A Myspace Primer

(Stolen from Greg Courville)

If you live anywhere on or near the planet Earth, chances are that you have heard of MySpace (http://www.myspace.com), the world’s largest free online computer game. MySpace boasts over 60 million active players, with thousands more joining every day, making it one of the most popular sites on the World Wide Web – so popular, in fact, that a number of celebrities have joined in as well, including 38-year-old professional teenager Tony Hawk. If you haven’t yet discovered the thrill of competitive social engineering, then you may want to read on and discover some of what MySpace has to offer.

Basic gameplay

The player’s primary goal is to amass a large quantity of friends, which are small graphical icons typically depicting some part of a person’s body – not to be confused with the unrelated English word “friends”, which refers to people with which one shares some sort of emotional connection. To gain a friend, one must initiate a friend request against another player, and persuade that player to accept it. Upon acceptance, the player receives a new friend which is placed in the player’s Friend Space. The process of gathering these friends is at once the most important and the most complex aspect of MySpace gameplay, so to increase your chances of success, pay close attention to the following tips.

“Set weapons to stun”

The first step upon entering the game is to create a profile, which is a collection of text, imagery, and obnoxious multimedia elements intended to induce sensory overload in other players, causing them to become more vulnerable to friend requests. Attractive females are thought to have a distinct advantage over their male counterparts in this regard, as males are often easily mentally incapacitated by images of the female figure, which may allow the female player to gain male friends with very little effort. In fact, many male players elect to post pictures of female celebrities in the hope of exploiting the same effect; however, this is widely regarded as cheating. Other popular offensive strategies include the use of loud music and random video clips to disorient the viewer and momentarily impair their cognitive abilities. It is up to you to discover which strategy best suits your resources and abilities.

Learning the lingo

To be successful in MySpace, it is important to observe the myriad of arbitrary grammatical conventions established by the online community. Although no one can hope to fully understand such an immensely complex and vaguely defined set of rules, there are a few guidelines that everyone should know.

Use of correct syntax, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation may repel potential targets and compromise your chances of scoring new friends, so these habits are best avoided. Formally structured sentences are a rare sight on MySpace; typical practice is to omit critical syntactical elements, deliberately misspell certain (or, in some cases, all) words in each pseudo-sentence, and/or replace “difficult” words with shortened phonetic approximations. In addition, a variety of initialisms have been coined which condense common phrases into a short form such that they may be used frequently and repeatedly with very little effort. Examples include LMAO (“look at my absolute obsession!” – lamenting one’s compulsive preoccupation with the game), and ROFL (“ride on, Floyd Landis!” – generally used in mockery of an ironic situation). Here is an example of a typical friend request message expressed both in standard English and in MySpace lingo:

> English: I thoroughly enjoyed viewing your profile! Perhaps you will consider accepting this friend request?
> MySpace: lol hi im jess omg ur hottt rofl add me plz!! check out my profile k?omfgrotflmao!!!!1

As one of the most sophisticated computer games in existence, MySpace holds far more to discover than could ever be explained here. It is up to you to determine the strategy which will lead you to greatness… Who knows? You could even become the next MySpace champion.
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