William Matheson (nova_one) wrote,
William Matheson

Project Upstream

Just after I posted the entry about the barbecue, I got an AIM message from a random user:

(7:40:26 PM) TrivialSalmon: MOON BOUNCE!

(Hmmm... okay...)

(7:40:39 PM) will grm: EARTH HIT!
(7:40:39 PM) trivialsalmon is now known as TrivialSalmon.
(7:40:58 PM) will grm: Hello, who's this?
(7:41:04 PM) TrivialSalmon: hi who is this?
(7:41:22 PM) will grm: William Matheson, at your service.
(7:41:56 PM) TrivialSalmon: Have we met before? That name sounds familiar
(7:42:13 PM) will grm: Mmm, possibly. Are you from NS?
(7:42:46 PM) TrivialSalmon: sadly no, as i'm not even sure what that abbreviation is
(7:43:10 PM) will grm: Ah-ha, okay, it's Nova Scotia, a province of Canada, though right now I'm living in Japan.
(7:44:46 PM) TrivialSalmon: aaaah
(7:44:49 PM) TrivialSalmon: very cool
(7:44:53 PM) TrivialSalmon: kon ban wa
(7:45:01 PM) will grm: konban wa
(7:45:43 PM) will grm: So how did you come to message me? =)
(7:46:10 PM) TrivialSalmon: um....you messaged me.
(7:46:13 PM) TrivialSalmon: just now
(7:46:27 PM) will grm: Right... though I got a message that said "MOON SHOT!"
(7:46:35 PM) will grm: Then this window came up... =)
(7:46:53 PM) TrivialSalmon: uh...no
(7:47:10 PM) TrivialSalmon: QuantumSalmon (12:40:45 AM): MOON BOUNCE!
***her actual AIM name*** (12:41:04 AM): hi who is this?
(7:47:38 PM) will grm: oh, sorry, yeah it was "Moon Bounce!"
(7:47:50 PM) TrivialSalmon: hmmm

(at this point I realize that we aren't being represented by our actual screennames)

(7:47:59 PM) will grm: My aim name is actually "will grm"
(7:48:03 PM) TrivialSalmon: this is very strange, or a stupid prank
(7:48:06 PM) will grm: You're showing up as "TrivialSalmon"
(7:48:10 PM) TrivialSalmon: i got a prank call the other day
(7:48:17 PM) TrivialSalmon: you're showing up as quantum Salmon
(7:48:21 PM) will grm: Yes, it is very strange.
(7:48:30 PM) TrivialSalmon: yeah...
(7:48:34 PM) TrivialSalmon: maybe a virus?
(7:48:39 PM) will grm: Perhaps.

With neither of us really knowing what was going on, we were rightly somewhat suspicious of each other! But after a while we became e-friends. I say this as if it was remarkable, because it kind of is now - the web isn't the free-for-all it was in 1997 (although I am a bit of a holdout in this regard). If you don't believe me, try randomly friending people on Facebook and see what happens. =)

[I think this is also because Facebook has become an online mirror of real life, which happened partly because everyone is on Facebook; I have proof!]

After some digging, I found out what had happened. There's a series of salmon-themed AIM / LJ bots out there - let's call them Project Upstream, as they're claiming ownership. It's a descendant of TheGreatHatsby - it finds two people publicly posting in their LiveJournals at roughly the same time and, if both parties have their AIM info in their profiles and are presently online, instigates an AIM message with "MOON BOUNCE!" or some other nonsensical item... to both parties at the same time. Their real screennames are substituted for different kinds of salmon. (TheGreatHatsby even replaced the users' screennames in actual messages, which as you can imagine must have almost totally prevented people from sorting this out between themselves.)

Each party feels that the other started the conversation, and (sometimes) hilarity ensues. As many people are pointing out, it makes a dandy random friend finder. And now I have a cool new friend in Hawaii.
Tags: aim, bots, conversations, e-friends, livejournal, lj, randomness

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