Pretty much everyone who uses the Internet on a regular basis is a member of some sort of social networking site. A lot of people use Facebook, but if that’s not your thing there are plenty of alternatives, like MySpace. And if that’s still too normal for you, well, don’t worry, because there are lots more that are designed to appeal to extremely weird people.
Most people think of shoes as an item designed to keep your feet safe. Others consider them an important part of being fashionable, and that’s an understandable view. But when people like their shoes so much that they feel the need to visit a social networking site that revolves around showing them off, well then maybe they’re starting to take things a little too far.
Users have profile pages much like any site (except they often have awkward shoe pun names like “beautiful sole”), but you’ll notice that there are rarely any photos of the actual user. Instead, there are dozens and dozens of photos of their shoes. Just coming out of the box, on their feet, on the shelf with a bunch of other shoes… the galleries are bizarre and have a vague pornographic feel to them. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but you just know that people who like looking at pictures of shoes that much are probably getting something more than aesthetic appeal out of it.
Sneakerplay members can even “battle” each other, where the community votes on whose shoes are nicer. Plus there are contests to design your own shoes, forums to discuss shoes, and you can even buy shirts that advertise the site if for some reason you feel the need to tell the world that your shoes have a better social life than you do.
Speaking of things you own having more of a life than you, how about you get your dog in on the social networking action? You can create a profile page for your best friend, upload photos, have him make little doggy friends and even include information about what kind of tricks he can do, where he likes to go to the bathroom the most for some reason, and what his pet (GET IT?) peeves are! And you can do all of this from the comfort of your basement as your relationships with other people slowly wither and die! Hurray!
To be fair, there is a lot of content targeted at the dog’s owner as well, including breed information, health tips, guides for adoption, etc. Unfortunately, this useful and responsible material is stuck in-between videos of dogs acting out the nativity scene and “cuteness battles” where two dogs compete for your love by being forced into ridiculous costumes by their owners. That sort of kills the benefit of the educational stuff pretty quickly.
There’s also a sister site, MyCatSpace, which is even weirder. It’s basically the same deal, but since cats are generally viewed as having a little more dignity than dogs it’s even more pathetic to stick a funny hat on them and pretend that they’re the owner of a poorly designed profile page. Just picture the average MySpace page, except it’s somehow more pink and sparkly and the owner refuses to stop pretending that they’re an animal.
OK, so we’re moving away from mostly harmless obsessions and well into creepy territory here. FetLife is a site for people who share the same sexual fetishes to get together to talk, meet, and do unspeakable things to each other. Pretty much every fetish you can think of is represented, from using ice cubes to, God help us all, anal stretching. Users can list their favourite fetishes as well as ones they’re curious about, their sexual orientation, whether they prefer to be dominant or submissive… they can even list which of their fellow FetLife members they’re the slaves or masters of! It’s a lot like Facebook really, except now all of your friends know that you like having short Asian girls stomp on your nipples while wearing high heels.
We won’t get too graphic, but let’s just say that the members of this site are very liberal about discussing their sexual interests. Which is a little awkward when you have some 50 year old guy chatting up an 18 year old girl, but unlike most social networking sites that’s actually one of the least creepy things about it.
Users can of course post pictures, and there’s really no limits to the content they can upload. Again, the 50 year old guy thing makes this very disturbing. They can also keep journals, write stories, organise events, and if they really, really want to horrify the world, upload videos. What these videos contain is better left unsaid.
OK, after FetLife we think it’s a good idea to detox a little. And what better way to relax than by doing some knitting or crocheting? If you answered “Yes, that’s a great way to wind down!” then you’re an 80 year old woman and no doubt a proud member of Ravelry, a social networking site for the arts and crafts set.
Ravelry claims to have over half a million members, and they’re all interested in showing off their latest knitting projects. Users post pictures of the things they’ve knitted as well as their works in progress, they can share patterns and plan out future projects, and of course, they can write and talk to each other about the exciting world of yarn based fun. Have you ever wanted to debate the merits of one knitting magazine versus another? Do you like looking at pictures of hats, hats and more hats? Do you really need to know which type of red yarn is the best? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you need a new hobby. Although we suppose that signing up for Ravelry is still far more productive than any of the other sites we’ve discussed so far. Send us a couple of nice pairs of socks though, will you?
Do you like your MySpace page but are sick and tired of all those judgement 14 year old girls mocking your occult beliefs? Then PaganSpace is the place for you! Profile pages have the same horrible blinding layout as MySpace, but now you can use them to talk about your favorite hexes and what kind of magic you’re best at. You’d think that all those witches and wizards could magick up some better web design skills, but we digress.
Best of all is that you don’t have to fear discrimination here. PaganSpace is open to every wacky belief there is, from people who think they have psychic powers to the infamous otherkin. These are people who believe that they were some sort of mythical creature in a previous life; anything from fairies to dragons are common. One has to question how a person who looks to weigh about 300 pounds could be related to a fairy, but we suppose that’s one of the lesser flaws in the otherkin lifestyle. Anyway, PaganSpace gives these special people the opportunity to talk about how they totally used to be a vampire because they really like rare steaks, or they had a dream where they were flying once so there must be the soul of a dragon trapped inside them. There’s a conversation you certainly aren’t going to witness on Facebook anytime soon!