I promised Will last week that I’d post what I thought about MySpace when I had nothing else to write about, and here we are. My dad and sister have been in town, and my teaching semester starts in five hours – between preparing food and lectures, I haven’t had much time.
MySpace is a social networking site, and certainly not the first. It is the most popular, however – it’s the sixth most popular site on the Web. Why? Because it’s high school all over again, without the books.
MySpace is a huge popularity contest. Whoever gets the most friends gets to show off. You also get to show off your hip tastes in music and images. You can join cliques – er, user groups and advertise – er, blog.
Like I told Will, I understand why people flock to the site. Who doesn’t want 384 friends? Who doesn’t want to show how with it they are? Who doesn’t want to belong to a group of cool kids?
Unfortunately, this quest for popularity leads to begging. About 90% of all MySpace messages are users asking to be added as a friend. I don’t see the point. And MySpace is a mess. The pages abandon design principles like there are none – like it’s 1994 on the Web all over again. Text appears in a range of colours, and blinks. Music plays. Images overlap or lay willy-nilly over background images. It’s a mess. If Jakob Nielsen were dead, he’d be rolling over in his grave.
I’ll stick with the new-fashioned, uncluttered Web, thanks.
Now, off to turn in a Reader’s Digest research report and thence to school.