The Fossils of Social Media

boring myspace featuresThere once was a day before Facebook when Myspace, LiveJournal, Xanga, and AOL Instant Messenger roamed free about the internet. It was in those dark days that many of us found ourselves using features that now seem archaic, but we’re strangely nostalgic about their loss.

Here are my Top 10 Myspace Features that No One Misses:

1. The “Myspace” Picture

For anyone who had a profile back before Myspace become Justin Timerlake’s side project, you know just what I’m talking about here. I don’t even need to describe the angle of these pictures… but I will.

The “Myspace Picture” was one that was taken while holding a digital camera above and to the side of your head. This angle showcased your maximum fitness while looking dramatic and totally cool!

This is why the phrase, “you looked better on Myspace” exists.

2. Tom

I know he started the company and all, but it was pretty egotistical for Tom to put his white shirted picture on every single Myspacers account. In the days before, “top friends”, Myspace showcased the people in your network who had been with the platform the longest. All that meant was that Tom appeared on every single page of people who did not manually delete him. Talk about conceited!

3. “Online Now!”

Looking back, this may be the most creepy feature that Myspace used. Just because I wanted to browse the interwebs for cool girls from school did not mean that I wanted everyone to know that I was online!

4. Body Type

I know, I know. Myspace actually asked users to provide their body type to be displayed on their profile. If memory serves me, a few options were “athletic”, “skinny”, and “more to love”.

5. Profile Songs

When compared to Facebook, Myspace was notoriously cluttered. Along with that visual clutter came an intense amount of audio. The auto play feature is what made Myspace music especially annoying. Users could set songs (like death metal) to play as soon as you landed on their pages.

But, if you were an “artsy” kid like me, this was a great way to show off just how hip you were.

6. Custom Backgrounds

Once again, this is one of those features that at the time seemed like the coolest thing ever. Looking back, the customization is what made Myspace so cluttered and ultimately irrelevant in the social media world.

Custom backgrounds were useful for showing off what band you liked, sports team you followed, or color you loved. They were also great for high school boys to change to suit the preferences of that one girl they had a crush on—not that I would know anything about that…

7. “Top Friends”

I remember the day when “top friends” went from being an arbitrary list of Tom’s longtime users to a dynamic, customizable (shocking, right?) list for users to change. In high school, that meant that your top 8 (or 12 or 50, as it would become) were constantly battling it out with each other.

I honestly remember ranking myself according to how many people’s “Top Friends” I made it into. It was a big deal to be left out of a close friend’s top 8 and an even huger deal to make it into a cute girl’s top 8.

8. Profile Descriptions

Back in Myspace’s heyday, there was a feature that required users give a short description about themselves and put it next to their profile picture. If you were cool like me (really wasn’t that cool), you used an obscure song lyric from a band you loved. Other people used things like, “Here to party!”

9. Last Login

Seriously Myspace, why the heck would anyone need to know when users were logged in?! I suppose this was before the NSA, Facebook, and Internet privacy were the HUGE deals that they are today. But even still, it was a downright creepy feature to be displayed on your profile.

10. Trolls

Yes, there are Facebook trolls, but they are not nearly as bad as the Myspace trolls were! For those who didn’t live through it, it’s hard to describe the downright creepiness of the Myspace users with faceless pictures and beyond strange messages that would send to other users.

Modern social networks do everything they can to humanize the experience, and I think that’s largely due to the fact that trolls overtook Myspace making it impossible to cross bridges without them attacking you!

So what Myspace features (if any) do you miss?

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