An Internet marketing firm recently posted this tempting data on the right, suggesting that social networking sites are poised to beat out pornography sites, click for click, any day now. Looking for porn? Click here.
Many folks are celebrating the news as evidence that the Internet is maturing, no longer just the tool of lonely peoples everywhere trying to get their rocks off in the comfort of their own homes (and, uh, at work, where apparently 70% of adult site visits occur).
As the Economist has noted, it could be that more adult material has simply shifted into the social networking arena, such as in peer-to-peer file sharing networks.
For the record, I am not placing a value against the right of people to consume and view images of their fancy. It's just one of those things that is guaranteed by the first amendment. As Parker Posie once said "Welcome to America, it's the land of milk and honey; don't knock it."
However, I believe I have a right to choose when I want to view these images. And as I am also a MySpace guy, I can tell you that at least one social networking site is actually merging with pornographic values without my consent.
Lately on MySpace, ever since Daddy Murdoch took over, my social networking experience is bookmarked with videoclips of nineteen year old girls covorting around and sucking on cherry lollypops. Sometimes, I get to watch a woman peel off her sweater, and other times it's disappointedly only a stock photo of a blond lady looking over her shoulder and grabbing her own breast. I signed on to MySpace to get back in touch with lost highschool friends and cousins, not to jerk off.
So, is pornography really on the decline? I think no. Instead, mainstream culture is continuing to absorb porncentric values. In today's society, there is no place that is not the market. You don't go to the market on saturdays; you're in the market perpetually. And that seems to be the way the Internet is absorbing pornography. Social networking is sexy.
So, like, is Friendster still alive? Anybody from MySpace wanna jump ship with me? I'll show you mine if you show me yours.