So apparently Myspace is trying to reinvent itself. Again. And while its redesign is apparently quite beautiful and it’s got Justin Timberlake as a mascot, I’m going to wait to break out the champagne. To me, Myspace is a time capsule, in both a literal sense (have you guys ever gone back to look at your pages? Oh sweet mercy is that a weird experience) and a figurative one: its rise and fall encapsulated so much about the people who used it and the world we lived in. These latest whispers about Myspace coming back from the dead got me thinking about the site and all the useful (and not-so-useful) things we learned during those fleeting years we spent perfecting our “About Me” sections and fielding messages from sexual predators. For example…

1. How to take a self-portrait in the bathroom mirror. You know, when art historians look back at the turn of this century and pinpoint the defining artistic style, I guarantee you it will be the bathroom self-portrait. Indeed, the masterworks of our time will include peace signs and duckface, and we can thank Myspace for that.

2. How to write about ourselves. In addition to your main photo, maintaining a truly great “About Me” section was of utmost importance. After all, there was a good chance your crush would read it. All that time crafting and honing our mini bios totally paid off–today many of us write about ourselves, online, for a living. (In related news, do you think my crush is reading this?!)

3. How to rank our friends. Remember the “Top 8″ friends list? Remember the thrill of clicking over to a friend’s page and seeing your own beaming face among this elite group? Remember the emotional turmoil of watching yourself drop from the #1 spot to #2 after you refused to let your BFF borrow your favorite sweater? Before Myspace, we may have had a best friend or two and a few larger groups of friends we socialized with, but Myspace required us to rank our friends numerically and publicly. Talk about a paradigm shift.

4. How to brand ourselves. “Personal branding” is a really hot topic right now. You can spend thousands of dollars on seminars and books and consultants to learn how to create your own unique brand, but if you think about it, we all got a crash course in personal branding the day we registered for a Myspace page. People who visited our pages weren’t seeing us, exactly; they were seeing a version of us that we wanted them to see. Everything from the background color to the song that played in the background to the quote next to our picture was carefully curated to represent our coolest, smartest, prettiest selves. My personal brand included a neon blue background and a System Of A Down soundtrack, which is actually pretty accurate. How about yours?

5. How to overshare. Blog posts detailing how much we hated our parents. Photo albums documenting that night we ate pizza. Detailed lists of every band we’d ever kind of liked. Maybe humans are prone to oversharing, maybe it’s a symptom of our self-obsessed culture, but either way, Myspace gave us an outlet that made it seem totally normal.

6. How to properly obsess about social media. These days everyone is constantly clicking back and forth between Gmail, Facebook, Twitter and their favorite blogs, but once upon a time, we didn’t rely quite so heavily on these websites (mostly because they didn’t exist). I remember when I first started hitting the refresh button on my Myspace page, desperately hoping for new posts and messages–it was frantic and compulsive and weird, and it was also an entirely new experience. Alas, how naive I was!

7. How to move on. When Facebook started catching up to Myspace’s popularity, many of us juggled two profiles for awhile, but before long Myspace was a ghost town.We’d spent hours customizing our pages with songs and pictures and blog posts and bling, and now, with no friends to chat with and no crushes to take bathroom portraits for, it was obvious that we had to let Myspace go. Which is good, because if we hadn’t learned to cut ties back then, who knows how many of us would still be fiddling around with Google Plus?

This post originally appeared on The Frisky. Republished with permission. 

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  • Neek

    I think Facebook is headed in the exact same direction as MySpace. If the total failure of its IPO wasn’t an indication I don’t know what is. Have you actually read someone’s post on there lately? Nope. I for one could care less if that chick from high school I used to know had bacon for breakfast. I force myself from deleting my profile now for a few reasons. 1) I’m planning on having a successful career as a graphic designer and where else will I have access to 500 people in one click. 2) my high school reunion is around the corner and this is how we keep in touch, and 3) I can send out birtyday, holiday, anniverssary wishes without tieing up my phone . I also think Twitter and the rest of them have about a good 5 more years tops. Eventually all good things come to an end. YouTube, Google+, Tmblr and a few others will hang on cause they have the remarkable ability to provide people with some fresh stuff on occasion. Hell even eBay is on its way out with allits fraudulent buyers and all. When is the last time y’all went on Craigslist? My point is fans are fickle. Look at how quick the iPhone 4S and Siri got dumped by wifey #5. I’m just saying… But I can’t wait to see what’s coming next.

  • i noticed that once the ratchets and middle school idiots get ahold of certain websites, then people migrate to another site.lol that’s what happened on myspace. last time it was on there it got REALLY bad. girls spread eagle in their pictures and straight up nasty porn like pictures.

    NOW on facebook it’s become a trend for couples to take naked facebook photos together. i’m not even lying! these people i know have a picture of themselves naked together but with a blanket covering. i’ve seen it 2 more times too. SMH

  • Mina

    All of the ratchetness are also on Twitter too let’s not forget lol. But Twitter is still relevant as ever. I’ve never learned or really caught on to Twitter. So boring and seeing hashtags all over the place and RT and other acronyms just get on my nerves. I can’t. I’m hardly on FB because it’s boring and I’m tired of seeing the same like pics all over the place. Youtube’s not going anywhere because it’s free TV and entertainment. I’m always on there though. And Tumblr is fantastic. I still haven’t caught on to actually blogging on there, but there’s so many illustrations and music and it’s like deviantart, Facebook, and Youtube in combined place. Plus it also helps me to get motivated to working out (blogilates) and finding new recipes to try.

  • Mina

    And also Pinterest. My tops are Pinterest, Chictopia, Etsy,Tumblr, and Youtube. Bam! All the stuff I need right there