MySpace Is Starting from Scratch, but Do We Want Our Old Profiles Back?
Stop freaking out about your private Facebook messages being made public, stop retweeting Wiz Khalifa, and stop sharing your Now That's What I Call Trap playlist on Spotify, because the social media game just changed again. MySpace is back. The HTML landmines have been cleared and the bodies of spam-happy indie bands and suburban scene kids have been buried in the deep web. The deposed online emperor known only as "Tom" is standing up to Zuckerberg. Jeffree Starr has quit his job at the haulage firm. The original social network has returned to remodel the internet back into its own image.
I always liked MySpace. Unlike today's social networks, which seek to create an avatar of the real you—a you endlessly dragged back to Earth by your friends through tagged photos and digs at the songs you recently played on Spotify—MySpace allowed and encouraged you to create an idealized version of yourself. It seemed to be made for people's egos, rather than their job prospects. It had garish backgrounds, loud music, and it didn't really care what school you went to. MySpace was the street gang that took you in, rather than the fraternity that you had to apply for.
Alas, somewhere during the mass exodus to Facebook, it lost its way, abandoned like a destitute Ireland in the flee to America. It floundered as a place inhabited only by A&R guys looking for chillwave profiles with grainy beach-scape backgrounds.
The new version has many features and, needless to say, they've taken inspiration from some of the social media forums that have popped up since Facebook came on the scene. And yes, having underground music on a player, rather than the Spotify model of only stocking properly released albums, is surely the game changer, yadda yadda yadda. I'm not going to go review the site because this isn't T3. FAR MORE IMPORTANT than all of that, is that if the new MySpace is a success, it'll leave a generation of online superstars screwed.
Molly Soda contemplates a world where she's been outmoded.
Are these people going to be able to transfer their followers into this new format? Or are they going to remain behind in the old world, like those Vietnam soldiers who never heard the war ended and spent 20 years shouting "Fire in the hole!" at backpackers?
Maybe they're all going to have to become bedroom DJs to keep up with the new MySpace's mix-heavy persona. We could be staring down the barrel of people like WhiteGirlProblems and SixthFormPoet making their own novelty music, just to stay in touch with the MySpace 2.0 generation. Which is a troubling thought.
Dwell on it for a moment.
Anyway, judging by the press release and its refrains of "building from scratch" and "brand new," it seems clear that MySpace aren't just going to be revamping the old site. Whether they're going to have it stuffed for posterity in the living room of the internet remains to be seen, but let's just say you won't be filling out any of those personal quizzes any time soon.
But what if we do want our old MySpaces back? Consider the nostalgic mewing its rebirth has inspired from the users of its rival sites:
But what if they delete my old page? How am I going to reconnect with people I made out with at Larrikin Love gigs? What if I never got round to downloading that Futureheads/Xzibit mash-up?
I decided to summon up a World Wide Ouija Board and visit the ghost of my teenage self to see what I like about him and what I really don't.
It seems that, towards the end of my tenure with the site, I developed a sense of nihilism and deleted whatever design crime I had set as my background. Presumably there's some gross student currently studying social media psychology who could tell me what that meant about my life, but, for now, all I can do is speculate.
Still, design or no design, the layout was really, really bad, wasn't it? It looked more like some message board about little league football or jihadism from the fringes of the internet than anything you'd want to be representative of yourself. Also, while those 372 friends are mostly decent people, they don't quite match up to their tenfold 2012 Twitter equivalent.
Yeah, here's one thing I don't miss: shitty local bands looking for that elusive Zone 1 gig, peddling their new demos at anyone unfortunate enough to befriend them. Although maybe this is simply a sign of the times. Maybe, these days, I'd just be bombarded by dreadful posh rappers from Islington with grills from John Lewis.
This might seem like a horribly vain photo of myself, but MySpace was a vain place. We were young—we didn't understand modesty or humility. Looking at these photos gives me mixed emotions; while I'm sad that the next thousand cans of beer after that one took their toll on my body and face, I'm glad I don't pout like that any more.
We were all a bit more selective with pictures in the days before tagging. I seem to remember MySpace tried to introduce the tag-system towards the end of its first life, but it was a bit like when the American Soccer Association suggested that scoring from outside the area should be worth three goals—depressingly desperate.
Again, the profile song is something I have conflicted feelings about. I do miss trying to impress girls by having the latest Jamie T demo playing from my page. However, I also certainly don't miss clicking on someone's page, forgetting the speakers were on and getting my ears smashed in by a 32kbps blast of "Scatman" or some other ironic anthem. Fuck that noise.
OK, I stole this from a lame friend of mine, but this is something I definitely won't miss: toploading your Top Eight with famous people. However, I do miss Top Eights. There was something remarkably honest and cruel about them; it was like a vision of the internet's true heart, one that twee sites like Facebook so desperately try and disguise.
So, do I want my old MySpace back? As much as I enjoyed paying a visit to my old friend, and I am for whatever reason oddly excited by the new version, let's leave nostalgia to those "retro girls living in a retro world" types who have anchor tats and hate ethnic minorities.
Oh yeah, anchor tattoos—that was a MySpace thing as well. Sorry old MySpace, it's time to delete.
Follow Clive on Twitter: @thugclive
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