Facebook is World of Warcraft (in disguise)

It just hit me, while I was scouring my old address book and AIM buddy list, that social networking is really a MMORPG in disguise.

For the last three nights, I’ve spent more time digging through my old contacts, address books, buddy lists, and memory than I have killing orcs, retrieving Rethban Ore, and mining Fel Iron! My wife says I’ve spent as much time grinding through my contacts as she has spent grinding for rep in Felwood.

Take today, for example. Here I am, after a full day of work, and a couple of hours of WoW, and what am I doing? More work! (Say that with a woodcutter accent.) My LinkedIn network is 80% complete. I just invited another colleague. That will put me at 85%. But wait, that’s not all! Once that’s done, I need to finish my profile. Yes, I need to quest to get my profile complete too. I need to post my resume, my interests, and my past work experience, etc. All of these things add up to a complete profile, which, I guess, is kinda like hitting 60. I’m assuming there will be more afterward, like, the LinkedIn Expansion Pack or something. Maybe the “Job Hunting Crusade?”

I have even contemplated using LinkedIn or Facebook’s built in “invite your contacts” (read “spam”) feature, to invite people who are not part of said network, to join. So far, my hatred for spam has outweighed my temptation to do this, and I have not sent an invitation to anyone who is not already a member. But I thought about it…

And don’t even get me started on my lame Facebook account, with four measly friends in it, one of whom I cannot even say “how I know” because Facebook does not have an “Other” option like LinkedIn. The more I compare these two social networking sites, the more I think of World of Warcraft versus GuildWars. “This one has henchmen!” “Oh yeah, this one lets me invite people from my Yahoo! Messenger account!” The parallels are shockingly similar…

Here are some interesting parallels. Draw your own conclusions.

Facebook World of Warcraft
Groups Factions and Guilds
Friends Friends
Messages, a primitive email system Mail, a primitive email system
Actions (poke, bite, lick, etc.) Emotes (poke, bite, lick, etc.)
Applications Add-ons
Messages suggesting you should join a network Automatic subscription to “guild recruitment” channels
“Invite a friend links” on your home page Free 10-day trial on your Launcher
Tutorials on how to use your account for business Leveling guides

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