We're thinking this MySpace thing could be big some day, if they can ever get their act together. Fortunately for Tom and the trillion-dollar corporation backing him, we're here to offer our advice.
In your everyday life, you generally have three types of people that you interact with (who will presumably want to talk to you about last night's American Idol):
- People you don't feel one way or another about you;
So, why does MySpace set your profile to only account for the first two groups? MySpace claims to be a social networking site, but what is society without a well-defined list of those who stand against all you believe in, who are living off borrowed time until the day they are crushed by your vengeance?
If Myspace wants our business, we insist that they have no choice but to implement a feature where a person's profile can also display a distinct list of enemies, whether sworn or not. You could even sort your enemies out in order of how many times they have wronged you.
Too many people are forced to endure awkward and silent relationships after discovering they were removed from someone's friend list and because the reasoning behind it was never made clear. These two former friends will generally not talk after that, and seeing each other at social gatherings will be more uncomfortable than a backwards male thong.
A MySpace enemies list, however, will make everything abundantly clear when it comes to how you feel about each other. As shown in the above picture, no longer will there be confusion about your pure contempt for the ex-girlfriend (Jessica) and the man she fucked in the bathroom at your fifth anniversary dinner (Mike). From this unmistakable statement via MySpace, you and your anti-friend can either clear the air and work toward a friendly solution, or you can both battle in an 18th century duel (bring gloves for slapping and your best Kentucky accent).
We're thinking this is just the kind of subtle helping hand confused or lonely MySpace users need to take them to the next level in their online fantasies, the first of which, of course, being the idea of them having friends that number in the hundreds.
We received this e-mail from one Sarah Marshall of Cincinnati, Ohio, and decided it sums up the problem more succinctly than we ever could. Here's an excerpt from her very telling message:
"... home from dance practice yesterday and I was n a bad mood cuz Rachel kept on talking to Blake while we were waiting for our parents to come pick us up and she knows I like him I couldnt believe her! But Blake said before English that he was gonna comment me on myspace cuz I told him I had a bunch of super cute pix up. Anyway I got home and I was so pissed and I just wanted to read his comment and talk to Janie back and forth in our comments (shes my bff lol) but when I signed in their was nothing! No messages! No pic comments, no blog comments, not even a bulletin that talked about me! I checked all over! I was so pissed I couldn't go to scholl the next day ..."
Oh, Sarah. Our heart breaks for you. Indeed, we can't even estimate how many occasions we've come home (or gone to a friend's home, to a local library or to an Internet cafe, or checked our gay-tastic Helios that we bought) and found that our page has been utterly untouched except for six random page views that must surely have been by mistake.
How many times have we experienced the disappointment of a desolate MySpace inbox, even though we posted that totally unique self-interviewing questionnaire in a bulletin right before we last signed off? I mean, for god's sake, we told people they had to answer now that they had opened it!
Hold tight, lonely people. We're driving this MySpace train. Next stop: Awesome.
By activating and customizing your Activity Simulation Toggle, your account can be flooded with obscene amounts of MySpace happenings, designed to make you feel included and connected even in the most obscure and convoluted of ways. You can also control the amount of activity to large, Costco-like quantities, even to a number that Harvard statisticians would call "fucking silly."
Of course, none of these things would actually be coming from your friends in any, you know, real way. They would be 100 percent computer-generated. But, any thin sliver of self-confidence can be effortlessly and superficially restored when you bear witness to how much you are being thought about and messaged, even if it is from a cold, lifeless computer program that's sole job is to do such things.
Think of this as a spamming robot that you actually want in your life. Instead of encouraging you to increase your breast size by six cup sizes through herbal supplements, this friend-bot will instead send you a comment from a friend stating, with calculated enthusiasm, that "u r the kewlest lol!"
And for that single glorious moment, you certainly will feel deep down like you truly are, in fact, the kewlest ... lol.
The Tom problem lies at the opposite end of the spectrum. Some of us may be lonely, but we're not this lonely.
As of the writing of this article, supposed head of MySpace Tom Anderson has about 215 Million friends. This includes you, if you have a MySpace account. On MySpace, Tom is like Windows Vista: He comes pre-installed. He automatically declares himself your MySpace friend upon sign up, presumably to avoid the sad, "You have 0 friends" situation.
Though, if you want a good illustration of just how little it means to be a MySpace "friend," give Tom a call and ask if you can borrow some money. Of course, there is some dispute over whether Tom even works there any more, or if he is just a corporate mascot like Ronald McDonald.
We could ignore all of this, if Tom would let us. Instead he bombards us with mass announcements, usually explaining the most recent outage or glitch. Add this to the irritation that Tom, who supposedly holds a bachelor's in English and Rhetoric and a master's degree in film, demeans himself by using lame Internet lingo.
The Tom Filter (patent pending) takes care of problems on multiple fronts. First, any online friend of yours who has unwittingly kept Tom as a friend or, even worse, who thinks it's somehow cool to be his friend will be automatically removed permanently from your friends list. This is a full-on boycott, here, and we have to take a hard line.
Second, the Tom Filter would eliminate, or at least modify and make readable, all of his little announcements where he's been known to use extremely poor grammar, spelling and blatant use of "lol" to tell you about problems with the website or to advertise upcoming movies that are at the moment paying for his fourth party yacht.
Last summer MySpace found 29,000 freaking convicted sex offenders among its members. Holy shit. That's almost enough sex offenders to fill up Wrigley Field, as if they had some kind of special promotion or something that day.
It's no wonder; you have an open environment where predators can browse around profiles of, say, 13- year-olds claiming to be 18 and them narrow down which ones are in driving range. It got so bad that you couldn't go down a single school bus stop without seeing hordes of concerned parents look side-to-side suspiciously while simultaneously checking their children's Internet Explorer history.
The solution provides a simple clickable button that would alert Tom (yes, actually wake him from sleep) that a friend request is from a very shady person, based on the premise that child molesters are often not all that hard to spot.
Many MySpace users are convinced that it is acceptable--nay, mandatory--to take a picture of themselves by holding a camera extremely high and 2 feet away from their face. Pursing lips, wearing only underwear and/or looking away from the lens ... they're all meant to add intrigue to the picture, but instead add a sense of sad desperation.
At the heart of these hipster and artistic emo angles are women who believe their faces and bodies are in themselves sins against God, and must be shielded from the world through several fuzzy layers of deception. Unfortunately, these days most MySpace surfers have learned to assume the worst.
Come on, ladies. It's like refusing to leave the house without a veil. Who made you so ashamed that you felt like you had to hide how you look? Tell us, we'll kick his ass. It shouldn't be this way.
This ain't Hollywood, nobody's expecting you to look like Scarlett Johansson. It's the freaking Internet.
Above: Cracked Editorial Team
- Adequate lighting;
- No Photoshopped poetry or otherwise unnecessary type covering any area of their body;
- A straight, head-on angle
The picture will be electronically dated and kept on the person's MySpace picture album forever. It will force all of us to be more honest about ourselves, and will avoid the ever-present danger that the girl we fell in love with online will turn out to be a dude.
Ultimately, it will be to everyone's benefit. Remember, it will be a level playing field. You don't have to worry about this policy hurting your chances of meeting your soulmate, because everyone will be doing it. And, who knows, if the technology advances enough maybe some day we'll have it automatically post everyone's income, education level and penis size. Total disclosure here.
Cale and Zach are the two-man team behind the webcomic Abomb Nation.
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