How To Be 13 and on Myspace Again

So you’re a middle schooler with a MySpace account. Welcome! Maybe you had a Xanga or a LiveJournal or any number of other proto-social medias before. Maybe your coolest friend has an older sister who is always on the newest sites and you’re just following her lead. Maybe you’re one of those teens who has always found community on the internet (lucky). But you’re here, you’re friends with Tila Tequila (edgy!) and you’ve finally added enough people to move Tom out of your Top 8 (popular!). Now what?

At age 13, maybe you’re still spending half your time getting muddy in the creek with your friend Melanie whose parents let you do whatever you want, but you’re starting to realize that won’t last forever. It’s time to decide who you want to be, and how you want people to see you. Photo albums, HTML customization, and choosing your profile song all offer endless possibilities to express yourself, out-cool those girls in your gym class who were never friendly, and get your crush to notice you. Here are all the cool features of MySpace you can use to pull that off.


Photo albums

Let’s put our best face forward. For many, this obviously means flat-ironing your hair to hell, or, even better, curling your hair and flat-ironing just the front chunks of your hair that you call “bangs.” Try out a bunch of different poses and facial expressions: You can upload all of them at once if you like! Another pro-tip is to highlight anything that makes you unique: I once did an incredibly elaborate photo shoot with my pointe shoes on because ballet was my whole personality.

And if you really want to go the extra mile, incorporate your friends in your photoshoots! Shove a digital camera in your pocket and head to a second location with your BFFL. Head to the local shopping mall and walk around the stores: Maybe there’s a silly pair of sunglasses to try on? A pair of printed jeans that your mom would never let you wear?

Or head to a park with sodas from the local convenience store (QuikTrip for me, a haven of snacks, slushies and flavored syrups for your soda) and take photos everywhere: in the slides, on the swings, in the grass. Try for a mix of artsy and goofy, alternating moody gazes into middle distance and silly faces with crazy poses.

The final level of photo shoots was the one that was showing off your exciting social calendar. Uploading a full album of photos titled ~*~m0vi3z~*~ full of pictures of your friends (and, if you were really cool, boys!) goofing around in the lobby of your local theater is the peak of your young life. Don’t forget your peace signs, kissy faces, or weird props. I got my first kiss at my local movie theater after seeing the film Accepted at Jenny Nolan’s all-day birthday celebration. Afterwards, I posted a photo of the M&Ms we bought at the candy store as a memento of the auspicious occasion.

Don’t forget to spend hours filtering, adding stickers and text to the photos on a photo editing website (I personally loved Picnik).

Bonus points if you comment “I own this!” on any photos of your friends that you like, and change your captions to something like “melbear owns x)” if they do the same!

Layouts

Once MySpace dies off, you might regret that you never took HTML coding more seriously. But for now, definitely invest hours and hours customizing your page. It’s imperative that you get rid of the orange and blue blocks that the site generates, but everything else is up to you. It’s helpful to have a friend like Melanie who is a wizard with HTML coding somehow, but you can also lift layouts from one of the many sketchy websites that peddle them, and further edit the code from there. Hiding or relocating the comments box and stylizing your Top 8 friends is one quick way to communicate that you are way cooler than the platform already.

One stroke of genius that I definitely lifted from Mel: For my own Top 8, I lifted a photo of each of my favorite friends, cropped them on MS Paint (vintage, so adorable) into the shape of one letter of my first name (A N A L Y S S A, a lucky 8 letters), and hyperlinked them all to go directly to their profiles. To this day, I’m extremely proud of that.

Surveys

This is where things can get spicy. Bulletins show up on the homepage of all your friends and can be used to either post short blog-like posts (post-away messages, proto-status updates) or, more interestingly, to share copy-pasted surveys that make the rounds almost daily. You’ll never know who is writing these surveys or why, but if you see one posted you better fill it out immediately.

The basic ones have questions running the gamut from “Who is the last person you messaged?” or “What time did you wake up?” to “Who is the last person you kissed?” or “Would you tell someone you loved them right now if you could?,” while more complicated ones have themes like questions relating to a certain color. My favorites were the 10 to 1, which were formatted like “10 things you would say to someone right now,” “9 things that make you smile,” “8 things you hate” and on and on.

Your friends can read and reply to these directly into your inbox, so this is a prime way to increase interest in your life and, if you’re lucky, get some attention from a crush. For example, 10 things you would say to someone right now could include something like “You’re the cutest boy in our class.” If played right, an answer like this can get you a few hours worth of excited messages from your friends, and maybe even from the (very soft, very sweet) boy you’re (not so subtly) trying to flirt with.

Messaging

Now that you’re fielding messages from your surveys, lean in! Yes, messages have been an integral part of every platform since MySpace (hell, even Spotify had DMs for a while!). But will anything ever hit the same as messaging your middle-school crush all summer break on MySpace, telling him you have a crush and then refusing to tell him who it was (it was obviously him)**? Definitively not!

**For legal reasons, any resemblance to real-life events is fictional, I never pulled this move, definitely not on more than one crush, all the way up to college.

Anonymous boxes

Okay. You’ve mastered surveys, your layout is poppin’, you think you’re ready for the big leagues. Consider adding an anonymous box. But be prepared, these are true spaces of chaos, and potentially some light cyber-bullying. Forget AIM drama, anonymous box drama is the new wave. Tell your crush you like them, ask your frenemy why she is always so annoying, honestly if you’re bored, ask yourself a question and spend some time crafting the perfect response. Your friends can see a log of your answers, so nothing is off limits. This is the social media Wild West, we’re making up the rules our damn selves.

MySpace songs

Obviously, this is it. Choosing the perfect MySpace song, one that either described your personality, or that described the specific events going on in your life, is a high like no other. Someday soon you’ll be able to show off your varied or extensive music taste when profile playlists become another code to copy paste into your page somewhere. But for now, go wild.

The best MySpace songs are obviously kind of indie. You want to indicate to everyone that you are cooler than them, after all! Finding a musician’s page that you liked and trawling through the musicians THEY were friends with could lead you to some interesting artists that no one else had ever heard of. The band Millionaires is my favorite find from this era, but at different points visitors to my page were also treated to “Woah Oh (Me vs. Everyone)” by Forever the Sickest Kids.

If you have to pick a song that’s getting radio play, which I totally understand, try to make it one that describes you or your life perfectly. For example,“Girlfriend” by Avril Lavigne, which was my profile song for months after my 7th grade boyfriend started dating someone else from our 8th grade band class. (She was first chair flute to my second chair.) Another long-time favorite of mine: “Bossy” by Kelis. Get at me.


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Analyssa

Analyssa is a co-host of the To L and Back podcast: Gen Q edition. She lives in LA, works at a TV studio, and can often be found binge-watching an ABC drama from 2008. You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram, or her social media of choice, Letterboxd.

Analyssa has written 41 articles for us.

6 Comments

  1. Wow, thanks for the memories! During mySpace hayDay, I was 20, in college, and away from my parents for the first time! It was so much fun to finally surf the Internet unsupervised!! Also, my parents had dial-up until I left for college, and didn’t get broadband until I came home. So in college, I finally had a broadband connection too! Woo-Hooo!!

  2. oh my GOODNESS. so myspace wasn’t around when i was 13 but it sure was around when i was about 21 and trying very very hard to make my page gay enough that someone would ASK ME IF I WAS GAY WITHOUT MY HAVING TO COME OUT.

    my profile pic was like, run through a rainbow filter, but not a gay rainbow, the old-fashioned tv testing signal rainbow? and my feature song was Four Left Feet by the Ditty Bops, which was gayyyy

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