A while ago, it was "My Space", the grand social place to be. Then the site was run into the ground by the My Space powers that be. Facebook rose up to fill the gap as it is more or less a My Space with a prettier face. Now with the whole uprising regarding Facebook and user privacy, one would think with all the shrill screams and shouts, Facebook will soon suffer the same fate as My Space: insignificance. It won't happen. Many will shout the same things about Second Life and how the powers that be (read: Linden Lab) also will run it into the ground, or at least turn it more insignificant than it already is. I beg to differ.

What I would refer to as "successful failures" - meaning a "failure" to those of us who use it and expect more, but not in the least as far as the general public is concerned. They simply don't know any better and thus, they maintain the successful nature of the thing. Even though a huge number, possibly a majority of users are completely inactive. At least this is how it feels on Facebook and the SL Grid. Not so with Twitter because it's a rather targeted system. We each create our own little worlds or "rooms" where we find and see only those we follow directly. So it feels busier than it might be at the big picture level.

It just depends on which side of the door you're standing on, I suppose. I never have been much of a twitterer even though I have a Twitter account The same is true with my Facebook, Lined-In and myriad of other "social media" accounts. However, I decided to try a little experiment to see if my gut-feeling on a few particulars about "social spaces" were accurate. They are.

Within a few days, I received so many friend requests from people I've never heard of and who no doubt have never geared of me all coming out of the woodwork like crazy. I had to turn off my email notifications because of it. So here we are, a few months later. Not a single one has written on my "wall" or mentioned me or even written on their own walls it seems. Not so much as said a single "hello!"

It's a game. For many, it's a simple game to see how many friends I can get in my friends list.

How many followers I can get on my Twitter feed. How many RSS subscribers I can get on my blog. So I can feel important. As though people actually give a rat's behind about what I think on anything. At all. This is true for anyone and everyone who creates these accounts on these social media spaces and chooses to use their Second Life (or other anonymous) persona. I think the same may be somewhat true on the grid also. But one thing I have discovered about Facebook and Twitter and the Second Life grid: your friends aren't. Not really, anyway. Some turn into really strong acquaintances. Many are drive-by "hiyas". Most are just a number. Another notch on the "friend stick just so I can say I have more than you or worse to make myself feel better about...myself.

Of the hundreds of friends I have so mysteriously obtained on Facebook, I think two or three actually wished me a "happy birthday" Saturday. Of course it was just the system sending them a system message "these friends have birthdays today" and they shoot-off the messages like clockwork. however, I agree it was at least thoughtful they took the effort. As far as Second Life grid and friends go, there are three I work with as part of our (we are a team) store. I don't know which of them remembered, but they three each passed along happy wishes and I do appreciate that more than any others.

Except one.

I saw it this morning. A couple days after the fact...
A simple "happy belated birthday".

This happy birthday wish actually carries the most weight with me. It feels the most sincere. I know there wasn't some computer calendar reminding them of the day. I know they didn't have to send the message. I know they went out of their way to send it.

It was from someone who only addressed themselves as "L".
You know who you are.

And you know what? I know who you are, too.
Thank you.