Before MySpace there were other Social Networking platforms (Friendster, Facebook) and there were plenty of ways to put up a website or blog for free (Angelfire, GeoCities, Blogspot). But somehow by combining just the right mix of elements, MySpace struck a chord with people.
It was and still is a cool idea — providing the people with a forum to connect with others while telling the world about themselves. We would all be able to find out deeply important things about one another, new ideas would be revealed, and our voices would finally be heard. Well, the people have spoken, and it turns out we’re a bunch of dolts. Worse, we’re dolts with poorly-formatted web pages, boring lives, and glittering animated gifs.
An entire industry has sprouted up with companies offering ways to "improve" your MySpace page. Sites with over a million visitors in June alone include: HotFreeLayouts.com (2.5 million), MySpacePimper.com (1.8 million), and BlingyBlob.com (1.5 million).
I can forgive the interest in these sites. People want to seem different and unique, and the best way to do that is to copy someone else’s layout, even though it makes it impossible to read the actual text on the page. I get that. But I cannot forgive the interest in sites like Glitter-Graphics.com. Over 1.2 million people visited the site last month in search of a way to add just the right amount of sparkle to their profiles. Here’s the right amount of sparkle: none. If you’re over 14 years old and you think that a sparkling heart on your profile page with the letters "MWAH" underneath it is going to attract Mr. Right, take a step back and reassess. There’s a reason you’re alone.
I’ve got nothing against Tom. He’s my friend after all, and yours as well. And friends with that kind of cash are good to have. But he’s created a monster. A big, glittering monster that plays loud, bad music whenever you click on it.