With so many social media platforms to choose from today, each with their own pros and cons, it’s hard to remember a time when there was only one: MySpace. In the 00s, MySpace was the place to be, and here are 5 reasons why we miss it so.
No matter how new your page was, you started out with one friend.
Tom. Remember Tom, the creator of MySpace? He wanted to be everyone’s friend. Of course, we wasted no time adding our other friends, but we never had to stare at a big fat goose egg of a friends list. Tom wouldn’t let that happen. What a standup guy, that Tom.
MySpace taught everyone basic coding.
The customization abilities of our MySpace pages kept us glued to the screen for hours, learning basic HTML code to glitter the place up and find the perfect bling to make our page better than everyone else’s. Today, I can barely remember the “<a href=“link”/a>” code. Seriously, I had to look that up. Back then, we could all type that and more in our sleep. And if you didn’t want to bother with coding your page, there were plenty of people offering blocks of code to try for free. We were all a little smarter with the HTML back then.
The Top 8 became a relationship evaluation.
The order of our Top 8 friends was more than a list of our bffs. It signified which friends we’d bail out of jail versus which friends we’d be sitting next to in the cell. It showed everyone who we were tight with, who we were fighting with but still loved, and who had grievously wronged us. It was popularity, competition, and an expression of love (and sometimes hate) all rolled into one. Making it into someone’s Top 8 made you the bomb. Falling out of someone’s top 8 made you scandalous. Oh, the Top 8. So many relationships began and ended there.
We felt the love, not the advertisements.
Getting home from school to a host of new notifications was the highlight of the day. Someone commented on your picture! Someone else said something on your blog! Messages! Friend requests! Too many exclamation points! They all added up to interaction we looked forward to for hours, and the more we were on MySpace, the more notifications we received, and that meant we were cool. And we didn’t have to deal with ads, spam requests, or weird feed prompts. It was all about us.
It became THE platform for expression.
MySpace became the place we turned to discover new bands and listen to new music. Indie artists were being discovered for their talent all over MySpace, so there was street cred to be had by saying we listened to the now-famous before they were somebody, and for the musically inclined, the chance of discovery was a tantalizing lottery win.
But the music possibilities didn’t end there. The MySpace playlist was the first digital version of the mixtape. We used them to say something about ourselves, to say something to our crushes in the hopes they’d visit our page, and in general showcase our level of cool. The playlist was Very Important in the MySpace world.
Bonus: MySpace started the selfie (and maybe duckface).
Whether we consider this a good thing or a bad thing, how many of us learned to perfect our mirror portraits in order to post them on our page? How many of us learned that looking up to the camera solved our double-chin problem, and pursing our lips gave us better cheekbones? Sure, we’d have learned it with Facebook and later platforms, but we didn’t. MySpace will always be notorious for the invention of the selfie with duckface.
Notorious or hip, the place for drama and gossip, we all began to understand the meaning of “internet persona” on our MySpace pages. It’s where many an identity was created and discarded, where we dared to be something new or be ourselves but better. MySpace left its mark, and like all cultural things with a shelf-life—80s hair bands, the grunge era of the 90s, etc—we look back on it with a bit of a cringe and a smile.