Archivos Mensuales: enero 2006

Addicted to MySpace

Addicted to MySpace

Rob Alderman

I’ve been having trouble beating my addiction. I’ve tried and tried, but it seems like I will never be free. It’s the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning, and the last thing I do before I go to bed. I do it at least 12 times a day, sometimes more. Curse you MySpace … I hate your guts.

I remember when I was the guy who wasn’t doing the MySpace thing. Not being much of a computer type, I just couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. All of my buddies kept bugging me about it though, and so I thought to myself, “well, it wouldn’t hurt to try it once.” I went through the process of making a profile, entering in all of my information in great detail (hey, if you’re going to do something, do it right, right?), and then came the photos. Grabbing my trusty phone, I quickly snapped a picture that looked just right for MySpace: black and white, not looking directly at the camera, with just a hint of melancholy. Perfect. Finally, a name … I had to be careful too, because MySpace kept warning me that once I had chosen one, it couldn’t be changed …ever. With that finished, I clicked “submit” and held my breath.

It was a life changing moment when I saw the words for the first time: “You have a friend request.” Who was Tom? How did he find me so quickly? Why does he want to be my friend? I’m not one to take friendship lightly, but this guy seemed nice enough, so I said OK. Little did I know at that time that Tom was leading me down a dark path from which there was certainly no return. Soon, I was adding friends and requesting to be friends with people I’d never met. As my list of friends grew, I quickly became aware that I would have to be very careful about who was in my coveted “Top 8.”

I was writing blogs, reading blogs, commenting on blogs, commenting on comments, joining groups, creating groups, posting bulletins, reading bulletins, taking top ten quizzes that told the world what I thought about my favorite CDs, movies and what character I would be if I was living in the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer! My greatest MySpace moment occurred when one of my blogs cracked the top ten most read blogs on the site. Not bad, considering MySpace now boasts over 45 million subscribers. I was like an internet pariah, basking in my self-published glory. I had miraculously discovered the reason that Al Gore had invented the Internet.

My days were filled with high-speed connection happiness. Admittedly, there were some small problems with MySpace. The site would go down at random points during the day. I would spend an hour pouring my thoughts into a blog only to have it lost in the great MySpace void. And suddenly, people I had never met were posting comments about my personal life. But on the whole, MySpace had become the community I had always wanted. Or at least, I thought it was …

In the back of my mind there were faint alarms going off, but I did hear them, and it caused me to think: That exactly is it that causes us to spend hours staring at a computer screen in the hopes that someone will post a supportive comment about the party we went to last Friday, or the fight we had Tuesday night with our girlfriend? Why are we so desperate for a community that exists only in cyberspace? Just three years ago, meeting someone on the Internet was worthy of being cast to the bottom rung of the social ladder. Now, thanks to MySpace, meeting people via the Internet is not only socially acceptable, but there is a certain level of coolness to having tons of friends on your MySpace page. What was once considered sad is now celebrated … How very odd.

We live in a society where honest friendship is hard to find. As people created to live together in community, we crave human interaction, and yet it somehow eludes us no matter where we seem to look. On MySpace we find people being completely open with their feelings, confessing their sins to a virtual world. In fact, many of us will openly post things for the whole world to read that we would never confide to our pastor. That shouldn’t be too surprising considering most churches have become the types of places where openness and truthfulness is not very welcome.

It seems as though the time honored tradition of face-to-face communication has all but been eradicated. Friendship is complex. Community is something that takes work. We conclude that being friends with real people is simply too complicated so we search for a community that can be had on our terms and our terms alone, and we find it on places like MySpace. Don’t like a friend? Delete them. Don’t want someone’s opinion? Ban their input. Don’t like the way you look? Simply change your photo. You can be who you want, when you want, with who you want. In fact, it’s so perfect and so addictive that it’s easy to spend all of our time there, pouring ourselves into our own little MySpace kingdoms.

I’m not certain how I finally realized that I was worshipping at the MySpace altar. Perhaps it was the fact that I was dragging in late to work as a result of late night blogging. Maybe I realized I was spending more time talking to my new “Internet” friends than my real life college buddies. Perhaps it was the fact that the letters had begun to fade from my keyboard from the incessant typing. Whatever the reason, I am thankful. No matter how fun it is, an addiction is an addiction, and it is not a healthy thing. I knew that I had to do something before I lost my soul completely to the void of cyberspace, and so I hatched one final desperate plan. I would quit MySpace for two weeks cold turkey.

