Helen Popkin
By
msnbc.com
updated 4/30/2009 1:21:10 PM ET 2009-04-30T17:21:10

Talk about insecurity! Facebook’s been trying so hard to look cool ever since that new kid Twitter hit town, it’s hardly recognizable. The euphonious “is” was dropped from status updates, the profile page is more like a laundry list of junk, and now Facebook is opening its infamously closed network to outside developers which will allow users to access Facebook without going to the site. It’s as if Facebook doesn’t even know who it is anymore.

Facebook needs to remember that every social network is special in its own way! From Facebook to … um … Friendster, there’s plenty of room on this infinite InterWebs for everyone. Here’s a lesson, written in Facebook’s current favorite app (the quiz) to remind the social network – and its fans – just how special it really is.

After all Facebook, you don’t have to be Twitter. Things could be worse. You could be MySpace, LinkedIn, LiveJournal or … um … Friendster. (Answer key below ... no peeking!)

When your users log on, you ...

A) … choke on your own surprise and throw up a picture of a whale.

B) … pretend to be Twitter.

C) … try to induce seizures with fixed backgrounds and unrequested music files.

D) ... do something legitimately useful like help them find a job.

E) … show pictures of cheap hookers. You know, because you're Friendster.

F) ... ask for money.

***

When you hang out with other social networks, you  …

A) ... name drop your new buds, Ashton and Oprah .

B) ... challenge them to Mafia Wars.

C) ... insist they meet this crappy band nobody's ever heard of, then force them to listen to crappy band’s demo tape.

D) ... Network! Network! Network!

E) ... ignore snarky comments about cheap hookers and casually mention you've got more monthly unique visitors than any other social network ... in Asia. Why, in the Philippines, you're totally famous!

F) ... share the latest “House” fan fiction, a hurt/comfort scenario between House and Dr. Wilson. No, this one’s really great!

***

Gadgets that make you look like a jerk

Your ideal user …

A) ... talks about business and/or sex in tiny sound bites unencumbered by a great deal of thought.

B) ... has personal details you can sell to your first love, marketers.

C) ... hasn't heard of Facebook.

D) ... needs a damn job/is hiring.

E) ... wants to be everyone's "special friend."

F) ... has a profound heartache that needs to be shared with the world via the timeless medium of crap poetry.

***

Your user wants to apprise others of his or her status. You …

A) ... hobble them with a character limit and convince them it encourages only quality posts. 

B) ... check real quick to see how Twitter's doing it.

C) … one word: MIDI!!!1!

D) ... provide tips for expanding connections, updating a resume.

E) ... suggest your user learn Tagalog.

F) ... encourage them to "Upgrade to Paid. It's less than $2 a month and AD FREE!"

***

Your user tells you something very personal. You …

A) ...  live and let live, unless it's about dying, then said user is referred to Demi Moore .

B) ... SELL IT!!!!

C) ... are cool as long as user isn't a registered sex offender or otherwise creepy adult pretending to be 14 years old and into the Jonas Brothers.  

D) ... simply don't have a way to let the user tell you. No one wants to hire a crybaby.

E) ... send another user over with hot oil and a towel. 

F) ... would be surprised if they didn't.

***

Your user is starting to suspect you’re not trustworthy. You …

A) ...  just got them fired .

B) ... quell their fears and stop the annoying petition groups with a patronizing "vote" the majority of your users will ignore. Then do whatever you want.

C) ... dump user's account and call Chris Hansen.

D) ... wonder quietly if user is schizophrenic. You're the most sensible social network out there.

E) ... are frankly surprised someone took the time to think of you

F) ... accuse *the user* of not being trustworthy ... troll!

***

Google calls at 3 a.m. You …

A) ... roll over in bed and ask just who in the heck Google is talking to at 3 a.m.

B) ... let it go to voicemail. You're with Microsoft now , and have absolutely no ... sniff ... regrets.

C) ... bolt upright in a cold sweat. That $900 million search and ad deal you made together before Facebook got huge? Was it a sweet dream ... or a horrible nightmare?

D) ... cross your fingers, hoping it's good news about that job opening.

E) ... can't believe somebody called!

F) ... are asleep. It's a school night, bbs.

ANSWER KEY

If you answered mostly ...

... A's: Three cheers for Twitter! The future belongs to you ... for now.

... B's: Remember Facebook, when you try to be something you're not, you alienate the friends you already have.

... C's: You know old-timey brick n' mortar stores Macy's and Gimble's? Facebook is Macy's. MySpace, you're Gimble's.

... D's:  LinkedIn, thanks to this economy, why, you couldn't be more popular!

... E's: HeyFriendster! You've conquered everyone in Asia and a large contingent of folks in the United States who could probably be "talked" into giving great "oriental massages."

... F's: Greetings and salutations LiveJournal, and congrats on that new fan fic!

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