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andee's world: Myspace as Anthropological Curiosity

andee's world

Hello and welcome to my blog. This space will be devoted to opinions, observations, lists, articles and whatever else I feel like posting. Subjects will include music, human nature, politics, life in NYC, etc. If I paste someone else's writing up here, it is because the author said something way better than I ever could. By the way, I don't claim to be a particularly smart guy; I'm just a musician with some opinions. If you disagree with me, that's cool -- but then, you're probably wrong.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Myspace as Anthropological Curiosity

A few recurring Myspace archetypes:

If you're on Myspace, you've seen this one a billion times -- the amateur pinup girl. Her photo section is maxed out with an ever-rotating gallery of underwear shots, not to mention the additional dozen-or-so self-portraits stuck all over her graphically-overburdened homepage, which practically crashes your computer in the download process. As far as the Myspace Pinup Girl is concerned, there can never be too many pictures. She'll post eighteen bulletins a day to announce that she's put up "new pics," which always look like she took them in her parents' bathroom.

You're saying, "holy Vanity Gone Wild, Batman!", but wait! -- the "About Me" blurb reassures you that "If you think I'm just a pretty face think again, I am inteligent and fierce and deffinatly more then meets the eye."

Oh! How did I miss that?

Myspace is a dating service for some, and it is interesting to see the radically different ways in which guys and gals present themselves to the rest of the community. Some are painfully open and earnest, while others hide behind an elaborate smoke-and-mirrors presentation.

On the a-little-too-eager side of things, here's a Myspace blurb written by a divorced man from New Jersey:

Who I'd like to meet:
SOME NEW FRIENDS."I WOULD LIKE TO JUST MEET NEW PEOPLE OF ALL KIND'S". MY THING IS PLAYING MUSIC, I PLAY THE DRUMS AND THE PIANO. I CAN SING AND WRIGHT MUSIC AS WELL. . I LOVE TO DRAW AND PAINT AND HAVE BEEN DOIN SO MOST OF MY LIFE. I TRY TO DO MY BEST AS A MAN. IM NO ANGEL! "BUT WISH I WAS." I WANNA BE THE MAN GOD WANTS ME TO BE, IT'S NOT MY WILL ITS HIS.I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO MEET A LADY WHO LIKE'S TO LAUGH & ENJOY HAVING FUN. WHO ENJOY'S CONVERSATION ALL THE TIME. WHO WILL TAKE ME AS I AM! SOMEONE WITH A GREAT PERSONALITY, SOMEONE WHO ENJOY'S TO DANCE,WALK,PLAY, AND BE ROMANTIC.I WANNA MEET SOMEONE WHO JUST LOVE'S TO BE HELD, HUG'D & KISS'T ALL THE TIME.IM A FUN LOVING PERSON. "PLEDGE OF LOVE'' I've made a vow, to no one but you I pledge my love to forever be true I'll take care of you and treat you right I'll lay beside you all through the night I'll feed you and clothe you and keep you warm I'll hug you and kiss you and give shelter in the storm I'll help you and guide you and clear a path I'll protect you and shield you from an angry man's wrath I'll listen to your problems help you solve them too I'll make you a rainbow and let the sun shine through I'll take your side even if you're wrong Just to prove our love is strong I'll plant you flowers and make them grow They'll be a symbol of love that only we'll know I'll whisper your name when no one is near So low that only you can hear You'll feel my love even if we're apart You'll know that we are one in heart. All my love alway's, Frank.

Well, hey, I appreciate the man's sincerity, I really do. Cheers, Frank!

On the other end of the spectrum, you've got the brooding, fetish-y types who try to seem as dark and impenetrable as possible by affecting a carefully cultivated aloofness. You know them -- they've got adjectives for names. All of their photos are professionally shot, with lots of latex in the wardrobe. They listen to goth/industrial bands you've never heard of. Cryptic, nonsensical blurbs create a facade of "edginess" and reveal just enough about the person to seem exotically alluring -- yet completely unavailable. A cyber turn on!

Myspace is a great promotional tool, if you're selling something. My band has gotten some visibility from being on the site, but we're definitely not using the networking potential to its fullest extent (I'm a lousy schmoozer). But many of the other musos on Myspace are obnoxiously aggressive about selling themselves. They take every opportunity available to plaster their self-promo across the landscape. If you've got a profile on Myspace, chances are a band has already used it as advertising space.

Here's a typical scenario: you get a "friend request" from a band. If you accept the request, their foot is now in your door, and they will start promoting. First thing they'll do is leave a comment on your page, which will go something like this:

"Hey, thanks for the add! You rock! Check out our video and download our new songs at and stop down to our show this Thursday at the Douchebag Lounge, etc etc..."