I’m not proposing a ban on MySpace or anything like that. In fact, I’m not even deleting my own profile. I’m simply saying that things like MySpace are only healthy when done in moderation. Logging a hundred hours of Internet time on MySpace is nowhere near as fulfilling as spending real face-to-face time with a good friend. The famous communications guru Marshall McLuhan had a saying, “The medium is the message,” an idea based on the theory that the world was headed to a point of global communication where how we said something would become more important than what we were saying. I wonder what he would think about MySpace, where our online profiles have become more important to many of us than our real selves.

I posted one final blog advising the MySpace world that I was taking a bit of a “MySpace sabbatical” to regain some focus. This has not been easy, but I figure that the new perspective on life will be well worth the time spent away from my Mac iBook. In the past few days since leaving MySpace, I’ve gone for a walk, watched Hotel Rwanda (something I’d been swearing I’d do for months now) and started a great book. Last night, I even spent some time with my best friend Dusty, sitting on his front porch and talking about life, work and faith. He has a new job, and I’m happy for him. He began to tell me all about the great day he’d had and for a moment, I caught myself thinking, “this would make such a great blog,” before suddenly catching myself. I was wrong. This makes for great life.


Real Facts

  • Mosquito repellents don’t repel. They hide you. The spray blocks the mosquito’s sensors so they don’t know you’re there.

  • Dentists have recommended that a toothbrush be kept at least 6 feet away from a toilet to avoid airborne particles resulting from the flush.

  • The liquid inside young coconuts can be used as substitute for blood plasma.

  • No piece of paper can be folded in half more than 7 times.

  • Donkeys kill more people annually than plane crashes.

  • You burn more calories sleeping than you do watching television.

  • Oak trees do not produce acorns until they are fifty years of age or older.

  • The first product to have a bar code was Wrigley’s gum.

  • The king of hearts is the only king without a mustache.

  • A Boeing 747s wingspan is longer than the Wright brother’s first flight.

  • American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating 1 olive from each salad served in first-class.

  • Venus is the only planet that rotates clockwise.

  • Apples, not caffeine, are more efficient at waking you up in the morning.

  • The plastic things on the end of shoelaces are called aglets.

  • Most dust particles in your house are made from dead skin.

  • The first owner of the Marlboro Company died of lung cancer.

  • Michael Jordan makes more money from Nike annually than all of the Nike factory workers in Malaysia combined.

  • Marilyn Monroe had six toes.

  • All US Presidents have worn glasses. Some just didn’t like being seen wearing them in public.

  • Walt Disney was afraid of mice.

  • Pearls melt in vinegar.

  • Thirty-five percent of the people who use personal ads for dating are already married.

  • The three most valuable brand names on earth: Marlboro, Coca-Cola, and Budweiser, in that order.

  • It is possible to lead a cow upstairs…but not downstairs.

  • A duck’s quack doesn’t echo and no one knows why.

  • The reason firehouses have circular stairways is from the days when the engines were pulled by horses.

  • The horses were stabled on the ground floor and figured out how to walk up straight staircases.

  • Richard Millhouse Nixon was the first US president whose name contains all the letters from the word criminal." The second was William Jefferson Clinton.

  • Turtles can breathe through their backsides.

  • Butterflies taste with their feet.

  • In 10 minutes, a hurricane releases more energy than all of the world’s nuclear weapons combined.

  • On average, 100 people choke to death on ballpoint pens every year.

  • On average people fear spiders more than they do death.

  • Ninety percent of New York City cabbies are recently arrived immigrants.

  • Elephants are the only animals that can’t jump.

  • Only one person in two billion will live to be 116 or older.

  • Women blink nearly twice as much as men.

  • It’s physically impossible for you to lick your elbow.

  • The Main Library at Indiana University sinks over an inch every year because when it was built, engineers failed to take into account the weight of all the books that would occupy the building.

  • A snail can sleep for three years.

  • No word in the English language rhymes with "MONTH."

  • Average life span of a major league baseball: 7 pitches.

  • Our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our nose and ears never stop growing. SCARY!!!

  • The electric chair was invented by a dentist.

  • All polar bears are left-handed.

  • In ancient Egypt, priests plucked EVERY hair from their bodies, including their eyebrows and eyelashes.

  • An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain.

  • TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the keyboard.

  • "Go," is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.

  • If Barbie were life-size, her measurements would be 39-23-33. She would stand seven feet, two inches tall. Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.

  • A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out.

  • The cigarette lighter was invented before the match.

  • Americans on average eat 18 acres of pizza every day.
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