friendster, noun. An acquaintance, either real or virtual, that you have met through the Friendster network. The term is typically used by network participants to describe each other.
The social networking Web site invented by Jonathan Abrams experienced phenomenal growth in 2003 (The beta site started in March, and by May had 300,000 users. By July, one million users had signed on, leading to daily server outages). With the site inviting disclosure of personal details, including photos, to allow users to find others with common interests (favorite books, music, activities, etc), users may learn enough about one another to be-- well, not friends exactly, but friendsters.
Some users confess to using the network for social due diligence, just as they do with Google.
The brand name most likely derived from combining the words "friend" and Napster.
Side note: It is difficult to locate e2 users on Friendster, unless they have specifically listed "everything2" in their interests. (You also don't get access to the full network of users... only those you are connected to via degrees of separation-- part of the growth is that you invite several of your own friends along when you join, so that you don't show up as a loser with no friends). The site encourages the use of your real name, so it is unlikely that you'll find anyone from e2 by searching on their noder name (Wintersweet, Ereneta, misuba, Truffle and Pseudo Intellectual, for example, all appear on Friendster-- but you have to know their real names to get them to appear in your Friendster network.)
Leander Kahney, "Making Friendsters in High Places." Wired News. 17 July 2003.
<http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,59650,00.html> (31 July 2003)
William O'Shea. "Six Degress of Sexual Frustration." The Village Voice. 4 June 2003. <http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0323/oshea.php> (31 July 2003)
Douglas Wolk. "Six Degrees of Procrastination." Slate. 16 July 2003. <http://slate.msn.com/id/2085714/> (31 July 2003)