A couple of years ago, as part of my mom's ongoing quest to relieve her basement of all the shit that spontaneously piles up because she might actually, you know, use it one day, she made me spend an afternoon sifting through the boxes of crap that I'd left behind when I moved away a dozen years prior. Among the contents: a random assortment of old stereo equipment, a handful of polished rocks, a few computer diskettes and a stack of notebooks containing my first awkward attempts at being a writer.
"Dear God," I thought, skimming over some morose, stunningly awful poetry, "no one must ever see this." I then shamefully deposited the notebooks in the trunk of my car, drove them to a dumpster far away, lit that dumpster on fire and never looked back.
I now feel kind of the same way about MySpace.
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And so I'm deeply troubled by Justin Timberlake's announcement last week at the Consumer Electronics show that America's saddest social network is about to kick off yet another desperate grab at some kind of relevance. It will be known as MySpace TV, and according to Timberlake — who made the worst investment of his life when he became part owner of what is now the Internet equivalent of Cleveland — it's going to "take television and entertainment to the next step by upgrading it to the social-networking experience."
At first I was okay with that. The idea, evidently, is that you can watch TV on MySpace just like on your regular TV, using the site's platform to interact with your friends about it as it happens. And while most of the time watching TV on the Internet is great because you don't have to do it in real time, the exception to that rule is sporting events, which just don't make any sense to watch later — and admittedly, the concept of watching a game and shit-talking your friends concurrently via social network is pretty cool. Also, thinking about MySpace made me think about when Justin Timberlake was a musician, and then I thought about "SexyBack," and that was awesome. I love "SexyBack."
But that was before, for the first time since mid-2004, curiosity prompted me to open up my old MySpace profile, and what I saw made me want to ensure that nobody ever uses MySpace again. Said profile was pimped. There were multiple widgets. A shitty song I had mercifully forgotten writing was playing on the music player. On the comments wall, the most recent commenter had written "IM FUCKEN PISSED AT YOU!!!!" It was horrible, horrible. I would just delete it, but I can't figure out how, and I know in my heart that lighting my computer on fire won't help now any more than it did the time I was indicted for long-term securities fraud. Damn you, paperless information systems!
At any rate, that's why I'm urging you not to let MySpace TV tempt you. In all likelihood, your profile is just as dark a secret as mine, and I pledge right now that I won't look if you don't. Let's just forget this ever happened.