Monday, 26 May 2014

You looked better on MySpace (OR why things were cooler... in our memories at least!)

I loved MySpace.

In fact, I deleted my MySpace a few months ago, only because they have changes the platform a lot since 2008, and I don't love the idea of all that information being, well, out there. I didn't mind so much when way back when.

Here are some thoughts about the Internet from, well, my point of view.

Back in 1997 my Dad decided that we would get the Internet! We would buy blocks of time (100 hours for $100... or something like that). Eventually we went to proper dial up, then broadband, and now wireless. I've had my own email accounts since 13, used MSN until it was kindly taken in by Skype, tried my hand at Internet dating, had several blogs with reasonable readership and taught myself little bits of HTML, most of which I can't recall apart <u>from</u> <b>formatting</b> <i>text</i>.

You could say the Internet and I have been BFFs for ages.

The cool thing about this huge amount of time of the Internet has meant that I have seen online communities grow over time. I often think that way back when, the Internet seemed like a much nicer place. Only a few of my friends had access to the Internet at home, let alone the computer skills to use it. Some had the skills but weren't so much into the socialising bizzo - actually, those people still aren't. There were long nights in chat rooms, stupid emoticon packs (I loved them), spamming friends to find out the answers to a quiz.... Sorry. I'll snap out of it.

I'm an early adopter of MySpace, and also Facebook.

MySpace was really awesome. Mostly what I loved about MySpace is that it was reasonably interactive and fully editable. You could do pretty much whatever you wanted to make the page your own. I tried so many different skins, so many little badges and gadgets and tried my had at looking much more interesting than I actually am. The only thing I didn't do on MySpace was set up music, thanks to my dial up connection.

Some of the users of MySpace were really dedicated, others were much more casual in their use of the platform. It was easy enough to use, but it really relied on looking at other people's profiles and trying to follow the 'comments' left on a profile. And then, along came Facebook.

We, my friends and I, hated Facebook.

Unlike our pretty little MySpace world, the options to personalise your page quickly dwindled, so much so that an autobiography is no longer an option on the 'About' page. With some cool gadgets for Apps, my favourite being SuperPoke, the idea was cool, but soon FB became a lot more similar to how we know it now.

I guess though, what I do like about Facebook is the simplicity of it all. Though it may take a few days, or weeks even, most people can work out what the platform is about. It is constantly changing the way things are done, and although there is ways some kind of outcry from users, most eventually go along with it anyway. Forget collecting email addresses, or stalking someone on MySpace, finding and interacting with people in your life is often as simple as using Facebook. There are privacy concerns, and part of that comes from the lack of realisation that you pay for Facebook through your personal information. That's why they want to know what you read, watch, do, live. It's all a bit Big Brother, but it is also a highly logical way of using advertising which best suits the needs of customers.

Was the Internet better way back before Facebook?

I mean, you had a smaller demographic of people who used the Internet, and quite often they were people who had the Internet as a luxury, rather than a necessity. People were using computers, not mobiles and tablets, and used their time a little more wisely, seeing as the cost of the Internet and data usage was pretty high. Socially, try going without your chosen social media platform for a few weeks (excluding holidays) and you'll see how ingrained it is in our lives.

I probably shouldn't conclude this blog without discussing Google+. I think it's a little like how the Internet used to be, providing your niche is covered. It is really different to FB and even MySpace - it is a little like a hybrid of both, but with the ability to be part of communities, rather than "groups" or being a fan of a business page. I hope that eventually more people head to the land of G+ because it's a lot less commercial than the Zuck's FB world, and perhaps a catered towards your interests, with the exception of the gossip column the blue and white platform tends to be.

If you want to see some of your old websites -