As you can see, 35 percent of me is infected with lame. Honestly, I would have estimated that I was slightly more than half lame — not less — but who am I to argue with Lamefactor?
In case online social networks weren't already a means of gauging someone's social acceptability, Lamefactor is a new Facebook side project that allows users to rank their friends, HotOrNot.com-style, in terms of lameness. In short, it marks the end of everything safe and hospitable that made Facebook a haven from the innate crappiness that is MySpace and Friendster.
Spencer turned me onto this little feature, which has you log in and then begin ranking associates on a scale ranging from one — "lame" — to ten — "savage/wicked/other regional slang." You can't skip a person, thus disabling the option of only giving out high marks and keeping your hatreds private. You also can't see who ranked you what, but only what your average score is and how many votes — that is, judgments — you have been dealt. Thus, it's a free license for everybody to take you down a notch. After all, the name of the game is Lamefactor and not Coolfactor or Acceptablefactor or Doesn'tHaveFoodOnFacefactor.
Being bored during a few brief minutes of inactivity this past long weekend, I started clicking through my Facebook friends, ranking them as accurately as I could. Shortly into this, however, I began to feel awful about the process and irritated at my compulsion to destroy profiles that still had perfect ten scores with a snarky five or even — on a few particularly vicious occasions — a one to the people who appear on my Facebook "friends" list only by virtue of my reluctance to endure the social awkwardness of not accepting their offers of friendship.
Then I stopped.
Most people I'm friends with hadn't received any votes yet and the notion of them logging in and seeing that their first and only vote has been a one did not sit well. ("Hey, let's have a look at this new thing on Facebook! … Oh, apparently someone I know actually thinks I suck and is too polite to tell me to my face but not polite enough to anonymously vote that I am virtually devoid of any good qualities. Nice!") In hopes for karmic retribution for my earlier judgments, I finished out my friends by giving everyone else tens, in hopes that someone bothering to check out Lamefactor would be momentarily brightened at the notion that someone, somewhere does indeed think they're special. Hokey, I know, though to contradict the altruism I must admit that it was a mental struggle to click the "ten" option for a few cant-standables who popped up.
Okay, I'll admit that my mad ten-givings were even less selfless in nature. First, I wondered if the good people at Facebook actually may have designed the system to assign rankings based on how politely or meanly someone votes, rather than on how other people vote on them. Second, I honest-to-God feared that trashing my secret enemies would end up subjecting me to a scam in which the dumped-upon can pay to find out who gave them low scores à la the "purity test" episode of Veronica Mars and Tina Majorino would expose me for the callous would-be-anonymous that I am.
Thus, if you're my Facebook friend and you log in to Lamefactor and find that you have one and only one vote and it's a ten, know it's me. Conversely, if you log in to Lamefactor and fine that your have one and only one vote and it's not a ten, then feel free to load hatred upon me.
Um, also, I was drunk.
Humanity: zero, teh internets: three bazillion.