I joined MySpace because my sister-in-law Chelsea made my profile and then I had to access it in order to let the world know that my favorite bands did NOT include Britney Spears and Sharon, Lois, and Braham. She did it on purpose, of course, and it was a rather clever ruse.
This was waaaay back when MySpace only had about twelve members, and finding someone from your first job at The Coffee Beanery or Phoenix Christian High School was a rare occurrence.
As you know, this lovely little social networking site grew and spread like a discarded cigarette in Buckeye. Pretty soon I had friend requests from kids that used to live in my neighborhood, former Sunday school teachers, and every boy I dated that is now gay.
MySpace was new and exciting, and I could hardly go a few hours without checking to see if someone left comments about my new layout. I painstakingly chose my songs, my quotes, my list of favorite books. I didn't want to appear too serious or too frivolous. Everything needed to be Just Right.
And then, as the network grew and grew and grew, my eyes were opened to all kinds of new opportunities.
Blogging. Stalking. Vicarious living. Cyber friends.
Now, when i say stalk, I don't really mean stalk. I wasn't looking for some one's house to sit outside of in camo gear, waiting to paw through their trash while I licked their scabby band-aids.
But now, thanks to MySpace, when I had a random thought about the Girl I Hated from junior high, I could just go look her up and laugh at her for being ugly and not having a good background layout. Or if I wanted to see if That Boy still was cute, I could just go look! (And then smile to myself that Austin is prettier)
Well, it was all too good to last. Pretty soon we started locking down our accounts and making people submit to all kinds of odd tests to let them into our MySpace world.
First it was just that you had to be a Confirmed Friend. Then you had to know their last name. (Hello? How can I look up people I stare at in church if I don't know their last name?!?) And then you had to type in some sort of captcha thingy, and after that you had to submit a recent stool sample and breathe onto the Num Lock key while saying 'Facebook isn't as cool as MySpace'.
I grew tired of the loopholes, but eventually I also grew tired of caring what people from my first year of college now looked like. So I just settled into occasionally updating my page, and otherwise enjoying the small little snarky discussions betwixt myself and my friends, the continual passing of one-liners.
But again, it was all too good to last.
Ads started popping up on the side of my page, telling me I could grow my own zwinky, decrease my belly bloat, and buy whore clothing at a discounted rate. It told me that men in my area who made millions of dollars wanted to Git Wit Ya 2nite. It gave me previews of movies I didn't care to see. It let scandalously clad women post on my site, despite the fact that they didn't know my last name and probably don't know the Num Lock key from their Num Lock.
And then, in a final middle finger salute, it did the unthinkable. After all of our time together, after all of our laughs and tacky graphic tagging, it threw me for a loop.
MySpace gave my computer a venereal disease.
I wouldn't have known if it weren't for the casual comment made by my brother-in-law, Tyson. He told my sister that her computer kept having major issues because of MySpace, the computer STD site.
I wasn't all that inclined to transfer to Facebook. I didn't want a NEW social networking site. I just wanted my old one back, in the way I remembered it. I could just see us, me and MySpace, walking hand and hand through the sunshiney fields, picking clover and slurping drippy popsicles.
But, one day, I couldn't even login to MySpace. And I sit at a computer ALL DAY LONG.
With all my emails answered and all of my phantom online shopping done, there was nothing else to do. My fingers itched to comment meaningless things on friends' pages. My life was EMPTY without knowing exactly what everyone was doing at every moment.
So I went to Facebook. I signed up, and tried to make my way through the unfamiliar territory. I hated it, just as a child hates its new baby sibling. I wanted things to be the way they were before!
The next day I tried MySpace again. Same problem. My page had been plastered with virtual adhesive, and there was nothing to be done about it.
Back to Facebook I went. I ignorantly applied for every application I saw. I threw sheep at people, I sent pink martinis, and I found out what character I was from Friends, Harry Potter, Disney, Jane Austen, and more.
I sat on the fence for awhile, until I could ride both cows with equal ability.
I learned who was on Facebook and who was on MySpace, and how to navigate through all the junk.
And then, one day...
I checked Facebook first. It was unintentional, but powerful.
I had teetered on the fence, and I wouldn't go back.
All of a sudden I noticed the lack of clean, organized space in MySpace Land. I compared it to the bright, lovely colors and lines of Facebook.
Facebook has its advertisements, of course. But they whispered politely and inquired if would you would like to look, like the men who do foot massages at the mall. You know, the workers who know how to maintain personal space? If you don't look, you don't have to talk.
Contrast that with MySpace, which is filled with the shouting obnoxious scent of the perfume ladies and the Bath and Body Works girls COMBINED!
MySpace, while I wasn't really paying attention, has become like an old, formerly cool mall. Here in Nashville, I would call it Hickory Hollow Mall. In Phoenix I would call it Chris Town Mall. You know people still go there, but you don't really know why. The place used to be filled with fun stores and lots of people. Now it has an Army Recruiting Center and Claire's Outlet. Grime fills the floors, and there are posters for Sketchers with rolly wheels. The food court consists of three greasy buffets staffed with underage kids who wear hats with hot dogs and helicopters affixed to their colorful brims.
You might feel nostalgic when you think of all the time spent kissing boys and wearing pink eye shadow at the other mall, but you would much rather spend your time at the new, clean, Fossil and Lucky, Teavana and Gucci mall. They have fresh soups, Italian coffee, and ubertrendy cupcakes. This mall, the Green Hills or Scottsdale Fashion Square, is so cool that it doesn't come after you. You have to come after it!
And that is how I feel about MySpace and Facebook.
At least for now. If the Facebooking ass clowns keep changing the way I do online stalking/communicating, I might downgrade Facebook to a strip mall flanked by a Blockbuster and Scary Nail Salon.