scene of MySpace is a reality enhancer for some and a waste
of time for others
By David King
I gave up life as a pirate on the South China Sea to pillage
villages in Indochina proper. The hyphen is the mark of the
Beast: use it at your own discretion,· reads the MySpace
description of a friend of mine. Next to the description is
a drawing of Elvis dressed as some sort of holy man, and next
to that is the phrase ·hail Satan.· Someone
not familiar with my friend·s personality might think
him a deranged acid freak, not a grad student who is simultaneously
frustrated and amused by the power of the Internet social-networking
It·s likely that someone you know is logged on to MySpace
right now. Someone I know certainly is. If you are reading
this in an office, it is likely that more than one of your
coworkers has the ·online now· light flashing
next to his picture. I know mine do. I know, because I·m
there right now. In fact, I·ve been there for a few
weeks, hanging out in the digital popularity contest, trying
to get a grip on the growing scene. My eyes are bloodshot,
my vision is blurry, and my fingers are tingly and numb, but
I need to find out if this is the ultra-advanced, synthetic
scene replacement I have been promised it may be. I·ve
been logging on briefly between phone calls, writing. . .
. OK, yeah·real work. And I·ve seen most of
you logged on, too.
I·m currently listening to ·Not Alone·
by the Traveling Wilburys. My current mood is: Optimistic.
I·m told there are 76,734,163 people in my network.
I, however, only have 41 friends, most of whom are trying
to market their bands to me, or are authors (or, I should
say, authors· PR people). The rest, well. . . . The
rest are mostly a bit off-kilter, balancing their disdain
for the site and its whorey, tell-all vibe with their need
for recognition, attention and acknowledgement. They, like
me, are MySpace latecomers.
friends probably aren·t like mine. A lot of your friends
are probably here for the ass. Heck, you might be, too.
I·m currently listening to ·This Modern Love·
by Bloc Party. My current mood is: Excited.
Your friends might be those people with the half-naked glamour
shots they Photoshop into perfection before applying names
like Booty Girl or Pimp Stud or Metal Chick or XXVEGANDUDEXX.
They pose with low-cut dresses or tank tops, topless, holding
their chests, or flexing their muscles, blowing kisses at
the screen or flashing some tough-guy symbol. They dye their
hair unnatural colors and lay on the mascara, whether male
or female. They might be the ones dropping you lines about
one-night hook-ups with no strings attached. Those are usually
the ones with the most friends. They also like to leave comments
on pages of attractive members, saying things like ·Damn
you look fine. Let·s hook it up.·
currently listening to ·Bang a Gong· by T.Rex.
My current mood is: Jealous.
are the information pukers, the personal-data pushers. They
are the ones who just don·t know when enough personal
information is enough. They fling data about themselves at
their page until something sticks. They are kind enough to
inform you how their day is going, how old they are, their
sexual preferences, body temperatures, favorite bands, movies,
books. They keep you up to date on which tracks they are currently
listening to, what their current mood is, how they plan to
take over the world. They publicly post things they wouldn·t
dream of shouting in a crowded section of the mall, despite
the fact that more people are probably listening in the world
friends post endless strings of blogs and bulletins on their
pages, harassing all their friends with their drunken ramblings
or their moments of clarity. They are the ones making sure
to announce to the world their disdain for their job, their
drug usage, their sexual escapades, and their hatred of their
boss. They want attention, and they will take it any way they
can get it. They post personal schedules most would keep in
a black book under lock and key. Thursday: colonoscopy; Friday:
give two-week notice; Saturday: full-body wax.
I·m currently listening to ·Swarm Reigns (Down)·
by Isis. My current mood is: Uncomfortable, or perhaps . .
Always looking for validation, these ·sharing·
MySpace friends are also likely to be way into online quizzes,
tests and questionnaires. They will always be willing to share
their results with you. Of course, MySpace is not a one-way
street, and it is amazing what these friends will help you
learn about yourself. In case you were wondering, I·m
not letting you get away without sharing some of my deep discoveries.
MySpace tells me that I belong in Cocytus, the 9th level of
Dante·s hell, and according to the ·How Evil
Are You?· test, I am 88 percent evil. On a positive
note, according to the ·Which Transformer Are You?·
test, I am Megatron.
I am currently listening to ·Suffer in Truth·
by Meshuggah. My current mood is: Mischievous.
As virtual, fake and misleading as MySpace may be, its reach
does not end when you sign off. MySpace is a living, breathing
scene with a mind of its own outside the computer. For example:
on the night of April 29, a new friend of mine who recently
moved into the area was goaded into attending a party at the
apartment of a friend of another friend·s girlfriend.
Yes, I know what you·re thinking: not a good situation.
However, he had already virtually met a number of the party
attendees on MySpace and knew their virtual ins and outs.
So-and-so only likes positive thinkers, Whosywhatsit thinks
he·s a rock star, Clammy Hands is a devout Satanist.
My new friend even took enough notice to remark at how different
some of the attendees looked from their MySpace pictures.
God bless Photoshop.
at first shy, this friend of mine ended the night (after a
couple drinks) chatty as all get-out. The next morning, the
call came. He is no longer allowed at So-and-so·s house
because he was talking trash. Unsure of whom he had offended
or how, he decided MySpace would give him the answers. In
the heat of the moment, his MySpace identity was born: I·m
Not Allowed at Your House.
I·m currently listening to ·Last Night·
by the Traveling Wilburys. My current mood is: Amused.
It didn·t end there. Some party attendees contacted
him on MySpace to apologize but said there was nothing they
could do. Later, he was told the person who banned him had
seen his new profile and unbanned him. They then banned him
for his offensive MySpace profile name. Yes, after all my
time researching this scene, I·ve discovered that MySpace
allows bored 20-to-30-somethings the chance to pretend they
are back in high school, passing notes behind the teacher·s
I·m currently listening to ·Friends Are Evil·
by Jesu. My current mood is: Disappointed.