the cons can keep it

the simpsons (c) foxI’ve expressed my distaste for MySpace before, but it was in response to their association with the 2008 presidential election (don’t even get me started on the YouTube/CNN democratic debate). Perhaps I haven’t felt the need to say more about MySpace because most people can plainly tell that the site is poorly laid-out and loaded with crap which brings the user’s experience nearly as low as browsing incomprehensible.com for an hour. Or maybe I’ve left the subject untouched because other people describe the situation so poignantly (do read that link if you have time). But now it’s all gotten even worse.

It was recently revealed that MySpace was harboring 29,000 profiles for convicted sex offenders. This should come as a surprise for only one reason: there are actually 29,000 registered sex offenders that saw fit to use their real names when creating MySpace profiles. For every few who were dumb enough to believe it was within their rights to create a profile on a site largely inhabited by the friends and relatives of the victims of their past transgressions, there must be dozens more who were clever enough to use an alias. And similarly, for every few who were clever enough to use an alias so that they might schedule a rendezvous with a retarded 13-year-old whose parents kept him on too long a leash, there must be dozens who are not currently sex offenders but are looking to take up the habit.

Still, nothing can really be done about this. With the 29,000 profiles deleted, the site is as safe as it’s possible for Rupert Murdoch to make it. Sure, there are still plenty of bad people lurking around, but that’s not the problem. The site is still painfully annoying to look at, and I spend as little time there as possible (yes, I have a MySpace page – don’t you?).

Like Jeff Minard, the author of the previously-mentioned article, I greatly prefer Facebook to MySpace. But although it still lacks the obtrusive ads and overall crapiness inherent with MySpace, Facebook’s adoption of custom “apps” has left most profile pages feeling cluttered and unwelcoming. Some may view the new degree of customization as a positive addition, but I see it as a step backwards in terms of usability.

Now it’s time for me to go find a new spot on my site to add some ads. Or maybe some flashing lights, and sound…and flaming ducks.

(P.S. Did you know that the dictionary of Word 2007 includes the term “MySpace” by default? “Facebook” isn’t as lucky.)

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