Then I was invited to be a 'friend' to the good folks of Drumming Up Hope back in October. I went through the motions of registering and let it go at that.
In January, the Radiators from Space -- Phil Chevron's and Pete Holidai's great Dublin punk band -- invited me to be their friend.
That got me to upload a vintage photo and make a half-assed attempt at a profile. And to browse around.
Five minutes later, I realized that there was indeed a lot of crap music posted on MySpace...and a lot of good music and a lot of music in between. There's the John Matrix Blues Quintet and their song Arnie Syndrome, for instance, which takes a bunch of my Governor's famous movie quotes and strings them out over some "metal fret-wankery" (as one commentator describes it) and basically calls it a song.
After the first 24 hours of listening to it, I've told more people about this Arnie song than I did in a month about my first Horslips album.
To be fair, if Horslips had sampled a local politician in the mix (Gerry Brown? Sonny Bono? Or--God Forbid--Ronald Reagan?), I'da had an angle.
But imagine my surprise at my coworkers' reaction when I mentioned the source of all this free music. And this forum that has expanded my musical-interest base exponentially by the hour.
Me: So I've registered at MySpace and you'll never guess...
Coworker #1: MySpace? Isn't that for kids?
Coworker #2: You saw that program on TV this weekend? About that girl?
Me: Kids? The guys who got me hooked were playing punk rock in Dublin. In the 70s!
Coworker #2: And then this other thing on the radio was talking about the kids who bully on MySpace.
Me: Okay. There's a whole section on CyberBullying with tips and resources! And it is NOT just for kids.
CoWorker #1: My friend was telling me about MySpace. Actually...his kid was telling me about it.
CoWorker #3: Hey. Ease up. MySpace is a perfectly capable and popular Virtual Social Network. One of the most popular on the net...
Me: There! See?
CoWorker #3:..for kids.
The MySpace Generation
At the same time, her boyfriend IMs her a retail store link to see a new PC he just bought, and she starts chatting with him. She's also postering for the next Buzz-Oven concert by tacking the flier on various friends' MySpace profiles, and she's updating her own blog on Xanga.com, another social network she uses mostly to post photos. The TV is set to TBS, which plays a steady stream of reruns like Friends and Seinfeld -- Adams has a TV in her bedroom as well as in the living room -- but she keeps the volume turned down so she can listen to iTunes over her computer speakers. Simultaneously, she's chatting with dorm mate Carrie Clark, 20, who's doing pretty much the same thing from a laptop on her bed.
You have just entered the world of what you might call Generation @. Being online, being a Buzzer, is a way of life for Adams and 3,000-odd Dallas-area youth, just as it is for millions of young Americans across the country. And increasingly, social networks are their medium. As the first cohort to grow up fully wired and technologically fluent, today's teens and twentysomethings are flocking to Web sites like Buzz-Oven as a way to establish their social identities. Here you can get a fast pass to the hip music scene, which carries a hefty amount of social currency offline. It's where you go when you need a friend to nurse you through a breakup, a mentor to tutor you on your calculus homework, an address for the party everyone is going to. For a giant brand like Coke, these networks also offer a direct pipeline to the thirsty but fickle youth market.
Preeminent among these virtual hangouts is MySpace.com, whose membership has nearly quadrupled since January alone, to 40 million members. Youngsters log on so obsessively that MySpace ranked No. 15 on the entire U.S. Internet in terms of page hits in October, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. Millions also hang out at other up-and-coming networks such as Facebook.com, which connects college students, and Xanga.com, an agglomeration of shared blogs. A second tier of some 300 smaller sites, such as Buzz-Oven, Classface.com, and Photobucket.com, operate under -- and often inside or next to -- the larger ones.
More at the link.