One dull evening I came across an article on my Facebook feed declaring MySpace is back! A new site, SpaceHey, not in anyway affiliated with MySpace, just a fan site, brought back MySpace’s classic layout, ability to code profiles, and features such as a blogs and bulletins, in one tidy package.
I signed up immediately and started filling out my profile.
MySpace, although filled with college drama and that ever tricky question of who gets to be in your Top 8, had been my first social media love. I mean, it had a blog feature. What’s not for me to like in that situation? It was always more chill and less stuffy than I thought Facebook was at the time, too. When it dwindled down to nothing, I was so sad to move my digital home to Facebook with everyone else.
But now, it’s back and I’m here for it.
Basic Beginnings: The Party Where You Know No One
As excited as I was to get onto SpaceHey, I was filling out my favorite music and movies when I realized; I didn’t have any friends that I knew of on SpaceHey and it’s a social network. Even the Facebook friend who posted the article hadn’t made an account and was just sharing something they found interesting. It might be weird if it was just me posting status updates into the void. Which, for the record, I would still do.
After being on SpaceHey for a month, it appears to me that the demographics of the network are strangely fractured. It definitely pulled in the millenials who remember using Myspace back in its heyday. Also, there are plenty of bands and people wanting to promote their art or products. However, there is also a healthy segment of Gen Zers.
The TikTok Generation on Retro Social Media
I know very little about the TikTok generation, however, when I saw bulletin filled with survey questions from one of the ones who friended me when I had no idea how old they were, it was definitely strange.
The survey asked them what they thought of Obama and the user admitted she was two when Obama took office and didn’t really have an opinion of him due to lack of awareness about what he accomplished. I voted for Obama in both elections. The survey then asked her what she thought of Bush. She typed out, “Who?????” It’s true. I felt old.
At first, I wondered why these teens and tweens were joining a nostalgia site like SpaceHey when they had no or limited access to the original source. But what is more nostalgic than remembering a time you weren’t a part of? Colonial Williamsburg runs off of it. Why not SpaceHey?
I still don’t know how I feel about the kids adding strangers on SpaceHey and posting their thoughts and content to the internet. I was a kid on the internet once, too, of course. I came of age when it was believed everyone on the internet was a literal serial killer and one misstep would result in a gory death.
But while we’ve calmed down about the number of bonafide serial killers on the internet, that doesn’t mean this space is a complete safe zone, intended, built, and monitored for the use of children either. The good news is that I’m not a dangerous person, but I know exactly just how dangerous the internet can be. Although, I have, to my knowledge, never contacted a serial killer on the internet.
The Middle Slog: Where Is Everyone?
Misgivings about teenagers aside, I pressed on. After all, I was an author, I had things to do. I posted some poetry on my blog, I promoted the blogs on my bulletins, I responded to other people’s bulletins, I read other people’s blogs, I posted on the forums, I responded to posts on the forums, I responded to instant messages from a pair of fellow SpaceHeyers, and I then I waited.
Alerts came in dribs and drabs. Hardly anyone responded to my forum posts. I’ve gotten exactly two posts on my multiple bulletins. My instant messages went silent. I would occasionally friend someone listed in the Cool New People box, but due to the presence of so many minors on the site, I made sure they were of age before sending a friend request. Many of my friend requests went unanswered, even if they were for people who had already stated they wanted more friends and connections.
After days of similar results, I started running out of ideas. It seemed as if I was getting one-to-one interaction with people if I interacted with their content and almost no one was interacting with mine. My friend count stalled around 45. Meanwhile some of the people who friend me have several thousand friends, one of them over 4,700.
I began to question just how much time and energy I really wanted to devote to friending strangers, who might be underage, in order to gain traction on the site. While having thousand of friends might get more interaction, that doesn’t mean it would be quality interactions. It also doesn’t mean it would be worth it, personally or professionally.
The Problem with Baby Social Medias
I realize part of the problem might stem from the fact that music seems much more popular a medium on the platform. Here I am posting literary content. If enough users aren’t there for writing, books, and poetry, it doesn’t matter the quality or frequency at which I’m posting, it’s not going to work.
Also, SpaceHey doesn’t seem to have developed an identity yet (other than “MySpace is back, but it’s not called MySpace”). However, everyone I’ve interacted with on the website seems polite and friendly. Right now SpaceHey is very much an amalgamation of people who aren’t sure why they’re here, myself included.
In a sense, we’re all looking for SpaceHey to fill a need we have that Facebook and Twitter just aren’t able to accomodate. But it’s just not clear yet if this social media platform can be more than novelty and nostalgia and if so, what.
There’s Life in Her Yet!: What’s Next for Me?
Although the last week or so hasn’t been very encouraging, I plan on staying on SpaceHey and seeing if I can make sense of it. The groundwork is already there and it’s solidly built. When it comes to how the site actually works, I have yet to encounter a bug. Also, features such as groups are still being developed.
I think there’s more to come for SpaceHey. However, I’m also loving my continued pseudo-MySpace return so much, I can’t imagine it ending here. Not that I’m known for sticking around after parties wrap to help clean up the mess or anything, either…
So, I guess there’s just one question left.