aNewDomain — For some reason you aren’t listening, but contest apps on Facebook and sites like Ashley Madison have been trying to tell you you’re stupid, narcissistic and gullible. Apps like one I found on Facebook deliver this message indirectly, for instane, by telling you that your first name actually means something absolutely ridiculous. And people keep coming back for more.
My advice: Summon up your willpower and resist clicking on that “What does your name mean?” contest on Facebook or similar invitations that prey on your insecurity, boredom, weaknesses or whatever.
But a contest like “What does you name mean?” is kind of fantastic, when you think about it. It asks you to put in your name and makes you agree to share all your Fakesbook data (including your best friend’s private phone numbers and email). Then, a fraction of a second later, you get some ridiculous response that means bupkis.
Women typically find out their names mean Xena the Warrior Princess or some other such bullshit. And what’s amazing is how many people fall for this. We’re talking a staggeringly Ashley-Madison-esque number of people.
So we all see one anothers’ Fakesbook activity, and we see that our mothers, girlfriends, sisters, wives and female colleagues all are Xena the Warrior Princess. But no one gets the least bit suspicious. And they keep taking these stupid tests, giving up data to do it.
Why? Why do people do this? Why do people participate in scams designed to lure you through loneliness, narcissism and boredom?
Eight people searched for me today on Google!
Academia.edu tries to lure me back day in and day out with emails telling me who has searched for me where. “Eight people searched for you today on Google.”
That kind of thing. I’m almost narcissistic enough to care. Give me a publish-or-perish job and maybe I’ll fall for it.
It’s the same pandering crap they’re using to get your data on Fakesbook.
Same scam, different outfit.
I mean, shit. You know what your name means. You looked it up in the baby book your mom left on the dining room table as a subtle hint to you that your lovely wife’s bio clock is ticking. And your mom really needs someone to leave her Danbury Mint presidential plate collection to.
You click the promotion anyway.
The last couple of days, though, people have just been filling the test up with profanity.
Yes, ass-hat means Warrior Princess, too, according to one user. And that is probably true.
And then there’s that stupid timewaster with the eight green squares.
The top right square, any idiot will notice, is a slightly different green. “Like and share when you find the one that’s different!” it says.
Yeah, it’s some kind of game. And now you think you’re smarter than everyone else because the display shows you were the genius user who managed to see the slightly different green square.
Look, everybody can see it. It’s set up that way, to get data, to acquire reach.
You aren’t special. And even if you were special, no one would care – except perhaps to the extent that specialness opens you up to exploitation.
There are a hundred iterations. A math problem that is easy to solve if you just pay attention. A picture with a hidden element.
You hit “Share” because you feel superior. But you are not superior. You’re just a bored, lonely slob like me. And you have nothing better to do than seek solace and look for validation on Fakesbook.
Oh, and there’s lots of stuff you should be doing, but it’s all so depressing or anxiety-provoking that it’s easier to fill your time with crap that kind of makes you feel smart. Crap that actually lends reach to people and companies who totally don’t deserve it.
You know, AL’s Ashley Madison preyed on the gullible, stupid and narcissistic, too …
Avid Life’s beleaguered Ashley Madison is actually a bot site designed to lure in men who feel unfulfilled or lonely or entitled or bored or just curious or all of the above.
So you make a profile in Ashley Madison to get started but, just like in a dating site, you have to sit back and wait for some hot chick or cute dude to contact you. And in the meantime, the system encourages you to browse other profiles. Look around. Get comfortable. Try to get in touch with a few more people, maybe, once you wade around and see.
You’ve been promised easy, commitment-free sex with hot chicks who want to cheat on their husbands. We’re talking some serious fantasy playtime here.
Except there aren’t really any women on the site. A few, I guess, sure. But according to an analysis published in Gizmodo by writer Annalee Newitz, the tiny fraction of female names on the 31 million name list Ashley Madison hackers dumped seem to be faked females. Bots.
And you can bet those bots will happily ping your Ashley Madison inbox, make you think that with just a little more commitment of resources you’ll get lucky, that you’re just on the edge of a low-risk affair. Risky. Sexy. You’re so edgy.
But, really, you’re on the edge of nothing.
A site like Ashley Madison works by taking advantage of your moral weakness, your curiosity, your basic feelings of human isolation.
Don’t fool yourself, though. You’re not special. You’re just another slob who is living a fantasy life online instead of a real one in the world somewhere.
It’s a little surprising just how many profiles are on there, I guess. It is less surprising if you know anything at all about human nature.
The best predictor of cheating, psychologists know, isn’t dissatisfaction, but opportunity. And pornography is a multi-billion dollar a year enterprise, and blah blah blah, etc. and whatever.
I’m no moralist. It’s just that … well, it just is all so banal. And tawdry. And, ultimately, so stupid. And I’m not just talking about Ashley Madison. I’m talking about all the dumb, scammy contest sites who want to tell you more about yourself, the stupid games just there to flatter you into buying something, all those dumb Internet scams created because someone out there thinks you’re gullible, stupid and narcissistic.
And perhaps you are!
I mean, what did you think was going to happen? Everyone can see that green color, everyone. And no, your name doesn’t mean Xena the Warrior Princess, even if you do think you resemble or once resembled the actor Lucy Lawless. And even if you discovered, in fact, that Jennifer really does mean Warrior Princess and the name Jonathan really does mean Hercules the Hungry, who the hell cares?
It is all so stupid.
And the Internet marches on, existing, as it does, solely to make other people money.
For aNewDomain, I’m Jason Dias, which means Conan the Destroyer.