Internet Social Networking is a Cruel Mistress and Has ADD
or the sad short significance of MySpace.com
Okay, so it seems almost everyone these days is tied into some form of internet social network. First there was MySpace, then Facebook now the young upstart Twitter has taken over.
I along with a lot of my co-workers and friends are all over the Facebook thing. Facebook started as a college-only networking service, but quickly became an adult infused sight. It's a great tool to keep in touch with friends and family near and far. You log on and in about 15 minutes you can catch up with what's going on in their lives, check out photos from a party and poke fun at each other through comments and IM postings. Plus there have been some fun "25 random things about me" types of questionaires which have proven to be entertaining and helpful in understanding and appreciating folks, especially ones with whom you work. It's been fun.
The formatting has changed and it has too much advertising for my liking, but Facebook still is a great way to stay connected. I mean, come on...I have IM conversations with my favorite niece who's living in Japan for crying out loud. At no cost!! That alone is worth it. But apparently the allure of Facebook is waning in favor of that young, hip upstart...Twitter.
Okay Okay... I admit it. I have gotten caught in the vortex of the evil time-sucking beast that is Twitter. Where Facebook has the charm of furthering current personal relationships online, Twitter is all about the Siren's song of celebrity interaction with mere mortals. "If I make a witty comment or a snarkily worded dis, Rainn Wilson will notice me and retweet!!"
Alright... it IS kinda cool when one of them replies. Definitely cool... which is why we all feed this beast. And therein lies the trap. But the bottom line is, it's a caste system. The celebs are on there to promote their own agenda while furthering their own careers. And when they say they want to "connect" with their fans, they really mean OTHER celebrities, because really we're just chopped liver... chopped liver that pays for their life styles, but chopped liver none the less. Oh, and also they can score lots of free shit from people because, you know, they're celebrities and they don't make enough money to pay for their own tickets or merchandise themselves.
I sound bitter, don't I? I'm not bitter. That's just the way it is. Now granted there are some people on Twitter who are truly entertaining to follow-Steve Buscemi, Rob Corddry, Paul Fieg, Diablo Cody and yes, the divine Rhett Miller come to mind. And there are some practical uses for its instant updating nature, like when we go to SXSW, the immediacy of Twitter will probably prove invaluable. But generally it's just one big, farging ego stroke. Plus now people have become even more disconnected with the flesh and blood reality which surrounds them. Seriously. Based on some of the tweets (yes, they're called "tweets"...pretty lame) I've read, people are now compelled to post during social functions like concerts, plays and parties instead of enjoying said event.
I just read that the Twitter population has grown 1000% and probably will be THE online social network very soon if not already. But like everything in the ADD world of the interweb, Twitter better not get too comfortable as leader of the pack. There's always something else waiting in the wings to knock it off its top-step perch.
Which brings me (finally) to the subject line of this blog. The rise and fall of MySpace.
MySpace was the first successful social network. With the popularity of Facebook and meteoric rise of Twitter, MySpace has become the grand dame, the Nora Desmond if you will, of the internet world, fading into the background waiting for its close up that will never come again. It has been disregarded in the same way as the dreaded 34-death advertising demographic.
I feel badly for poor little MySpace, perhaps because I can totally relate to its decline from favor. It used to be vital and virile and all that. Now it's hit its middle age and has been cruelly left on the berm of the information highway with an empty bottle of tequilla and a fading love bite, unsuccessfully thumbing a ride to the next exit. Rendered completely insignificant by these flashier, shinier youngsters.
However there is still one arena in which neither Facebook nor Twitter can touch MySpace's impact... and that is accessibility to musicians and their music. MySpace still remains the Mecca of musical promotion. It is the ONLY place to hear full-length songs from young, struggling, indie unknowns to powerhouse veterans. I can't tell you how many times I log onto ole Ms. MySpace to check out more tunes from unfamiliar bands I've heard on WYEP or World Cafe. It's an invaluable tool to me. And for this contribution alone she deserves respect. Much like other older models, people included, there's still life and usefulness in this old bird.
Don't believe me--just log onto Twitter and see how many people post links to MySpace. And if you aren't already on Twitter..DON'T START!! I'm serious. Don't get trapped in the dark vortex! (she says as she refreshes her Twitter page) Go outside in the fresh air and play with your real friends. It will do your soul good.