Does Facebook make you despair? Does social networking make you want to end it all? You may be ready for online ritual suicide with the aid of a new Web site that helps you kill your virtual identity.
“Impress your friends, disconnect yourself,” is the slogan on www.seppukoo.com, a site that aims to subvert Facebook by offering its millions of users a glorious end and a memorial page to match.
“Rather than fall into the hands of their enemies, ancient Japanese samurai preferred to die with honor, voluntarily plunging a sword into the abdomen and moving it left to right in a slicing motion,” the site notes.
This form of ritual suicide was known as “seppuku.”
“As the seppuku restores the samurai’s honor as a warrior, seppukoo.com deals with the liberation of the digital body,” the site says.
Today the enemy is not other bands of noble warriors, but corporate media who use viral marketing to make huge profits by connecting people across the globe.
“Seppukoo playfully attempts to subvert this mechanism by disconnecting people from each other and transforming the individual suicide experience into an exciting ‘social’ experience,” the site says.
The site, which uses its own viral marketing strategy to lure in disgruntled social networkers, is part of a protest wave that sees Facebook as a potentially dangerous entity beholden to corporate interests.
It offers ritual suicide for Facebook users in five easy steps.
Willing victims must first log in to seppukoo.com by typing in the same information they use to go on to their Facebook profile.
They then choose one of several memorial RIP page templates before writing their last words, which the site promises to send to all their Facebook friends when they have taken the final step.
Once the user has made that fatal final click, his or her Facebook profile is deactivated.
But in what might be seen as a bit of a cheat, virtual life goes on after the ritual suicide.
It comes in the form of testimonials friends can write on the memorial page or by rising in the seppukoo ranks by scoring points with former Facebook friends who follow your lead and commit hara-kari.
The top scorer in that game is currently a blond woman who uses the name Simona Lodi and who passed into the post-Facebook world on Nov. 5. On her memorial page she chose to write “piss off!” as her last words.
But seppukoo.com has some way to go before it attracts anything near the more than 300 million users Facebook currently boasts. On Wednesday it pulled in only half a dozen Facebookers ready to end it all.
Its owners — whose Web site says are an “imaginary art-group from Italy” — said by e-mail that more than 15,000 people had done the deed and more than 350,000 Facebook users had received an invite to follow suit.
Facebook did not immediately reply when asked if it saw seppukoo.com as a threat and if it planned any action to block it.
To reinforce the tongue-in-cheek approach of seppukoo.com, the group’s art director — who uses the name Guy McMusker — replied when asked if he was a Facebook user: “Of course. We’re not Luddites. We’re incoherent.”
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