Pimp Yourself


Thus speaks Stickam, the latest Web 2.0 meteorite, in bold letters on its front page. Stickam enables (the correct word here in Silicon Valley, of course, is "empowers") internet users to video chat with each. Stickam is where Skype meets MySpace meets YouTube. Stickam allows us to broadcast ourselves live. It's the next sordid chapter in Web 2.0's pimping of traditional moral codes and values.

The New York Times says that Stickam is the new new thing, the Google of 2007, the next $1 billion plus deal. Stickam certainly has impressive numbers -- 260,000 registered users, with 2,000 to 3,000 new additions every day. 50,000 of Stickam's users are between 14 and 17. So this is a teen sensation. Cool. Awesome. Hecka tight. It's where we -- the grown-ups -- can observe the behaviour of our children on the internet.

So what, exactly, does "pimp your web page" mean? It suggests that teenagers are using Stickam to  broadcast themselves. And I don't mean the revelation of existential doubt or guilt. No. In the Web 2.0 world, "pimp your web page" is inner city slang for appearing on camera half dressed. I'll leave the rest to your imagination. It's not hard to imagine what little Johnny and Suzie are doing on the internet when their parents aren't looking.

As the New York Times reports :

Even enthusiastic Stickam users say the site often feels lawless. “People are very vulgar and like to ‘get their jollies’ from harassing people, mainly girls, to take off their clothes,” said Chelsey, a 17-year-old user from Saskatchewan in Canada, who signed up after her 13-year-old sister violated the site’s age rules and joined the service.

Exactly. Stickam is semi legal pornography for kids, Web 2.0 style. It's the old AOL chat room with webcams and no rules. So the next time so wide-eyed idealist tells you about the value of community or collaboration on the web, tell them to stick it. And cite Stickam, the newest new reason why Web 2.0 is pimping western civilization.