Multiply Is Being Subtracted


“Disc Six
A dance remix, so I can catch the latest trend
and it’ll make you scratch your head and wonder
where my taste went.

So now my fans are crying sellout,
they say that I’ve lost my touch.
They say I should just get the hell out before I do too much.

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The Barenaked Ladies.

December 1,  2012 will signify the end of an era for me personally as a blogger and as a netizen. Multiply will abandon all efforts at being a social networking site and focus solely on being an online seller. It may not mean much to a lot of people but it will mean something to me. We were given a few months notice and it’s a former shell of what it once was but I am still saddened that the service is going off the air or off  the web. I am almost as sad when they cancelled Twin Peaks    and/ or Get A  Life.

Multiply, like anything versatile will appeal to different people for different reasons. The whole idea of clearly defining what people meant to you without some sort of separate application was a feature that was always in play and easy to take for granted. Online your contacts range from people you see everyday , people you have not met and may never meet. Not everything you write or show is meant for everybody. You could do the exclusions by tiers (friends , family, business ) or just customize it. Multiply was a place to upload videos, pictures, blogs, links , recipes . These can all be shared with people who were not even on Multiply by sending a link. You can even put your non Multiply contacts on a mailing list for all your blog and photo entries.

Multiply’s cross posting feature saved me a lot of time and ultimately backed up five years of blog posts in other sites. My blog posts were duplicated as separate blogs in Blogspot and Live Journal with links in Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo.

Multiply was a truly multimedia site that masqueraded as a social network. So when a more dedicated but lower common denominator site like Facebook comes along , it was fairly or unfairly compared to it .The people that abandoned Multiply fled to Facebook. They were only there for the social aspect. I personally think of Multiply like a Swiss Army knife . The problem with being a Swiss Army knife is that if you are interested in the magnifying glass there are better ones out there.

Facebook never had a blog option. It would have been easy to offer. Personally I believe they really wanted that lowest common denominator. Blogs might really intimidate the most casual of the casual users. Facebook’s Notes section is not a blog alternative. Just a place to put words. I loved the fact that Multiply never had apps like Facebook did. It was better to look in your inbox for what could be interesting to read and see as opposed to another invite for a game I will never play.

Marshall McLuhan    famously said the medium is the message. Just as the medium you chose to convey your message is already a significant parft of your message same I believe goes for social networking sites. People that later jumped off the Multiply bandwagon when Facebook became more in vogue usually did not care much about writing and blogging. A medium that showed the previous night’s get together to the most people was good enough for them. An online friend who I did meet through Multiply, the blogger known as Ms Tin A Pie refers to Facebook as Friendster x 100. To this day she has yet to open a Facebook account.

My experience, nobody who sticks to Friendster /Facebook type of sites  reads online too much.  Conversely they will not likely have the tendency to  share in terms of things that takes even a bit of development. Friendster/ Facebook types usually are a venue for picture sharing and  rapid fire thoughts. Making a point takes time. Just like what I am doing now. Since the beginning of something called marketing there has always been the battle  between form vs substance. Trying to sell the sizzle without providing steak. All icing and no cake. There are some movies with substance but I guarantee you if they are adapted from a book , the substance had to be gutted to fit the limited vehicle that is the movie.

Multiply had that notion of ” permanence” or a system in which you could archive.  Facebook and Twitter’s announcements roll and feel  disposable compared to Multiply. You could look things up by date or by tagging your entries. It’s like your written content was meant to disappear. That notion of permanence made me try even harder with the different things I wrote

There was something about Multiply that made people appealing even if you didn’t know them. Maybe it had to do with the setting that your inbox could accept friend of a friend posts. Some people knew that and really used Multiply as an outlet to perform. Nothing beat the Multiply site of Doc Albert in it’s heyday. Doc once blogged about how his respect for Gretchen Barreto declined after she released an album. Someone claiming to be a friend of hers engaged in a back and forth with others on the site. Too bad some cyber vandals motivated Doc to delete his Multiply about two years ago. His rare combination of  sardonic wit and sensitivity still live on in his Blogspot though the interaction once abundant in Multiply does not.

Every once in a while, you get a contact gullible enough to spread this Facebook hoax that they will start charging if you don’t share that message x number of times. What’s amusing is how many people would be up in arms. Multiply had a premium service that featured no ads and longer video uploads. I had been a paying client for several years. It just meant I put my money where my mouth was and nothing wrong with paying if you get value in return. Many of us are so accustomed to going to the Net and getting what we want with no cash out. For me Multiply did something right if they got me voluntarily to pay every month.

My perception was that Multiply was unknown in America. But when the announcement was made that it was going to be shopping website, it seemed all the outraged ones were Americans and other nationalities. Guess you can qualify Multiply as the Rocky Horror Picture Show of social networking sites.  Now that they made their decision to shut it down if Multiply had a saving grace is they made some allowance to transfer your content to other sites. I say some because photo albums “backed up ” to Tumblr originally containing 80 pictures only had one. The blogs seem to transfer to blogspot OK, with tags and comments. As possible proof of the uniqueness of Multiply the migration choices of people in my timeline seem to be fragmented. There is no one stop destination.

Multiply was ultimately what you made of it. It was not the best social network, or the best blogging site. But because it had so many things under one site it was more than the sum of it’s parts. It’s strengths for me was it was an outlet for what you made and the customized  privacy settings.

Goodbye Multiply. I appreciated what you were trying to do. Too bad you didn’t feel there were enough of us. Just to quote this cliche when something good comes to an end I shouldn’t be sad it’s over but be happy it was there at the right time for me. Met some good online buddies, learned to blog and got exposed to a lot of different perspectives because of Multiply. I will miss it.


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