This friendly greeting is, of course, framed in a giant, bandwidth-gobbling banner that now dominates about a third of your homepage and features a huge rendering of the band's logo, photos, all the requisite web links, and maybe even a video, if they're particularly obnoxious. It's like having a neon sign installed on the front of your house.

And by the way, these people? They have no interest in you whatsoever.

Ok, you get your Myspace profile set up. Now all you have to do is pick a default photo -- this, along with your name, will become your thumbnail identity on Myspace, like an icon. Your photo is probably what will draw people in more than anything else, right?

So pick a good one! A flattering shot that highlights your great cheekbones; an action shot that catches you doing what you love to do -- like surfing or playing your guitar; a photo that reveals your loveable sense of humor -- you know, lampshade over the head, that kind of thing.

Or, use a photo in which you are posing with 15 of your friends, and leave people to guess which one you are.

I don't know why so many people do this. Maybe they're trying to say "look at how popular I am!" Or perhaps,

"Hi, my name is Julie, and I'm an 18-headed monster!! ARRRRRRR"

On your Myspace page, you get to share a bit about yourself by listing your favorite movies, books, general interests, etc. The "favorite music" section is often worth a chuckle because so many people are just afraid to admit that they only like one kind of music. Either that, or they genuinely think that being "eclectic" means listening to both rock and hip hop. I always see stuff like:

"I don't just like one kind of music, I'm all over the place, I listen to pretty much everything -- Jay Z, Britney, J-Lo, Linkin Park. Anything goes!"

And if I had a nickel for every time I've seen "I listen to everything except country," I would be able to buy Myspace...and turn it into an all-country music website. Which is exactly what I would do.

I can understand why some people are so bored. Home with the 'rents in a small town, not much to do. The cure for this excruciating suburban ennui? The internet! And, more specifically, Myspace, where you can post thousands of bulletins to your other bored friends all day long.

No topic is too trifling for the Myspace bulletin board, no observation too inane. Some common subjects of bulletin postings include:

*up-to-the-minute updates on your haircut

*your feelings on puppies

*surveys on topics like "where was the wildest place you had sex?! what is your favorite position?! have you ever been in a 3-some?!"

*copy-and-paste chain mail postings which, depending upon whether or not you participate, will ensure either three years of good luck or eternal damnation in hell

* new photos of yourself (see also the MYSPACE PINUP GIRL). The urgency of sharing the latest fruits of your digital camera is a given. So is your tragic need for hourly compliments.

Like I said, I totally understand why people are bored. But the Myspace bulletin board is almost useless to anyone who has anything serious to post on it. No matter what you've got to say, it is bound to be washed away in the ceaseless tide of trivial minutiae...

Alot of people on Myspace seem to be following a biological imperative to collect as many Myspace friends as they possibly can -- the more the better; quantity over quality. These are the ones who blindly solicit your "friendship" without sending a note or even checking out your page to any great extent.

And I have noticed that alot of bands, particularly, make it a point to stack their "friends" section with loads and loads of porn and model chicks. I'm not sure why...but I keep seeing the same platinum-haired, silicon-enhanced hussies all the time on band sites! Do all those bands really know these 15-20 gals from Los Angeles with names like "Tequila" and "Forbidden", or do they just want the cheap eye candy?

And by the way, if you ever look at the porn and model chicks' profiles (which I have), you'll notice that these young ladies always have thousands of friends -- and piles and piles of ass-kissing comments left by drooling, sycophantic, horny guys who think that maybe, just maybe, if they say the right thing, they will get lucky.

And, who knows? Maybe they will. After all, it's Myspace, where dreams can come true...

And the mating call rings out:

"Damn, gurl, ur hott!"


Blogger spycygrl said...

Do all those bands really know these 15-20 gals from Los Angeles with names like "Tequila" and "Forbidden", or do they just want the cheap eye candy?

...or "Cinnamon"...
Oh, wait! You DO know a gal from L.A. named Cinnamon! hee.
That Tila Tequila chick is on every dude's MySpace page. I think she spends all day every day sending out Friend requests. Gah. You also forgot the MySpacer who has no photos uploaded, no interests other than "Fast cars and fast women", has only 1 friend, so far -- the ubiquitous "Tom" -- and sends me a message, "u look kool. i'm new to l.a. email me if you wanna hook up."

I would imagine that emailing this dude would lead to my photo on the side of the milk carton.

5:51 PM  
Blogger sheena said...

Hey Andee!

All of this entry can sum up Live Journal, as well! I never could get into MySpace, and never got past the Friendster revolution.

Hope you are well!


4:50 AM  

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