I used to be thrilled when I received spam. Note: used to.

Remember when you first got email? You were excited to have it printed on a business card: blahblah@compuserv.com or thinguymmybob@aol.com. Then you swapped email addresses with colleagues – and those friends and family members that were early adopters. A couple of times a week your email application – Eudora? or a terminal emulator onto UNIX? – would boing and you’d rush to the machine and see what amazing (usually long multipage emails, like pen pal letters) had been sent to you. Then you got over it and stopped using email.

Oh wait….

If you’ve ever played a MMORPG like Everquest, Ultima Online, World of Warcraft you’ll know what I mean. Months and months of addictive plotting and strategising so you can get a few more hours in-world. Dreaming monsters. Playing until 4 or 5am. Waking up with your head on the monitor, drooling into the keyboard (or was that just me?) . Then slowly coming to your senses. Ok, I’m pretty sure about people treating email like it was better than sliced bread at the beginning, but not so sure about others responses to virtual worlds. Am I a demographic of one?

By the way, I still play World of Warcraft after 2 and 1/2 years – I have characters on multiple servers with different bunches of friends on each, so it’s varied social networks. And I still use email, but not as much. Email being one of the first peer-to-peer, asynchronous communication tools in online communities.

A few people have posted that I’m suffering from Facebook fatigue. Well yes and no. There IS a trough after the honeymoon period. But it’s unlikely that most people will stay off for long. Perhaps the hours and hours a day will turn into a quick check once or twice a day, and Facebook does suffer from being a superficial filtering tool rather than an indepth depth of content site, but still – it’s doubtful that they will lose ground quickly.

The Register doesn’t agree:

The story year-on-year is even uglier for social networking advocates. Bebo and MySpace were both well down on the same period in 2006 – Murdoch’s site by 24 per cent. Facebook meanwhile chalked up a rise, although way off its mid-2007 hype peak when you couldn’t move for zeitgeist-chasing “where’s the Facebook angle?” stories in the press and on TV. (hat tip: Stilgherrian)

You can survey the full numerical horror for youself here at Creative Capital.

Err that rise mid 2007 was with the release of F8 application development (the ability to add Scrabulous and Zombies to your profile). Think of it as Facebook 2.0 if you will. It’s a good idea for ANY social network to have an “expansion pack” plan – world of warcraft picked up a few more million paying members with Burning Crusade.

I’m not loyal to every social network I sign up for -not even close – but there are a few that stick. And stick and stick.