How an Entire Generation Learned to Code Without Batting an Eye
Since my sister was three years older than me, I often went to her for advice. Whether that be about boy problems, friend problems, or how to enter code into my Myspace page so I could have 12 people on my best friends list instead of the allotted eight. With that being said, my sister was not a computer genius or interested in coding for a living. However, growing up in the Myspace era meant learning to code was necessary if you wanted to have the best-looking page.
Although still active today, Myspace was at its peak from 2005–2008, ranking as the most visited website in the United States in June of 2006. The site was adding an average of 70,000 users per-day at its peak.
So, what made MySpace so popular, and how did “Tom” become a member of everyone’s extended network? Before Myspace, there was no social media site where the user could completely customize their profile or go into as much detail as this site allowed. It was “the” social media platform of the time.
Myspace changed the whole dynamic of social media and social interaction. On your profile page, you were allowed to rank your friends, post about all of your teenage angst, and connect to people you may not have in normal face-to-face interaction. If you were really good, which, in all honesty, everyone was, you could change the code of your myspace page to allow more top friends, change your background, or even add more music to your page. Myspace created an entire generation that learned how to code without even batting an eye.
The social media site quickly became the topic of everyday conversation, as well. I remember many talks with my friends discussing why someone was bumped to third place in another top friends list or why someone commented on another person’s status update. Or even a simple change in music on your profile page would indicate how you felt that day. I remember rushing home from school to jump on the computer to change my music on my profile and post a passive-aggressive status update if needed… that was normal, right? I know if I would be able to go back, I would cringe at every one of my posts.
Myspace was so popular because it let you be creative in expressing your personality. In a time where young people are trying to find out who they are, here comes this site where you can completely customize the way others see you. You could follow people and topics that you really care about and share that new-found information with your friends.
Then, as quickly as it came to be, Myspace became irrelevant. Facebook made its debut in February of 2004, where Harvard students were allowed to post about their lives. By June of that same year, 34 Universities were signed up for access to this new social media site. At the time, only users with .edu emails were allowed to join the network. Then, in 2006, anyone above the age of 13 was allowed to join, and thus began the quick decline of Myspace. In 2008, Facebook surpassed Myspace as the most visited social media website.
Facebook won through its simplicity and accessibility. It was shiny and new in a time where social media was a new experience for everyone. With Facebook, you didn't have to code or spend hours figuring out how to rank your friends because they were just there. Now, we are jumping from app to app to get different kinds of media, which is just as time-consuming as coding was.
All in all, Myspace gave individuals a true taste of what social media could be. It impacted an entire generation of people and showed users the power of online interaction.
Maybe it’s just my nostalgia speaking, but I wish I could add a theme song to my profile page again, minus the passive-aggressive status update.