Saturday, March 31, 2007

MySpace gives me flashbacks

Why do I feel physically drained after spending the last two hours roaming through MySpace? It's not my first rodeo; I visited the social networking site about three years ago when I heard about how popular it was becoming. I expected something amazing, something I couldn't live without... and I was seriously let down. I went back today while doing research for a media/advertising class, holding out some serious hope that MySpace had a miraculous transformation.

Oh, the pain. As it did years ago, MySpace reminds me of a gaudy, hellish trainwreck of early 1990's websites. That's right, you remember back in the days when "good design" meant:
  • A massive background image that made the overlying text impossible to read.
  • Text outfitted in neon green to battle against the background image.
  • Neon green font resembles medieval handwriting, size has been set to "Infinitely Tiny," and for good measure, font styles "Bold" and "Italic" added.
  • A MIDI that immediately launches "Wind Beneath My Wings" at a volume that violates OSHA standards, with no clear way to turn it off
  • Dozens of adorable .gifs, preferably of cartoon animals holding flowers
  • Lots of blinking, flashing, shining, and rotating things, as if the page was designed by a crow
  • Page layout so whack it requires horizontal scrolling
Seeing (and hearing) one MySpace page like this was enough to give me a headache. It was all I could do not to grab the phone, call my senator, and demand legislation to protect me from such vulgar displays of bad design. What I found even worse was the fact that corporations also have their own MySpace pages (sometimes multiple pages) and despite having oodles of money to pour into a decent design, their pages were no better than the rest of the rabble. Adult Swim's MySpace page (well, one of them) was full of comments from visitors that were 90% advertisements for things like credit cards, cell phone plans, and penis enlargement pills. No stylish layout, no cool images, not even any apparent marketing for Adult Swim shows -- just a bunch of garbage.

Which leads me to this final question: WHY? What the hell is the big deal? Sure, I get that you can make your own personal space and post cursory shout-outs on friends' pages, but let's look at the bigger picture here. What the hell is the point? And why does anyone else really care? Sure, I found a truckload of pit bull groups on MySpace (more groups for pit bulls than any other type or breed, in fact)... but I've found larger, more organized, more mature, thoughtful, socially beneficial, carefully monitored pit bull discussion groups outside of that chaotic hellhole. When it comes to pit bulls, weeding out the crap is extremely difficult in the first place; a trip to MySpace only makes that crap much, much more prolific, much more ingrained, and much more difficult to sort out.

Conclusion: MySpace sucks. You wanna make friends? Get a hobby and join a local club. Do some volunteer work. Go out with workmates. If you're going to seek friendship on the Internet, please, for the love of all that is holy, learn a little bit about good webpage design! I'm talkin' to you too, corporate America.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i love ur site, i have to agree with everything u have on it..pit bulls are very sweet dogs, u just have to give them the time and patience and right training to make it come true.