I’m glad I’ve finally succumbed to peer pressure and established a MySpace page. Being part of the MySpace community has really helped me see what a sad loser I am.
Not that I was surprised to learn this. But MySpace isn’t really meant for people whose age falls on the wrong side of 30, and that’s one of the reasons I resisted for so long. Occasionally someone would ask if I had a MySpace page, and I would point out that I have my OWN WEB SITE, with a blog and everything, and thousands, if not dozens, of readers every week, and what do I need MySpace for?
You kids, with your MySpace, I would think. If I get on MySpace, what comes next? Starting a “podcast”? Buying a “BlackBerry”? “Downloading” “ringtones”? Where does it ever end?! You kids, with your rock ‘n roll….
Besides, according to all the news stories I’d read, the only people who use MySpace are 1) teenagers and 2) people who want to have sex with teenagers. Since neither category describes me, I didn’t see the point. If I want to feel old and uncool, I can go to Hot Topic at the mall and ask them to turn down the music. (Seriously, why do they play it so loud? And why must the singers sound so angry?)
But alas, I was finally convinced of the benefits of MySpace as a tool for reconnecting with old friends and staying in touch with current ones — you know, the same thing Friendster was, during the four or five minutes that Friendster was “the thing” a couple years ago. So I signed up and was almost immediately contacted by someone I knew in high school who I’d hoped I would never talk to again. The MySpace magic was already working!
If you’re unfamiliar with MySpace, here’s how it works. You enter whatever information about yourself you want — age, hometown, personal interests, nude photos, links to other sites, pictures of rabbits with pancakes on their heads, whatever — and MySpace puts it onto a shiny page for you. (My page is MySpace.com/EricDSnider, of course.) Then you find friends who are also on MySpace, and you add them to your Friends list, and they do the same for you, and soon you have this vast network of friends and semi-friends whom you can communicate with — and this is important — without ever having to speak directly to another live human being.
You can write a blog on your MySpace page, too, and after a bit of browsing, I discovered the greatest thing about MySpace: People fill their blogs with some truly personal, embarrassing things about themselves. For example, here’s a gem from an 18-year-old lovesick kid:
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
blankness of my heart
Current mood: sad
hate, you, love, you, be, you, from the back of my hear
like the dark never ending universer
revolving with no intention of stopping,,,,,,
hate, greed, stuborness….. angered at who you are and what im becoming *lonely******** stars so bright but with no purpose
like you, but like all, suffering and revolving.
but how do we know things revolve?
because someone told us with no feeling
intention of what is to become,wait no reason behing this revovling_________ exhuastion
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Am I violating his privacy by posting it here? No! That’s the beauty part! His profile is public, for all the world to see! So rather than being illegal or unethical for me to show it to you, it’s merely unkind.
Meanwhile, another do-it-yourself site that I’ve become fond of lately is Wikipedia. It’s basically an encyclopedia of all the world’s knowledge, written and edited by regular people, and by regular people, I mean Internet people. Pretty much anyone who’s anyone and anything that’s anything has a page — but, since it’s written by people who hang out on the Internet a lot, there is a great deal of information about things like comic books and movies and quite a bit less on, say, opera.
But the great thing is, ANYONE can edit stuff on Wikipedia. You don’t have to be an Internet nerd. You don’t even have to know what you’re talking about. You can even, as I recently did, make stuff up and add it to the official entry.
For example, see if you can spot the two pieces of sabotage I introduced to the “X-Men” page:
(I know, they made it easy for you on one of them, with the different link color and all. The other one is less obvious, until you read it.)
Or what about the factoid I added to “The Barber of Seville”:
So you can see that the Internet is a fun place where regular people like you and me can express ourselves and tell lies and disrupt others’ lives, just like the dark never ending universer.
There is even a Wikipedia page about me. My brother Jeff wrote it first, but then the Wikipedia nerds said that isn't allowed because he's my brother, so then someone else wrote one.
I included the screen shots of the two Wikipedia pages I tampered with because I don't expect them to remain that way for long, especially the "X-Men" one, which is perused daily by legions of fans and will surely be corrected immediately.
By the way, feel free to request that I add you as a MySpace friend. I'm very promiscuous about who I add.