Move over, Facebook! Social Number is a revolutionary new social network that lets you post messages without all the hassle and burden of signing up with your real name. Apparently there's this whole group of people bumbling around the internet, completely unaware they don't have to use their full, Christian name every time they sign up for something, which must suck when they try to register an e-mail account and inevitably discover their names have already been claimed.

Instead, Social Number users (numbies? socnums?) choose a 10-digit number to serve as their online identity. That's it - no username, just a string of numbers. "You are just a number," the sign-up page proudly touts. Evidently they've modeled their social network after The Prisoner and THX-1138. Why wait for a dystopian future when you can start living life as a number today???

All the good numbers are taken.

Social Number proclaims itself as the "first ever anonymous social network." Never mind that internet message boards, which have been around for nearly two decades, let you post under pseudonyms that are clever and memorable like Darth_Cube or MilkDrinker1997 instead of unwieldy strings of numbers; SocialNumber is the first, dammit!

In a press release, the site's founder and CEO, who goes by the monogram "MK" (Monster Killer? Mobster Kingpin? Michael Keaton?) for "privacy" reasons, claims he was inspired to create the site after - not joking - a lady in a car smiled at his friend, but the friend had no way of contacting her once she drove off. Bud, you just came up with the idea for "missed connections," which is another thing that's been around for decades. (They have that on the internet now, too.)

MK asks "What if that woman driver had a number on a bumper sticker behind her car and my friend could just go to a common site and connect through that number?" Imagine a world where every time you see a hot babe in a car, you can look her up later on the 'net and send her some sexxxy messages (I SAW YOU IN CAR. LET'S MAKE OUT), assuming you can still remember the 10-digit social number helpfully printed on her bumper sticker by the time you get to a computer!

So what kinds of Top Secret Yet Publicly Viewable Discussions are these anonymous people having? Sex, mostly. User 000-0822-168 would like you to know s/he is "very sexual." Anonymous is present, of course, but if you want to join their operations, you'll have to get on IRC instead; apparently the first-ever anonymous social network isn't anonymous enough for Anonymous.

Atheism seems to be another big topic, which is good, because if there's one thing the internet lacks, it's venues for people to proclaim that they are atheist. The Hackers board encourages visitors to "share ur all what u know about hacking." For example, meet 000-0999-996, whose profile says he's "born to hack" and lists hacking amongst his interests.


Conspiracy theories abound. 937-3336-695 is convinced Facebook is part of the New World Order. 130-4901-337 is very concerned about DNA tracking from "googles satellite that sniffs people out using thier genome." 000-2311-927 saw an alien spaceship: "THERE WAS A HUGE SHIP IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE HOVERING OVER THE BUILDING THAT WAS IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE (ACTUALLY I USED TO LIVE IN FRONT OF MY KINDER GARDEN, SO IT WAS ACTUALLY OVER MY KINDER GARDEN)." (Yes, thank you for clarifying what building it was, that's the important part.)

Now, a lot of startups don't worry about frivolous things like "monetization" or having a "business model" until a few years in, but MK is on the case. There will be targeted advertising, which you'd think would be at odds with the whole anonymity thing, but apparently not? Also, MK promises "merchandise will be a significant piece of Social Number's revenues"; soon, users will be able to buy "t-shirts, caps, bumper stickers, business cards with just their social number on it." Ah yes, T-shirts with your number printed on them, for when you're having an IRL meetup with other Social Number posters. You wouldn't want to get 100-1001-001 confused with 100-1001-010, would you?

– Adam "rubber cat" Jameson (@robbercat)

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