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How Friendster Works

        Tech | Social Networks

Friendster Connections: Six Degrees of Separation
Online social networks like Friendster expand your social circle by connecting you to other people through friends and friends of friends.
Online social networks like Friendster expand your social circle by connecting you to other people through friends and friends of friends.

Like a community, Friendster lets you connect with people you know and network out from there, building your web of contacts. Those connections are called friends. Think of it like the game six degrees of separation. If Mary is friends with David, and David is friends with Kumar, then Mary is connected to both David and Kumar. David is the link that binds them.

Here are some of the ways you can make and interact with friends:

  • Invite someone to be your friend. Click Invite on your homepage to search for someone or click Add as Friend on that person's profile.
  • Upload your e-mail address book. Friendster will automatically search those names to find out if any are existing Friendsters.
  • Join groups that share your interests. The chocoholics group has nearly 45,000 members.
  • Participate in forums to discuss anything from philosophy to cult movies.
  • Pile on the applications. Posting bulletins is so yesterday. Comparing quiz results and voting on your friends' 3-D virtual homes is the new way to connect.
  • Display Featured Friends on your profile. Not only does this let you give extra-special attention to your favorites, but it encourages them to do the same for you, boosting your visibility.
  • Browse the Explore page. Great for random friend-making and voyeurism, it's a list of mosts: most-grabbed profiles, most popular groups and Fan Profiles.

There's no limit to how many friends you can have. They can be family, lifelong pals, classmates, business contacts or that random guy you bonded with over truffles on chocoholics. Now that you're popular, what do you do with it? Some Friendsters are just looking for a place to swap photos with friends and invite them to parties. Others may be looking for dates, while plenty of folks use Friendster to find jobs and network professionally.

As your network grows you may find yourself asking, are all these people really my friends? Uber-popular Karen Kong has 150,000 friends. Featured Friends lets you show off your BFFs, and sites like Facebook allow you to rank friends by who's smartest, funniest or most stylish. What actually constitutes a friend is subjective depending on your definition of the word, but most would agree it requires a certain level of intimacy you just can't achieve with 150,000 people. Even adding co-workers and acquaintances pushes the definition of friendship. Sites like professional social network LinkedIn offer a way to keep them separate (also a good idea if you're not too keen on your boss seeing your photos and posts). For now, ranking by Featured Friends is the clearest way to differentiate.

What if you decide someone's no longer a friend? Can you ever get rid of them? Say our friends Mary and Kumar have a fight and want to "break up." You can block people from accessing your profile by adding them to the Block Users tab. Bye-bye Kumar!

Blocking friends is one thing, but what about stalkers and Big Brother? Read on to find out if Friendster is sharing your personal details.