Type “Social Networking” into Google and you’re bound to get scads upon scads of hits. It’s the latest craze, it’s a great way to keep in touch, and sites like myspazz are really great places to piss off the ones you love, even if by accident.
Why all this drama? Well, because here we are, in the communication era, when the world is shrinking not by the speed at which WE travel, but by the speed at which our THOUGHTS travel. Think of how many times you got pissed that the email you were expecting from someone is five minutes late. Do you have ANY idea where those bits and bytes are actually going? Do you have any idea how impossible all of this was just a few short years ago? And, do you have any idea how humans USE tools of communication? A good for instance is the telephone — a doctor calls a next of kin to verify a person’s allergies. A teenager yaps on it all night about the color and character of their toenails. A thirtysomething single person sits on it for a few hours about their latest date fiasco.
It used to be that when people grew apart, and went their own separate ways, there came a point where they didn’t know where each other got to. You know what? Maybe that’s a good thing. You didn’t know what their new phone number was, you went on living. You didn’t rush to the computer to add their profile to your favorites so you could check in every once in a while.
A lot of people talk to me about a lot of things, and one of the subjects that keeps cropping up lately is a big spate of myspace no-no’s. This list has nothing to do with my personal myspace experience, which has definitely been varied and interesting, but on listening to other folks rant about their myspace drama. And here’s my compilation of suggestions, with my tongue firmly in cheek.
1. If you are posting something to the bulletin board, do NOT get all pissy because someone didn’t see it. I have about 250 friends on myspace, and a lot of them give bulletin chatter (bands, charitable foundations, movies, directors). That means, a lot of times, I don’t see what you are putting there. If you really want ME to read it, send it to ME, or put it in a blog. Don’t take it personally that I didn’t wade through 500 bulletins posted by MySpaceMarketingVenture 2 to find one post about what color underwear you are wearing.
2. If you don’t know someone, and they do something outright stupid, don’t feel guilty for one second just hitting the “Block User” button. If you really enjoy myspace, and someone has used it to hurt you, myspace has ways to avoid that. Use them. Don’t leave in a huff because you aren’t still on someone’s top eight.
3. That top eight thing. Yeah, don’t take it so god damned personally.
4. If you smoke pot and fuck entire football teams in your spare time — how about not posting it to myspace? Then maybe it won’t be found out in a job interview situation. Or, even better, turn your profile to private. Why would you EVER post anything to the internet that you wouldn’t want all over the world? It’s the internet! That’s what it does! Hell, it’s its sole purpose!
5. If you’re in a relationship, looking up your ex’s or looking them up and then writing to them, well, that’s an iffy topic. It all depends. It’s something that should be discussed. Women tend to take this as a snub against them, that they aren’t good enough. Men tend to take it as a snub against them. So, really, before you even go looking that person up, think about a thing called Web Cache, and WHY you care. Aren’t they an Ex? And be ready to face some pretty hurt feelings from your significant other. It’s natural, it’s human. Be an adult and talk it out. And be prepared that the answer you get may not be the one you want – it’s part of . . . that’s right, being an adult. Your wife / husband / boyfriend / girlfriend / Significant Other probably doesn’t want you talking to the person you credit as being ‘your best lay / blow job / whatever ever.’ Is that REALLY a surprise?
6. If you are going to get mad at someone for doing something, hey, how about growing up and telling them, instead of changing everything on your myspace to let everyone know you are pissed, hurting, forlorn — but not the person who hurt you? How is that going to HELP?
7. Use the blog roles — and be prepared to defend them. Look, it’s fine to make a blog private to friends. I had a private profile until a day ago, mainly because I wanted people to be able to read my blogs. But you know what? If you aren’t going to put someone on your ‘preferred’ list, be prepared to answer ALOT of questions. And if you are doing that to hide some activity of yours from your little sister, big brother, daughter, or cocker spaniel or whatever — wtf are you doing? There are other sites. Maybe use one of those. Or make another perfectly free profile. But if you make your blog a preferred one, you’re going to get asked about it. Be prepared, and be genuine in your answer.
8. About those personal messages. Don’t forget — these are just like email. See that forward button down there? Yeah. You SURE you want to tell Friend A that Friend B is a punkass? Think it over. . . myspace has a papertrail just like anywhere else.
9. We all like to personalize our spaces, and give information about what we like and who we are — but these pages need to be able to load in a browser before they do anyone any kind of good.
10. If someone goes to add you as their friend, it’s ok to ask them why. Really. And it’s ok to Deny a friend request as well. I personally have a lot of indie bands on my profile, and indie horror movies, and I’m fine with it. If you aren’t — just hit deny. No one’s feelings are going to get hurt.
The main gist of these rules are:
Treat those you love with respect and dignity. Treat your friends with respect and dignity. Expect the same.
If you publish something on the internet, know that anyone can read it, unless YOU take personal responsibility and take steps to ensure they don’t.
It’s just a website, people, but if you aren’t careful and vigilant, it just might overflood into your life.
I’ve had a few really drama-y experiences on myspace, and some that are completely amazing. Being in touch, however little, with my sister and brothers is a big deal to me. Being able to stay in touch with Ana is a big deal to me. Meeting some of the life changing people that I know on myspace, is a big deal to me. But the drama? I gotta say, I’m passing on that one. Just because I don’t return a comment doesn’t mean I don’t like you. It probably means I’m busy. Doing my job.
Love and Light,