It’s the summer of 2005; my friend and I are lounging at the public pool in a nearby town, and before we immerse ourselves in the chlorine’s coolness, before we endure the splashing from the little boys who tend to get a little out of control in the water, we decide to dedicate a decent amount of time to snapping photos of each other – for MySpace. At 15 years old, this is the first major social networking site within our reach, and we are hooked. We can customize our page with various backgrounds, pictures, and even songs. On multiple dimensions, we’re able to share ourselves with our peers. “Collide” by Howie Day is the latest musical selection on my profile, a July Fourth snapshot is my default photo, and my background changes according to my mood.
Looking back, I slightly cringe at the memory of devotion; I’d strive to capture the perfect image to upload. (In full disclosure, you could probably find me posing in my backyard, in the grass, hoping to manipulate the sunlight at a precise angle for the best outcome.) However, there’s also a romanticized connotation regarding the hype of it all. That’s not to suggest that my nostalgia stems from MySpace itself, but MySpace was present during my high school/early college life and the moments surrounding that era.
In my photo vault, there’s a picture that my childhood friend took of me by the middle school bleachers. She journeyed from Brooklyn (the place we grew up) to Long Island, and we had one of our sleepover reunions, comprised of unabashed silliness, late night chats, chick- flicks, and snacks. Lots of snacks.
There’s a photo of me in a serene (and rather ‘emo’ state) at the beach in 2006, where I sat on a blanket next to someone I loved. Pictures tend to bring you back, whether you want them to or not.
“You’re very pretty and easy to make laugh, lol.” It’s a message I received in my MySpace inbox from someone I really liked. It was also the summer of 2005.
In fact, this inbox, in a whimsical way, is a time portal to my past. In this particular digital world, there are poems from my first serious boyfriend, notes from friends, and words that are sincere and earnest and hurtful and meaningful.
And now, in my early twenties, I attempt to log into my MySpace account, an account that’s been dormant for years. The site’s layout altered drastically and it’s hard to even reconcile the transformation.These are what the pages currently look like? This was the go-to realm to network after I came home from ninth period? Indeed it was.
I lost my username and password information, and I can no longer access my inbox. Somewhere, though, in cyberspace, in the far away ether, there are messages that contain poems from my first serious boyfriend, notes from friends, and words that are sincere and earnest and hurtful and meaningful.