Myspace: How It Shaped a Generation

Picture this: It’s late 2005. You come home from school, sit down at the computer, and turn it on. Soon, the screeching wail of dial-up echoes throughout your house. After a grueling couple minutes of staring at the progress bar, Internet Explorer launches. What do you type in the URL bar?

If you were like millions of other Millennial’s (especially those embracing a scene phase) you probably headed to MySpace. Let’s take a look back and appreciate the good and the bad of our first social media platform.

OriginsAfter its launch in January 2004, MySpace netted over 1 million users in its first month. Angst teens and preteens all over the world flocked to this new home and were greeted with open arms by their first friend: creator Tom Anderson. They interacted with others in a way many never had before: online. By the end of 2006, MySpace had over 5 million registered users. But what was so great about it?

The Good

MySpace offered us a newfound connection to the outside world from the relative safety of our homes. Sure, we had AIM and Yahoo! Chat before, but those chat platforms were cold and impersonal compared to MySpace. With customization profiles and music to Bulletins and your Top 8, MySpace drew us in fast and hard. Our profiles were an extension of us, for better or worse.

We made them represent us, or at least, the version of us we wanted others to see. We learned a little bit of coding to make sure we had the BEST profile theme (I still remember how to make text <b>bold</b>). We chose our favorite song to play for others as soon as they clicked on our profile. We METICULOUSLY chose our Top 8 knowing that if we moved anyone too high or too low, there would be several angry friends waiting for you at school.

Online stalking became the norm as we all waited to see the “Online Now” icon on our crush’s page. We got a surge of adrenaline whenever we saw the “New Messages!” or New Comments!” notification on our page. But most of all, we became a part of an online culture that has only grown. Social media has drastically changed the world we live in, and it all started with MySpace.

And of course, MySpace brought us viral videos like Chris Crocker and the infamous “Leave Britney Alone!” And we should be thankful for that.

The Bad

MySpace is remembered fondly by most, but it wasn’t always as covered with rainbows as some of our profiles were.

Myspace was often an avenue for self-expression, but that wasn’t always a good thing. With the rise of MySpace came a previously impossible lack of anonymity. We know it all too well today, since what you say and do on social media often has severe real-life consequences, but back then, everything was new. The news media often used MySpace profiles and photos in their stories, which taught us early on that nothing on the internet is private.

We also saw a rise in cyberbullying and catfishing. In 2006, a girl named Megan Meier committed suicide after being a victim of cyberbullying on MySpace.

MySpace Now

Our beloved first social media platform has gone through multiple changes over the years in both ownership and function. Where it was once a place we could gather and communicate with our friends, it has evolved into something else entirely.

In 2008, Facebook became the social media giant we all love and hate, replacing MySpace for better or worse. Now, MySpace serves as a platform for musicians, writers, and other creators to share their work and discover the work of others. Users can discover artists, music, videos, writers, and other types of entertainers in a modern, sleek interface.

A New Online

With the rise of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media sites, we often don’t miss the days of MySpace, but it is always important to appreciate where we come from. MySpace helped make social media what it is today and brought us all into an age of online interaction. Now if only we could get profile themes on Facebook….

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