Making Love to Myspace
On high school trysts and growing up online.
On November 19, 2006 I started an epic love affair. A friend introduced us. Initially, I was reluctant to agree to a meeting, but my Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) arose. I was an insecure high school freshman who could use the reassurance of a partnership. As soon as I signed on (and in), I was smitten.
Myspace quickly became the focus of my afterschool hours. How could I best present myself to my new friends? Who merited a place on my Top 8? Where did I rank on my friends’ listings? What “mood” truly captured the sad-happy-fearful-stoked combo in which I felt constantly submerged? I spent hours searching for the perfect layout and learning html to properly format my page. When not physically on the site, I thought about what I would next broadcast to my network of people.
Without Myspace, I would not have had a creepy sophomore post a photo of me sleeping (mouth open, drool forming) on his profile. My relationship with cigarette-smoking poetry boy would be non-existent. His first contact with me came in message form: “I like how you have ‘questions’ and ‘equations’ on your list of likes,” he wrote, “we should go to lunch this week, and argue or something.” Thus began a saga of coffee dates, “napping” instead of going to AP Gov and faking orgasms. All because of the ubiquitous Tom and his social endeavor.
Two years later, I committed an infidelity. This new lover was, predictably, Facebook. Now, I could connect with my old East Coast friends (who had joined the network far earlier) and chat with people outside of AIM. I managed to maintain both my presence on Myspace and Facebook for about a year, until the former was irrelevant. Only my tacky friends updated their statuses.
And yet, I couldn’t break it off. My Myspace profile still exists. To this day, I can’t bring myself to cut the ties to my high school social sphere. They were by no means the best years of my life; in fact I hope they will be some of the worst. But I still read back on the messages that live on my Myspace account, hoping for some clue as to why I approach emotional engagements the way I do. Maybe I’m a kind of Internet hoarder. I want all my memories saved on a server, available for access.
Yesterday, Myspace sold for a paltry $35 Million. Facebook currently attracts about five times the traffic of Myspace and its estimated value is $70 billion. Facebook guided me through my college decision making process (stalking current students gave me the illusion of familiarity with the school’s population) and fostered my most recent relationship.
Perhaps Google+ will help find me my first full-time job and facilitate my marriage. The rise and fall of social networks divides my life into evolutionary phases. Myspace: total infatuation. The Facebook era of engagement. Google+, achieving intimacy? Now all I need is an app to scrapbook my online social life. If the servers fail, my past is lost.
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