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An Open Letter To MySpace On Its 20th Anniversary

30 October 2023 | 3:18 pm | Anna Rose

Where did the time go?


MySpace (Supplied)

Dear MySpace,

To be marking 20 years since your launch might have many of us in denial. Where did the time go?

20 years ago, you came into our lives, for better or for worse. From 2005 to 2009, you were the largest social networking site in the world. For many of us, you put the concept of social networking on our radar, being at the forefront of the social networking game when it was largely still in its infancy.  Today, we regard you as not only having been “a place for friends”, but having had a significant influence on technology, fashion, pop culture, and music, and for very good reason.

For then-teenagers and early 20-somethings, you enticed us with your user-friendly interface, options to connect with existing friends and make new ones, as well as the opportunity to discover new music and explore new types of, ahem, fashion. Now, as 30- and 40-somethings, we exist in blissful denial that either of us could have aged so much, because how many of us still feel like teenagers? Your 20th anniversary offers us a chance to reminisce, to think back on our tacky usernames, our cringey photos, the near-ancient tech we used, and the unintentional (or was it it?) drama we’d create by not having a specific person in our Top 8 friends. Ah, MySpace, those were the days…

Can any of us remember how we first heard about you? Probably not, but we remember what you looked like back when you were cool. That sleek white background with its bold blue banner. We would sign up with an email address we’d created in high school, probably containing the numbers 16, 666, 69, or the words angel, sexy, or rock, attached to Then, you’d allude to your juvenile sexual prowess or signal just how scene you were if you used the words “lord” or “master”, or tYpeiNG LiKe ThiS in your byline.

Our first profile photo would be one we took with a grainy webcam attached to the top of our parents’ bulky desktop computer. Or, if you were lucky enough to have one, turning your mobile phone around and raising your arm as high as you could to take a photo from an almost birds eye angle, or obnoxiously pointing the device into the mirror and keeping the flash on. Our generation were heralds of the bathroom selfie and fish pout lips, thanks to you, and we did well to capture such ahem refined images with only one camera on our devices.

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We’d add basic details, be directed to our shiny new profile, ready to upload what we thought were the edgiest and enticing details about ourselves, only to be greeted by him. Tom.

Who could forget the Cheshire cat grin thrown over the left shoulder of a man with dark brown hair and wearing a simple white t-shirt. Tom, your co-founder, MySpace, set up your first pages 20 years ago. Whether you kept him plopped right there in the number one spot, removed him entirely from your list, Tom Anderson was our first Myspace friend – he was MySpace – and was in a way a significant presence through our formative youth. And though by 2010, dear Tom was no longer the default friend on Myspace, replaced by a profile called "Today On MySpace", or "T.O.M.", our Tom entered popular culture and internet history as a meme, a forerunner, and perhaps, when you think about it, the friend we never knew we needed.

Of course, using the site wasn’t without its delights. MySpace, you become a mecca for fashion, friendship, music, and pop culture. Depending on which scene piqued your interest, it was a place to discover music of artists of the day – Eminem, Outkast, Black Eyed Peas, My Chemical Romance, Paramore, 3OH!3, Cute Is What We Aim For, Taking Back Sunday, and many more. They all had a top spot as our profile’s featured song. But let’s face it, scene kids photos dominated, and the emo sound reigned supreme.

A bunch of us (me) were among those who ran out to buy GHDs in a bid to perfect the poker straight emo fringe we’d seen from following countless scene kids' profiles. Band tees, electric colour hair dyes, backcombed beehives, cute headbands and using our hair to become pirates, and black eyeliners thicker than your thumb was the go. We’d deck out our profiles with some crude background wallpaper of hot pink and black, we’d master basic HTML, making a beeline for the ♥ code with each update to our basic info so every other adjective or interest could be bookended by self-prescribed cuteness.

We’d set up things like My Chemical Romance’s I’m Not Okay (I Promise) or Fall Out Boy’s Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down to auto-play as soon as a “friend” would hit our page, because it was vital everyone knew you were an unbearable combination of angsty and classy. You get the idea, we thought we were cool, ha!

Sadly, MySpace, you aren’t the spring chicken you once were – neither are we. Since 2009, your monthly user interface has declined, despite several redesigns. After Tom’s exit and the rise of Facebook, things were never the same again. The MySpace of our caviller youth is long gone, reduced to the odd Facebook group who are dedicated to recovering your cringefest images on a classic view of the site. You meant everything for the onset of social media and music, though.

MySpace, when we remember you at your beloved peak, your name is synonymous with other momentous platforms like MSN Messenger, DeviantArt, Ask Jeeves, LiveJournal, Photobucket and more. You were an introduction to so many different styles of music for so many kids, from pop-punk to hip-hop, indie to emo, and, though as adults we may now look back and laugh or shudder at our chosen outfit choices, you were a platform where we began to define our personal style. You made our formative years. Whether we laugh or cry on recalling the teen angst, drama, music, and clothes, it was a good time. Thnks fr th Mmrs, MySpace.