There’s Something About MySpace

MySpace: either a dirty or welcome word when it comes to the majority of internet users out there. If you haven’t heard of it, I’ll start by welcoming you back from Pluto (which used to be a planet by the way) and attempt to explain it in 15 words or less:

Nason’s Dictionary: It’s an web-based networking system that individuals, bands or certain companies use to connect with people in a more one-on-one social fashion. Call it individual grassroots marketing in a much broader, global sense.

34 words. Eh, whatever.

Being a 28-year-old, I’m right in that age range that either love the internet or use it only as needed. My first real introduction to the Triple-W was in my freshman year at UMaine when I didn’t even own a computer and grabbing that elusive workstation to check your FirstClass was its own class….

Side note 1: For my UMaine peeps, remember this process? For me, that random computer room in the Union across from the stupid pool table/arcade room was THE prime spot. Tell me you didn’t do this a few times: waltz in around 1 pm (right after grabbing an individual pizza at the Bear’s Den and stopping by the Union to see if that elusive fraternity bumper sticker was there yet), watch the other few lurkers waiting for computers and then do ‘The Scan.’ This is where you’d survey the room and do a headcount, seeing if any spots were open. Positioning was key here as it was first-come, first-served, despite the ever-present room monitor (whose chair was way higher than it needed to be, by the way. It was like having a volleyball or tennis judge with absolutely no power. But I digress.). One false move and you were toast. I can feel an entire UMaine column coming, maybe around Homecoming time. There’s so much more to say about the defining period of my life that hasn’t been said yet. Back to our hero’s story….

….So, due to those early era internet lessons we all learned, some people got to be really leery of personal information on the ‘net while others embraced it. Chat rooms exploded and then cooled a bit as sexual predators and pedophiles do what they do and ruined it. In college, we had an instant messaging system called FirstClass that allowed you to see everyone that was on at the same time. Often, a late-night hookup could be made from this option, sadly not with myself but I’ve heard all the stories including one friend who made this practice a freakin’ art. Anyhoo, while my brother’s age group (21-ish) have embraced being ‘out there’ with pages like FaceBook and MySpace, our group is a bit comme ci, comme ca about the practice, which brings us to MySpace.

Side Note 2: No matter how much I love technology (like Kip at the end of Napoleon Dynamite), we are fast moving toward an era where communication through non-verbal means is preferred. Again, I harken to my younger bro who is amazingly comfortable with every type of e-communication possible and much like his older brother, prefers a quick text message to an actual phone call. There is something to be said for a simple conversation, but I worry that younger generations will turn away from the old-school ‘coffee shop’ approach for a more cyberspace-friendly environment that will turn face-to-faces obsolete. But as long as there’s free internet porn, I’m cool either way.

I heard about MySpace about six months ago and ‘built’ a page just messing around one night. Basically, it’s a personal page about yourself. You acquire ‘friends’ through asking other people on the site to accept a request by yourself to join your network. Then, it grows from there like a virus. You look at other people’s friends and then find more people you know. It’s an amazingly easy interface to use with everything you’d imagine you’d need. Some people add crazy backgrounds, music videos, YouTube clips and some, well, interesting pictures. It’s become a social phenomenon and is growing by the day. At last check, MySpace had over 108 million accounts, is an advertiser’s dream and was bought by Fox mogul Rupert Murdoch for over $500 million in 2004. Half-a-freakin-billion dollars. It’s here to stay, people.

As always, my gang of friends is completely split on the issue. Blog reader and resident nomad (is that a paradox?) CK just signed up Saturday after mulling the decision for a while. Within an hour, he had a few ‘friends’ and then began to surf around a bit, even begrudgingly threatening me for alerting him to something so addictive. Then, the jokes came from the other side of the issue, most centering around net addiction and things like that. Well, as a loyal user, let me list off a few reasons I like MySpace and think you should try it.

1 – It’s fun. Please insert any jokes you’d like about stalking people, especially young girls who shouldn’t be using a computer. Seriously though, I have a blast on it. I like checking out my friends’ various pictures, finding old acquaintances and leaving funny images on their comment screens. And really, why shouldn’t we be allowed to have fun on the internet, right?

2 – You’d be amazed at the people you’d find. Last week, I was looking in my high school ‘subgroup’ (you can choose your high school/college and then can do a search based on that) and saw a guy named Brandon with a multi-coloured VW bus. It turns out that the kid was a guy that grew up down the street from me way out in the sticks who I NEVER would imagine having an account. We shared a couple messages and that was that, but it was kind of cool. Multiply that story by a few hundred thousand and that’s really what MySpace is all about.

3 – Jenna Jameson is my friend. Actually, that’s really what MySpace is all about.

However, there are negatives. There are random spammers. Some people clog up their pages with a ton of videos, pics and obnoxious backgrounds to the point you can’t even read anything. And there are some strange people out there who will find you no matter what. But those are small little fleas on the back of the big dog known as MySpace. Bands are using the service more and more to spread their message, making it easier for fans and prospective labels to find them without spending huge marketing dollars. The Simpsons debuted the first eight minutes of their season premiere on MySpace (a nice co-marketing effort by Murdoch’s FOX network). As technology improves, it’s a matter of time before MySpace starts to become an even bigger part of our everyday lives. You may be thinking, “Yeah, right” but if I had told about you about Ipods or XM Radio years ago, you probably would have said the same thing.

Here’s my page. Check it out and who knows? Maybe you’ll be inspired to start your own. Just don’t forget to add me as a friend if you do…

Some other random thoughts for the week:

-Ever think and mull about a decision for a really, really long time and then a chain of events just makes the decision for you? It’s like having dark storm clouds clear out of your mental sky and be replaced with some light showers. I’m looking forward to sunny skies sooner than later.

-Two mixed martial arts classes and I’m still alive! So far, so good.

-I love the new Nike football campaign that features the high school football program that has NFL’ers like Vick, Tomlinson, Shula and others mixed in with normal high schoolers. Very well-thought out and a different spin on how to sell shoes. High school football is actually gaining a bit more prominence with advertisers thanks to movies like ‘Varsity Blues,’ book/movies like ‘Friday Night Lights’ and the new MTV show, “Two-A-Days.” The pigskin is big in New England, but nowhere near as big as Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania and some other hotspots.

-I’ve found my perfect woman and it is Storm Large.

-Still haven’t caught ‘Beerfest’ yet. I’ve heard that it’s decent and funnier than Talladega Nights, one of the bigger disappointments of the summer that’s not called the Red Sox.

Thanks for reading,

nason

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