Myspace

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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

  1. 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.

  2. Physical Paralysis

    Users were extremely shocked at everything Myspace offered.

  3. 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.

  4. 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. 

 

Works Cited:

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.

 

Reddit

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If one were to ask a college student if they know of Reddit, the most common answer would be yes. reddit is a very unique website when it comes to online forums. It was founded by two 22 year old graduates from University of Virginia in June of 2005(The History of Reddit). Reddit users, also known as redditors, flock to reddit to be up to date on news and topics currently trending. The idea of reddit is that any user can submit an entry under certain “subreddits”, which are subsections of reddit where anything can be found, ranging from cute animals to horrific pictures. Now you may be thinking, what is the big deal about this reddit website? What makes reddit so extraordinary is that it is an anonymous forum of social media that is direct at the general population. It allows one to be themselves and not worry about what their peers would think. Accounts can also be created in a matter of seconds, and the website is very easy to navigate which draws lots of users in. Interestingly, many of these ideas can be linked to Tom Gunnings article “Re-Newing Old Technologies.”

In Tom Gunnings article, he states “Astonishment is inherently an unstable and temporary experience. One finds it difficult to be continually astonished by the same thing”(Gunning). Unlike Instagram where photos and videos can only be posted, reddit is filled with anything you can think of on the internet. Based on the subreddits you visit, you look at anything you want. This is very important in our generation because we are known as the “We Generation”, meaning we want certain things and have things personalized our way. There is always something new on reddit every day which leads one to believe that this website will thrive for a long amount of time. It also states in the article that “new technologies evoke not only a short-lived wonder based on unfamiliarity which greater and constant exposure will overcome, but also a possibly less dramatic but more enduring sense of the uncanny”(Gunning). This can be related to almost any activity. For example, a new game may be trending in the app store. The game may be the most fun game on your phone, but in the next week, it will be old and a new one will replace it. This seems to be a common occurring theme, showing in many social media sites like Myspace and Friendster. However, reddit is only growing in size and continues to impress me every day as more people join. It gives a new insight to other peoples lives, some you may even know personally.

Reddit can become very addicting, and it is apparent in the image of “What my parents think I do” in the meme. My friends constantly think it is making me more stupid, but I really am much more up to date on things going on in the news. Society tends to think of redditors as the common computer geek, seen in the picture above. Also, journalists have been caught using articles and even stealing comments word for word pertaining to a certain subject. Unfortunately, my girlfriends knows what kind of stuff can get posted on there like nude pictures, and I think the picture is pretty self explanatory. The last picture of what I really do seems to capture the whole idea of reddit. It is super engaging, and your identity is unknown which is symbolized by the guy wearing a ski mask over his face.

Citations

Vreeswijk, S.. N.p.. Web. 30 Jan 2014. <http://www.stikkymedia.com/blog/history-reddit&gt;.

Gunning, T. 2003. ‘Re-newing Old Technologies: Astonishment, Second Nature and the Uncanny in Technology From the Previous Turn-of the-Century’, in Thorburn, D. and Jenkins, H. (eds) Rethinking Media Change: The Aesthetics of Transition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press