In Defense of Futile Gestures
So it may be inappropriate to admit this, but: I post Missed Connections sometimes. Because I have them. I don’t think of it as necessarily problematizing the data because well, they are actually valid and I count them. So I posted one a few days ago with no response from the person in question (which I expected), but I did get this email:
Not having any luck finding that person that you saw on Craigslist? That’s because the
method used on Craigslist is completely ineffective.
If you really want to find that other person, you should give I T I G G Y a try. There you’ll
be able to safely search for and make contact with that person with complete anonymity.
You’ll also be able to communicate with them via an internal and private messaging
system, but neither of you will ever know each other’s names or details unless you decide
to exchange them.
I T I G G Y … taking an old idea and making it much, much better.
I went to the site and, as far as I can tell, it’s Missed Connections with more bells and whistles and a more explicit agenda. And I responded to the email with this:
I’m just sort of curious what your definition of “effective” is here,
insofar as I don’t think that Missed Connections is necessarily always
about finding a person. It’s as much a forum for messages in bottles,
stories, exhibitionism, and spam as it is a personals site. And that’s
why I think it’s kind of great. I mean, my post was to someone I
actually know—I could have just as easily conveyed the contents of
that post in a Facebook message directly to him, but that’s 1) really
weird and 2) not necessary, as I’m not really interested in pursuing a
relationship with that person. I just was genuinely glad I ran into
them at a social function. It was a post more for expressing a
sentiment that, while positive, doesn’t necessarily need to be shared
with the person who elicited that sentiment.
Listen, I’m probably being unnecessarily argumentative here because
I’m kind of a self-styled Missed Connections expert—I’ve been
researching and making work based on NYC MCs for a little over two
years now and I’m actually doing a residency right now creating
artwork based on that research. So while I’m sure your website is
great for a particular demographic of MC users, it makes me a little
sad to see it reduced to being called an “ineffective” dating site.
Maybe I’m a Luddite, but I love that there are a few Web 1.0 holdouts
going strong still, and Craigslist is one of the best among them. I’m
not really expecting a response here, as I don’t even think you read
my post, but I hope that you understand where I’m coming from as an observer and participant in the Missed Connections community.
I’m not entirely sure if this reply makes me a crazy person or not, but I’m genuinely annoyed by the attempts to capitalize on/”improve” upon the Missed Connections concept. It seems like it’s missing the point. Am I being ridiculous here? I’d actually really like to hear from people about this.