It's been about a year since I first "discovered" MySpace, and I still don't get it. It's the first time I've been too old for an Internet culture. Or is it something about MySpace itself?

I only have one personal friend whose MySpace page I know about. But occasionally I end up there to gawk at unfortunate demi-celebrities, notorious murder suspects, or other odd collections of people. And as soon as I hit the MySpace page I'm assaulted with visual and sonic chaos. The vernacular of MySpace design is certainly colourful, but my eyes defocus and I just can't understand it. This must be what jazz sounded like to my great-grandparents. Incomprehensible.

Even when I've had the patience to get beyond the overwhelming chrome, MySpace pages are still confusing. There's a thing on the page called a "blog" but the posts require clicking on to read and are generally meaningless. Pages have lots of badges of identity (music, movies, heroes) but they always seem vapid or random.

The only content I've seen on a MySpace page that actually does tell me something is the comments from friends. For example, I think my friend on MySpace is now engaged; she doesn't say so on her page, but the pseudonym I think is her boyfriend made some comment that sounded like they were engaged. Maybe. Huh?

It's partly generational, but I wonder if my real problem in understanding MySpace is I'm not an active participant. A lot of the MySpace UI is invitations to get deeper in, send a message, make my own page, list someone as my friend. Maybe if I did that and became part of the MySpace social fabric I'd get it better. Interesting: media you have to participate in to understand.

  2007-01-20 16:14 Z