Myspace was founded in 2003 and became the most visited social networking site in the world from 2005 until 2008. It was one of the first and only sites like it, where people were allowed to customize their page and pick their music, along with keeping up with social networking. It was the thing to have or you weren’t considered “cool”. In late 2008 Facebook took over as the main social networking site. Since then the number of Myspace users have declined steadily in spite of several redesigns. Myspace today is run by Justin Timberlake and its main feature is a streaming music player where users can queue songs and make their own playlists. The classic Myspace has completely been deleted so the old Myspace that everyone knew and used is gone. This “new Myspace” has radically changed it’s intention and focus from what it once was.
When Myspace first got popular, everyone had to have one. I remember my friends kept pushing me to get one even though I did not want to. It was the trend back then. Parents didn’t trust it and teens loved it. Myspace had people going through the 4 stages of amazement when it was launched. According to Onian, the 4 stages are
A striking visual or aural experience.
Everyone was amazed at how much customization could go into each individual page. Users were allowed to change anything at a drop of a hat from their pictures, wallpaper, layout to who their top 10 friends were.
Users were extremely shocked at everything Myspace offered.
A mental reaction leading to learning.
I remember going on all my friends Myspace pages and seeing how different every single one was. There were infinite things to learn about it. The one thing everyone picked up was changing their layout and their background. This taught basic html and CSS, something most people would not even consider thinking about. This amazement made users want to learn how to customize everything about their page.
A new action (Gunning, 41).
Myspace became the way of life. It was the main form of talking to friends after school, sharing photos, and showing people how much friends or comments you had. It was always open and users were constantly on it. We accepted this “new technology as second nature” (Gunning, 40).
As years went on Myspace dropped in popularity as Facebook came into play. To combat this, owners of Myspace tried to redesign. They aimed to de-familiarize ,“make it strange” (Gunning, 45) users with the interface to renew wonder in people. Myspace was trying to “[refashion] discourse away from the automatic so that the familiar becomes strange and can be rediscovered in its sensual specificity and vividness” (Gunning, 45). To my knowledge this has not worked. Through the many redesigns, Myspace still remains a distant memory. I have not heard anyone bring up Myspace unless it is to reminisce. Myspace has become this uncanny platform. It used to be all about social networking but now it is about music and sharing and listening to music-which there are multiple other more popular ways to stream and share music. It has become so different and unfamiliar and only time will tell if greater and constant exposure will overcome the idea that everyone has of Myspace and how it is not relevant anymore.
Gunning, Tom. (2003) “Re-Newing Old Technologies: Astonishment, SecondNature, and the Uncanny in Technology from the Previous Turn-of the Century”. In D. Thorburn and H. Jenkins (eds), Rethinking Media Change:The Aesthetics of Transition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp 39-60.