Tom, U Up?: Contemplating a move back to MySpace

The Buzz Bin

There's been a lot of talk among my actual friends and social media "friends" about leaving Facebook behind in favor of less data-breachy outlets. It's hard to imagine people will want to spend time rebuilding their Facebook worlds on another platform, but I understand the impulse. We see less of our friends' posts every day and more advertising — nevermind the whole accidental-toppling-of-our-democracy aspect of Mark Zuckerberg's platform.

As I started seeing more "I'm logging off forever" Facebook posts, I evaluated whether one option might be a return to the start of my social media life, back before "social media" had a name. If I say goodbye to Facebook, might I once again say, "Hello, MySpace"?

Having not visited MySpace in at least a decade, well, let's just say it was a little weird. My profile used to automatically play a favorite tune when visited (Sleater-Kinney's "Jumpers"), but no more. The site has been dramatically redesigned, of course, and instead of a recognizable "profile picture," there's just an evolving series of stock photos. Oh look, birds! A drum set! A bunch of longhorns! What these have to do with me, I have no idea, unless you slather the birds and beef in BBQ sauce and drop those drums in a Texas roadhouse. But I digress.

I joined MySpace probably around 2005, using an email address from four jobs ago, so naturally I can't begin to access my own page. I looked for MySpace's Tom Anderson — my first social media "friend," along with everyone else who joined back then — to ask for help, but he was nowhere to be found.

What I did find at, then, is an oddly preserved slice of life 13 years ago. Among my "Connections," some are still dear friends, while others I can't remember. There are stores and former employers now out of business and bands who have broken up. Most horrifying is evidence I once listened to some electronic music. Yikes.

The upside is rediscovering some still-accessible photos I'd forgotten. I had posted snapshots of Sleater-Kinney's last pre-sabbatical show on there, and one of Tommy Lee maybe giving me the finger at a Sundance Film Festival party. There's a shot of me and Joan Jett backstage at a Warped Tour, her smiling because she doesn't know I just stole beers from her bus. And best of all: A bunch of pretty bad shots from a private Beastie Boys show that MySpace hosted at a Utah hotel.

The verdict: MySpace in 2018 might be a nice place to visit for the memories, but I wouldn't want to live there again. ♦

Exercises in Passivity @ Prichard Art Gallery

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About The Author

Dan Nailen

Dan Nailen is the managing editor of the Inlander, where he oversees coverage of arts and culture. He's previously written and edited for The Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City Weekly, Missoula Independent, Salt Lake Magazine, The Oregonian and KUER-FM. He grew up seeing the country in an Air Force family and studied...