Idol Chatter

Idol Chatter

Thou Shalt Covet?

It may be #10 on the Top Ten list of things Jews and Christians shalt not do, but not coveting thy neighbor’s house, other related property, and just generally not coveting things that are not yours still made the tablet. And yet a new MySpace-like online community has sprung up with the sole purpose (or so it seems) of baiting us to break commandment #10.

Zebo.com, launched last week, is devoted to building community based on personal profiles that list all your possessions and reveal your deepest desires for that which you do not have but desperately want. Zebo.com allows members to make friends, invite others to join (and a host of other Friendster- and MySpace-like functions), yet with the sole purpose of giving everyone a little peep show into what you have (or at least, claim to), as well as the ability to go poking around in the contents of your friends’ closets, drawers, and other private places normally reserved for personal viewing only.

“If the Internet encourages people to share with the world the contents of their souls, Zebo encourages them to share the contents of their homes. It is ‘MTV Cribs’ for the masses. Minimalists need not log in,” writes NYTimes reporter Stephanie Rosenbloom in her article, “A Sense of Belonging Among Belongings,” about the site.

Rosenbloom interviews Roy de Souza, Zebo’s founder and chief executive, who offers the following mantra about the generation sure to make his site a success: “For the youth, you are what you own,” [de Souze] said. “They list these things because it defines them.”

Apparently, according to Rosenbloom, the biggest draw to the site is not simply getting to show of your own worth in stuff, but getting to see what everybody else has and craves themselves. Though Rosenbloom’s overall assessment of Zebo is that–at least at this point–the site seems almost “wholesome,” her final words sum up Zebo quite succintly: “Its members’ primary vice is coveting.”

Zebo is clearly for Christians and Jews whose Commandments only go to 9.


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