Some of these sites really are as wacky as sites can get.
friends4days.com – Formerly fo.rtuito.us., this Web site is perfect for people who want to social network but don’t have any friends. After you sign up (registration is free), you’re automatically assigned a random friend for four days. Then you decide whether you’d like to take the plunge and actually become “friends.” It’s essentially backwards social networking: striking up friendships with people you don’t know, rather than managing all your real-world contacts online. We exchanged a few messages with an IT guy from Chicago, and communicating with this random cyber stranger was pretty much as expected: awkward.
hamsterster.com – Why should pets be left out of the social-networking fun? First came Dogster, the social-networking site for dogs. Then Catster. Now Hamsterster. When will it end? Just how far will pets go to reach out to their long-lost friends at the pet store, or to finally make the plunge and ask that cute pooch out? Pet owners can post profile pics for their pets, as well as necessary facts like gender, birthday, favorite activity, favorite toy, and a mini bio (where writing in first person seems to be the trend).
whoissick.org/sickness – This is a hypochondriac’s dream site. Let’s say you’re feeling a little under the weather. Simply log onto the site, type in your ZIP code, and you’ll see a map with little pie-chart icons on it. When you click on an icon, you’ll see what kind of symptoms each “sick” person in your area suffers from. You can then add your own info and symptoms to the map. When we checked out our ZIP code’s health, we were alarmed to see an abundance of people suffering from “headache” and “tired.” Pretty serious stuff.
greatboyfriends.com – Sick and tired of hearing the people around you complain about their never-changing singledom status? Visit greatboyfriends.com, and create a profile your sibling, single friend, or coworker, then altruistically exaggerate their talents and post a flattering pic. Before you know it, they’ll be flooded with requests from other victims of set-up dating. Although the concept seems strange and slightly pathetic (“Friends don’t let friends stay single!”), the homepage already boasts a grand total of two “Success Stories.” If “Sarah the Skeptic” found love-and even marriage-we’re sure your friends can, too.
workfriendly.net – Taking a break to surf the Web can be a cubicle dweller’s only source of sanity. But what if the boss finds out? WorkFriendly.com will open any Web site in a page that looks like a Word doc–so there’s absolutely no way for anyone to know you’re not working. Until your boss gets suspicious that you haven’t returned any of your expense reports in the past couple weeks. If you’re quick enough, move your mouse to the “Boss Key,” and the text of the Web site will be replaced with a motivational doc with topics like overcoming procrastination and time-management skills. We say, proceed with caution.
imeep.com – If you’re like most people, you’ve probably been using an instant-messenger program for a while now. And wow, IMing with friends can get pretty annoying after awhile. Don’t they have anything better to do? Why does Ashley always insist on using winky emoticons? And why does John put “lol” after every unfunny phrase he types? Although your natural reaction might be to drop AIM, think again before blaming the tech; try picking up some new buddies instead. iMeep assigns you a random person to chat with–any person who happens to be online at the same time as you and is capable of pressing keys on a computer keyboard.
snubster.com – One of the oddest Web 2.0 experiences is being friended by people you have no interest in communicating with in real life. For those who want to quit living the social-networking charade, Snubster may be the solution. Instead of displaying your friends, interests, and favorite movies, Snubster shows lists of people and items that are either “On Notice” or “Dead to Me.” People on your lists receive e-mail messages notifying them of their unfortunate status. The whole concept makes us nostalgic for the rainbows-and-butterfly world of Facebook, where we list our enemies as friends and receive reminders of their upcoming birthdays.
i4giveu.com – Part PostSecret.com and part Catholic confessional, i4giveu.com offers an outlet for people to express their “sins and secrets.” Instead of receiving absolution from a priest, fellow site members rank your confession on how “forgivable” it is; these rankings combine to form your reputation as an angel or a devil (or somewhere in between). We’re not sure why anyone would want to do this; perhaps receiving poor ratings helps a person atone for his misdemeanors, or maybe being told that a particular action is easily forgivable helps alleviate some pent-up guilt.
smile.frensync.com – You probably know one of those people who’s constantly fishing for compliments. Now, you can direct her to a site where she can meet others just like her. On Smikioo–the name is a combination of “smile” and “kioo,” the Swahili word for mirror–users post pictures of themselves smiling, along with a short intro. Then, other users (inexplicably known as “frens”) provide feedback on their first impressions. According to the site, Smikioo isn’t meant to encourage vanity; rather, it aims to “explore perceptions and help bridge self-perception and public perception.” Whatever.
prisonerlife.com – With social-network sites available for the retirement crowd, preteens, and business professionals, we suppose it shouldn’t surprise us that a similar site exists for prisoners. But what’s fascinating about PrisonerLife is that it’s accessible to the public, so anyone who wants to can peruse the site’s message boards. There are ads for pen pals, legal help, and community boards for communicating with other prisoners, as well as information on executions and links to work by prisoner artists.