Humor: Leveraging the 'social isolation' space

In a world where "friend" is a verb, what the Internet needed was a quick way to say "get lost!"
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In a world where "friend" is a verb, what the Internet needed was a quick way to say "get lost!"

'ꀜGet Lost'ꀝ is America'ꀙs fastest growing website. I founded Get Lost last July. It already has 4,100,000 users and is adding 300,000 every week.

When requested to become a 'ꀜfriend'ꀝ on Facebook or join other social networking groups, six months ago I began replying:

'ꀜIn the immortal words of Samuel Goldwyn, 'ꀘInclude Me Out.'ꀙ I hope you will not take umbrage on my declining your kind invitation to 'ꀘfriend'ꀙ you on Facebook.  Please understand that following the banalities of your life offers scant benefits since I have no interest in your children, Connor and Kaitlin, your vacation photos, your cat named Aristocat, your plans, pet peeves, politics, and peccadilloes. I prefer reading books.'ꀝ

I was astonished when many recipients, rather than being insulted, copied my approach. That is when I realized there was a great unmet demand for a social isolation network. Many people want to be left alone. While they may find their own kids endlessly fascinating, they really don'ꀙt care about Connor and Kaitlin. After all, who wants to know about someone who thinks 'ꀘfriend'ꀙ is a verb.

To provide social isolation, I founded Get Lost. At first, Get Lost simply provided negative responses to social networking invitations. The website gained traction when it added 'ꀜPreventative Isolation.'ꀝ Get Lost allowed members to post a list of people they want to 'ꀜLeave Out.'ꀝ Get Lost then informed this group:

'ꀜYou have been 'ꀘLeft Out'ꀙ by John Doe. He does not care to hear about you, what you did last weekend, or your reminiscences about high school. (FYI, John thought you were a dork in high school.) John contends that posting your disagreements with Nancy Pelosi, your neighbors, and the judges of 'ꀘDancing With The Stars'ꀙ reveals a jejune narcissism that requires therapy. John will neither become your friend, nor join your group, nor respond to your IM'ꀙs, nor read your blog, nor watch your YouTube posts, nor follow your tweets. In return, John will not bother with trifles.

'ꀜYou cannot retaliate by 'ꀘleaving out'ꀙ John Doe. He got there first. However, you can join Get Lost and 'ꀘLeave Out'ꀙ anyone who has not yet 'ꀘLeft Out'ꀙ you.'ꀝ

Get Lost'ꀙs next feature was "Preemptive Alienation." Get Lost identifies people likely to pester you with trivialities. Get Lost discovered that anyone who was ever described as perky, ran for student council, or voted for Ralph Nader is likely to believe that the vapid details of their lives are spellbinding. Using sophisticated Internet-based analytical techniques Get Lost is able to 'ꀜleave out'ꀝ such people before you even met them.

The success of Get Lost has stirred competition in the social isolation space. Google recently launched 'ꀜDrop Dead'ꀝ and Yahoo'ꀙs 'ꀜUp Yours'ꀝ is now in beta mode.

Microsoft looms as the most formidable competitor. 'ꀜWe understand isolation and alienation better than anyone,'ꀝ claimed CEO Steve Ballmer. 'ꀜWe have a customer-support division that excels in isolation. When a customer contacts us, we force him to stumble through voice-mail options, be placed on interminable holds, be routed to Dayanidhi in Bangalore who speaks only Urdu, and finally be told to contact the computer manufacturer because it'ꀙs not Microsoft'ꀙs problem. We can build a world-class social isolation network based upon these principles.'ꀝ


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