3.03.2007

Why I left MySpace

Last summer, I decided to join MySpace because my friend kept telling me how great it was. When he first told me about it, I didn't join right away because I wasn't sure I wanted to participate in such a sleazy, tacky place with no purpose (such as promoting a book or whatever). It's worked for him since he does photography, and his network has grown. It really took me a while to join--he was getting annoyed with my indecision, and he thought I was being uptight because I was worrying about what impact it would have on me, etc. But I joined, and ended up feeling yucky, so I yanked it the other day.

I am not being critical of people on MySpace or the concept of it--I know some decent people over there, and it's really worked for them. But overall, it seems like a big, shallow, drive-by party where a lot of people are there to be seen and not much else.

There are a lot of things I can say about it, but one thing I noticed is when people I know offline (or in other contexts) would transform into the shallow people they really weren't. Like the friends list: people chose folks they hardly knew as their "top friends", but then they wouldn't choose their supposedly "real" friends because they didn't appear cool or hot enough. Another thing I noticed is that I would meet someone offline (or in other contexts), then post a comment, and wouldn't get a response. That doesn't happen in the blog world--usually, I've noticed that if you get along with someone and post a comment on their blog, they'll eventually respond at their site or even through email. MySpace doesn't seem to foster such sincerity.

One way is how the site counts your "friends" and reminds everyone how many "friends" you have. So it becomes a game and popularity contest to see how many "friends" you can collect. Another is how it's a quick hit-and-run experience--people leave short comments and slutty or dumb pictures, send mostly useless or innane bulletins, and post blogs that no one reads--because people aren't into reading there, just mostly seeing, as if they're trying to create a music video or reality TV show, since they don't know anything worthwhile to emulate, nor can create anything independent of the sleazy culture they've been exposed to and want to aspire to.

Every time I logged on, I would be greeted with pictures of half-dressed people who were part of ad campaigns for singles sites, or a list of new members who were always in ignorantly exaggerated poses as if they were trying out for an MTV spot. The stuff I don't like about the popular culture that appeals to the lowest common denominator is all there.

Sure, people use it to keep in touch with their friends and family, and others have succesfully used it for their professional and creative endeavors, but at this point, I don't have such needs. And I don't want to be on that "popularity" ride, receive friend requests from mercenary people, see tacky layouts that take forever to load, or be exposed to the aesthetically unappealing MySpace site design that is technically faulty and has no purpose other than to get more consumers.

If you're there with no purpose, it does, indeed, seem to be the ghetto of the Internet. But if I ever need to be there to promote anything, I'm going back. Until then, I'm going to stick to blogs, and other aesthetically pleasing and relatively quality sites.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sorry to see you sign off MySpace, but at least I can read up on your endeavours here. :)

-Larry (LTrain)

mj said...

Well, unfortunately, I'd love to write stuff about hopes, dreams, observations, etc., but this isn't a journal--tho I'm sort of tempted to start one :)

The only good thing that came out of my MySpace experience was going to your party and meeting you! Stay in touch and let me know if you're gonna have another one! I had a blast!