This week the return of a spiffed-up and glossy Myspace was heralded by a viral Vimeo clip -- leaked by Justin Timberlake no less -- touting a new chapter in the history of the formal social media.
Timberlake has owned a huge part of the company since 2011.
The two-minute video shows connectivity to Twitter and Facebook, which both arguably helped kill it sometime in 2009, plus a fresh outlook on posting and sharing shit about your life that we started caring about when Myspace first debuted in 2003.
You can sign in with Twitter or Facebook. What a country!
Watching the video is like having a heartwarming meeting with an old friend after a nasty falling out and finding out that they got their shit together. The site looks sleek, almost like Pinterest -- maybe too much -- and it seems very enticing.
It remains to be seen if the site will take back what it lost in the wake of the 2010 Facebook and Twitter explosions. It doesn't even have a firm street date, but the official site will let you sign up for an invite.
The song on this video -- by indie-rock supergroup JJAMZ -- reminds me of Ladytron, a band which also reminds me of my golden age of Myspace, adding to the sweet nostalgia.
The site has this to say about the new era in 'Spacing.
We're hard at work building the new Myspace, entirely from scratch. But we're staying true to our roots in one important way--empowering people to express themselves however they want. So whether you're a musician, photographer, filmmaker, designer or just a dedicated fan, we'd love for you to be a part of our brand new community.
As someone who thoroughly dug Myspace's musical culture and ease of listening, I am excited about seeing what they will do for music again. Everything else sounds like boiler plate social media speak. Empowerment, community, blah and blah.
Jeff Balke, a Houston Press writer and web designer says that Myspace did music better than any other modern social media tool.
"I think that the connections musicians could form there were certainly better than anywhere else online -- probably still are. There's also the fact that they did well on search engines, so if anyone wanted to find your music, it was really easy," he says.
Besides local and national bands shilling for hits and friends, businesses also did well.
"Page customization for bands and businesses -- not the crazy kind for individuals -- was actually pretty great," he added.
The storyline of social media in recent history goes something like this, in this order: Prodigy, Geocities, AOL, AIM, Yahoo!, Yahoo! Chat, Xanga, LiveJournal, MakeOutClub, Friendster, MySpace, Google Chat, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Chatroulette, Google +, Pinterest, Instagram, Path....and now maybe, just maybe, Myspace all over again.
But what do we miss about Myspace? A lot actually.
The Built-In Blogging Component
I am not alone in touting Myspace's blogging tool, which helped give rise to my own writing aspirations, and many others who I work side by side with now. Album reviews, food reviews, short stories, passionate musings, plus some quick pop-culture asides were a part of the daily Myspace blogger's life. People subscribed to you, which was reassuring.
Your Wall Wasn't So Busy
Remember Myspace profile walls? They were simple, easy to read (as long someone knew how to use rudimentary HTML) and totally customizable. Friends could post easily, and Myspace wasn't so transparent either. You didn't see what people "liked" every three seconds.
A big part of my Myspace experience was cultivating the right background picture or song to auto-play when someone visited your page. Feeling depressed? Why not load up that sad-ass Beck song? Feeling frisky? Throw some Stooges on there.
Passive-aggressively commenting on your relationship by changing your song? Done and done.
Now they are annoying and used sarcastically, but there was a time when they were crucial to everyday life.
"People always knew what mood you were in rather than having to type it out; we were much lazier back then," said one friend.
Imagine a world where you didn't get tagged in every bad picture for the whole world to see, or you weren't wrangled into a political discussion by a family member tagging you onto a picture of Barack Obama in devil's horns holding a dildo.
Top Friends Lists
Facebook had this function for a while, but it didn't have the pop and sizzle of the top friends feature on Myspace. Some people only had five featured, while others had fifteen. You usually put your boyfriend or girlfriend as the number one, and family and friends followed. When you broke up, they disappeared, or worse, were relegated to the bottom row, almost a worse fate. Everyone knew where they stood, and any change was life-altering.
HTML Crash Courses
To post pictures onto someone's page, you needed a Photobucket account or something comparable. That meant learning what the hell HTML was in the process, and then you got sucked into that for hours, sizing and fitting things just so. Later on with other blogging platforms, these self-taught HTML sessions would come in handy.
You Could Have As Many Friends As You Wanted
There was no limit to how many randoms you could add, or how many could add you. This gave rise to Myspace scene queens like Tila Tequila, Forbidden, and others who now troll on Twitter. These days you reach a certain critical mass and must start an official page to accommodate friends and fans, if you are so lucky.
Every girl had an awful -- yet somehow well-thought out -- Myspace profile picture, usually of them looking utterly ridiculous, and included a camera held high in the air, or obscuring less attractive attributes. Being "burned" by Myspace "angles" was a common complaint about dudes and chicks looking for love in all the wrong places.
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Tom (Anderson) was always your default "friend" in beginning, since he was one of the co-founders of the site. His smiling face was a constant in our lives, much more cuddly than that Zuckerberg bastard, who didn't want to know any of us.
No One Was Selling You Anything (Agressively)
Yes, you had to endure commercials on the sign-in page, but you weren't bombarded with ads like you are on Facebook, and even Twitter. It wasn't an ad-free zone obviously (someone was buying Zwinkies and ringtones) but Tom and Myspace weren't taking your information and using it against you. Once spam attacked Myspace in early 2010, even your grandmother and her pastor got a Facebook account.