All the blazing lights, colors and advertisements jumped off my computer screen and straight into my brain. A happy little GUI window on the left-hand side of the screen had just let me know that I “must be logged in” to perform the function I was attempting on the site.
Funny, actually. It’s happened a million times. I’ve logged in with an old password, a typo, or a wrong email address before, and the response from my good friend Tom was the same as always, complete with the happy little exclamatory punctuation: “You have to be logged in to do that!”
Of course, how silly of me–I have to be logged in to log in. I typed the password again, slower this time. The same flashy window came up, letting me know that–once again–I have to be logged in to do that.
Well, what next? Maybe it’s just a glitch. Maybe I forgot my password. The more I look, the less I find. This account no longer exists. This user may have canceled their membership. My name and face disappears from the lists of my friends and I can’t understand why.
For reasons unknown, my page was deleted. All the latest memetics of the internet, the kitsch pictures of my heroes, the blog entries, the inside jokes…all of them gone.
I was sad. A part of my identity, at least as I had considered it, was gone. What’s more is that my girlfriend was equally upset, her #1 friend slot having been left vacant by my abrupt departure from the social network.
It didn’t take long for my eyes to glaze over and my rational yet cynical self to take the controls. I’m sad about losing something–a thing so silly and nonsensical–a thing that, for every generation before mine, doesn’t really exist at all.
Closer to losing a cell phone than a wallet, the MySpace profile that professed my likes and dislikes served no intrinsic purpose in my life. I thumbed my nose at the site before I even used it, gave more and more time to it as spring became summer, and had a full blown page complete with videos, songs, and blog entries just a week ago.
It got me. I was hooked. The deletion of my page was probably the best thing that’s ever happened to me. How many times was I logging in per day to check comments and change my picture out? How many bulletins did I post in the last week?
But I’ll keep things clear–it wasn’t the time that I spent on MySpace that bothered me. I was the time I didn’t spend doing things like writing, drawing, and going for a three hour hike to find the best photos I could shoot. “Keeping in touch with old friends” is a great excuse, but in the end, it’s not why I was there. I was spending my time on decorating a ghost, this compartmentalized digital representation of my den. It was so silly. When it was deleted, you would have thought that my house burned down.
Now I’m reminded of when I lost my cell phone. It was a tragedy at
first experience, but as the days went on, I remembered how nice it could be to have some peace and quiet. Hopefully I still feel the same way with the internet.
If I was the person I wanted to be, I’d feel the same way about a car, restaurant food, and electrical power.