombard me with crappy music and headache-inducing graphics, was Facebook. Simple, clean, neat- I didn't have to worry that my parents would find me there, and practically everyone I knew at school used it (thus, for instance, it was highly likely I could find not only kids in my classes, but a phone number or screenname if I had a question about a paper). I have 350 friends on Facebook, and nearly every one is someone I've met face to face.
Last summer I lived in Boston, fell in love with psytrance, and discovered a new way in which I could communicate and solidify the casual friendships I made on the dance floor: tribe.net. Though I have a mere 40 friends on Tribe, what matters is not so much my own collection of friends and spiffy personal profile, but rather the groups ("tribes") I'm a part of. The history of tribe.net is imbued with the sounds and styles of neo-hippies, as evidenced by its popularity amongst Burners (those who attend the annual Burning Man gathering) in the San Francisco Bay area. Activity on Tribe is quite unique from most SNCs I've been a member of: when someone adds you as a friend, they almost always include a personal message; I have several friends from around the globe who share things in common with me; each "tribe" consists primarily of topical forums (less a *badge* than a way to actually share information about a subject with others in the know).
I will continue to expand on this internet autobiography as the months progress, there are many good stories I should definitely get written down! To those readers I know are out there: feel free to share your own experiences... no, encouraged!