I know I do. I’m really struck at how things changed over a comparatively small amount of time. Come with me down memory lane….
When I was lad of 14/15, I’d add random girls on MySpace. We’d exchange picture comments, flirt, maybe add each other on msn and go on webcam together, long before the days of Skype. A lot of times we’d meet up, go to the cinema and get naughty on the back-row seats. Ah, those were the days.
And in just a few years they were gone, replaced by Facebook and ‘privacy’, and if you commented on someone’s photo who you weren’t that familiar with, you were ‘creepy’, even if you were ‘friends’ with them through some bloke you met once when you were pissed. Those same women who you’d met up with a few times in town or had some really deep, meaningful conversations with over MSN are now the ones who leave a friend request dangling for months on end, as thought it matters a damn.
I’m not the type of strange fellow who considers this sort of stuff important, but I mention it because of a hilarious example that sticks in my mind. I met a girl called Jessica, who was a friend of a friend, and over the space of about two years we’d occasionally chat over MySpace. Anyway, when Facebook came along I saw she had mutual friends and decided to add her, hoping to catch up. She didn’t accept, and eventually rejected it, but seeing as she had over a thousand friends, I was wondering, exactly what harm was I likely to do?
Then again, it pisses me off when you’ll add someone and they accept, they’ll sit there on your friend list, not talking to you, not interacting with you, just sitting there, a name and number that somehow determines your popularity.
MySpace was awesome because it was devoid of that; you could just add anyone and it was totally normal, and you’d at least exchange a comment or two to see if it was going anywhere. Back in those days, the weird people were the ones who’d say ‘Do I know you?’. Of course you fucking don’t. It’s MySpace, baby.
I also remember the ‘MySpace Celebrities’ and one in particular, Christine Dolce. Look her up, if you like. Back in those days, she was the ‘face’ of the website, a big-boobed, blonde-haired godess who looked like the next Pamela Anderson. As a randy 14 year old, I sent her a friend request, which was rejected. As a little test, I tried to add her on MySpace a few months ago, and was smugly satisfied when she accepted, mostly because it proved my point that MySpace was as good as dead, and Miss Dolce is very much grasping at straws. I looked her up on Twitter, too, and she has a meagre 25, 000 followers. In Twitter terms, that seems to be very little indeed when it comes to ‘celebrities’. No doubt she’s experiencing panic after she’s realised that she’s hit thirty and, as it turns out, is not actually famous.
I really hate Twitter. I don’t like the style of Facebook, but at least it’s a useful tool. On Twitter, you can’t talk to people, you can’t get any meaningful information across and it’s almost impossible to make friends. Oh, certainly, you can attract followers, but good luck trying to talk to them. Twitter is one huge global competition of “LOOK AT ME!!”, each user trying to outdo the other with a stupid picture, desperate plea for a ‘ReTweet’ or ground-breaking witticism, spread over a meagre 140 characters.
Going back to MySpace, I suppose the reason it flatlined was because its users grew up. They didn’t need it to meet strangers anymore; they could do that in bars, pubs and nightclubs. Personally, I was caught in a little bit of a tricky situation which I’ll explain now. Prepare to be offended, people.
I lived in a rural town about forty minutes by car from the nearest major city, Worcester. My family is rich, so my brother and I went to the posh school, and were driven in daily. I should explain here that I was a rather unique case at school. I wasn’t one of the cool kids, because I loved reading for fun, video games and preferred pubs to nightclubs. But I wasn’t one of the nerd/geek/virgins either, since I lost my virginity at 14 and shagged my way through my teenage years, and was the envy of the school when one of the hottest eighteen year old girls was dating me when I was fifteen. Oh, those were the days, alright.
The common belief at school was that if you weren’t in the cool group you couldn’t have sex. I disagreed, and proved them all wrong as I worked my way around what they called the ‘poor kid’ schools. The people there were great (especially the girls, who were as easy as anything), but the fact of the matter was, I’d met most of them over MySpace. But because I lived so far away in a town they’d never heard of (a whole 40 minutes away in a car!) they didn’t appreciate how bloody difficult it was for me to see them on the weekend, since the public transport was either terrible or too expensive. It was hard going, because these people seemed to believe that despite how many meaningful conversations you had over the phone or online, you were never truly a part of their group unless they saw you almost every other day, which for me was impossible, and as MySpace use waned, so did our friendships.
I can’t say it bothers me much anymore. Those days are long since passed, but what made me think of it was a ‘tweet’ I read this evening. A girl was apparently very upset, posting all kinds of things about how sad she was and, in a moment of idleness, I asked her if she was alright, as one would do in the MySpace days.
‘Thanks for the concern but I don’t know you’ says she. In its own way, fair enough. I wouldn’t be comfortable divulging highly personal information to a strange, either. But that begs the question: on Twitter, she follows me, and I followed her. Because Twitter is so terrible, our relationship doesn’t go any deeper than that. What more, then, do we need in order to talk? I suppose the more obvious point here is if you don’t want people to talk to you about personal things, don’t put it online.
The lesson learned here is that human beings are fucking idiots. When the aliens come, it’ll probably be for the better.
PS. Go buy my book http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sons-Caucasus-When-World-ebook/dp/B008ROJLOW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1344041604&sr=8-1