I signed up for Myspace in 2004 right before my senior year of high school. I was reluctant to do it at first — I had a bad experience with Friendster the year before and just didn’t see the point in social networking sites — but my friends peer pressured me and it had gotten to the point where I was the only one in my friend group who didn’t have one. When these sites become popular, real lives are essentially abandoned for virtual ones and I didn’t want to be the only person left wanting to live strictly IRL! By refusing to get a Myspace, it was obvious that I’d be committing social suicide.
So I did it. I signed up and uploaded a few grainy polaroids that obscured my cystic acne and made a bio that probably went something ridiculously hipster and twee like, “i love my friends, lovers, flying kites, polaroids, sushi, and bang BOOM fun!” After only being on Myspace for a few minutes, I already knew it would be my new obsession. So much of high school revolves around wanting to feel like you belong somewhere and with Myspace, you could assert your own identity and inform people of who you were, what you stood for, and, more importantly, what social group you fell under. You could do things like write on your BFF’s profile and mark your territory. “She’s MY best friend and no one else’s! Time for a Myspace photo shoot in my mom’s bathroom to let people know that our friendship is legit!”
Myspace was doubly fun to use if you had a crush because it meant you could stalk the hell out of them. Although that might not sound like a big deal today, lurking didn’t really exist back in 2004. If they had a Livejournal, you could add them to your friends list and read their innermost thoughts but you couldn’t, you know, look at a picture of them at the park or something! When I got Myspace, I had a huge crush on this boy who eventually became my high school BF and I would spend hours checking his profile and searching his friends list. I honestly don’t know how I managed to spend so much time on it though, considering there wasn’t that much to actually do on Myspace. I mean, you could write a bulletin, pick a song to post on your page, or rearrange your top 8 based on who you liked better that day but the latter often came at a #dark price. (Can you imagine for a second if the Top 8 still existed today? Sometimes, when I’m bored, I think of who I would put on a Myspace Top 8 and the whole experience leaves me feeling depressed. When you graduate college, the word “friend” becomes so bastardized that it can no longer be accurately measured by a Top 8. Friends come, friends go, but who will bring you Gatorade when you have food poisoning? Whoever answers “Me!” gets to be number one.)
One of my favorite things about Myspace was being able to write bulletins. There were no character limits and I would often use them to fill out surveys, which was, like, my favorite thing to do in high school. I filled out any survey I could get my hands on, delighting in the narcissism and happily answering such questions as, “What was the last thing you touched?” It was also a perfect way for you to stealthily admit that you had drank, done drugs, or had sex. Although it wasn’t appropriate for someone to make a bulletin about getting screwed or stoned, you could reveal it on a survey question like, “IN THE PAST MONTH HAVE YOU… done drugs? had sex? drank?” and no one could judge you for it. After all, you were just answering the question! And if someone had beef with your answers, they’d have to message you privately about it. The only public comments on Myspace were the ones on your blog posts, which no one used, and the ones on your wall. (BTW, I don’t think it was called a “wall.” Wasn’t the comment section on your Myspace just known as a comment section?)
I also miss the bizarre world of Myspace celebrity. Back in the day, you could get a Myspace profile and garner such a strong following that it would result in a record deal or reality TV show, a la Jeffree Star and Tila Tequila. People would cultivate these personalities and since Myspace was so popular, a webcam photo could translate to temporary mainstream success. Isn’t that insane? This NEVER happened on Facebook. The fact that a drag queen living in Fontana could be made into a star just by their crazy photos is a testament to the power Myspace once had.
I don’t really remember when I stopped using Myspace and officially moved over to Facebook. My last profile picture is from my 22nd birthday, which means I was using the site up until 2008, at least. I remember there being a brief moment when Myspace and Facebook co-existed, you checked both sites, but that ended pretty quickly. It’s understandable why Myspace became a virtual ghost town. The site had become a clusterf–k, there were so many ads, and every time you went on someone’s page, your computer would have a seizure because of all the HTML codes. Besides, Myspace just seemed immature and Facebook represented COLLEGE and ADULTHOOD. Getting rid of your Myspace profile seemed like a natural progression, like a snake shedding its skin.
I kept my Myspace profile for a long time since I’m such a nostalgic freak and couldn’t bear to get rid of all those random messages from high school. I deleted it for good, however, when I logged on once to take a trip down memory lane and found myself unable to access my old messages. WTF? I figured if I couldn’t even do that there was no point in keeping my profile around, so I finally bid it farewell. I was only on the site for four years top, only three of which I was really active, but it still felt like the end of an era. To me, Myspace represents sheer ridiculousness and naivete. Scene hair, cliche photos of yourself in the bathroom, angsty music blasting whenever someone clicked on your page: It was hilarious! It was a bunch of young, ridiculous kids who had never been so “connected” to their friends before. I don’t miss Myspace per se but I do miss the mindset. It was the golden age of social networking and now all that’s left to show for it is a handful of decayed glitter and some droopy, fake eyelashes hanging out on the bottom of a Facebook page.