Sunday, March 30, 2008

My dip into an alternate universe...

Most of you have heard of Myspace, a social networking site used mostly by those under thirty. I never was very curious about it. I had a Facebook account that I started a couple of years ago at the suggestion of a college student that I shared an office with. I check it infrequently and I thought Myspace was pretty much the same thing. Then my friend called me to wish my happy birthday last month and convinced me to open an account to keep in touch. We have only seen each other a handful of times in the past twenty years so I though, why not?

Shortly after creating my account, all these strangers started asking to be "friends." My profile clearly stated that I was married and mostly looking to reconnect with friends with whom I've lost touch. I would go check their profiles and most of them were freaky. A lot of the pictures posted of themselves look like they are auditioning for the soft-porn industry. I'm not exaggerating! I did find some nice people out there too but they were few and far between.

The thing that really got me hooked was my friend and her relationship with this guy. It was kinda like watching reality TV except I knew the people! It sounds so lame when I type it but you should've seen what the guy put out there! He would change his page at least a couple of times a day (I'm so embarrassed that I know this) and his profile pictures and blog posts were straight out of Playgirl! I believe everything he put out there was intended to make someone else react in some way. I had mixed feelings of revulsion, pity, and fascination.

He was convinced he was in love with my friend (at least that's what he told me) so he wanted to befriend all her friends (including me) as a way of getting to know her better. He was ALWAYS online and posting things on his page and everyone else's pages. Everytime he put anything on my page, I'd get an email notifying me and have to go out there and check. Between that and changing my profile music, video, posting blogs, and comments (all of mine more along the lines of Family Fun Magazine), I was logging in more than I should.

It all came to a head on Thursday. It turns out this guy had an unhealthy obsession with my friend that was not reciprocated. He had infiltrated her life and knew her comings and goings by monitoring her and all her friends. He gained the trust of a few of them (not me) and got them to reveal very personal information about my friend. He began concocting stories in order to get them to reveal more and convince my friend that they belonged together. She confronted him about it all and told him to leave her alone. Hopefully he will.

I announced on my page on Friday that I would not log in again for a week. It's been two days and it's been really hard not to go out there and check what's happening. My plan for next Friday is to check one more time to see if everything is calm and to then nuke everything and disappear from Myspace forever. I obviously can't handle it and don't want to turn into one of those pathetic people that spend more of their life typing on their keyboard than in the real world.

I'm 43 years old and only had this account for two months and I can't believe how I got sucked in! I hope Myspace is shut down before my kids ever get a chance to know what it is. I've got my answer ready, if it still exists.......


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