This Myspace Reincarnation Is Bringing Me So Much Joy

This Myspace Reincarnation Is Bringing Me So Much Joy
My Spacehey profile, with images from my high school Photobucket account! (Screenshot: Joanna Nelius/Gizmodo)

Have you heard? The old Myspace is back. Sort of.

Coded entirely by an 18-year-old from Germany named An, Spacehey is near carbon copy of the OG social network’s design in its early 2000s glory days. According to Vice, the new network, which looks entirely like the old network, launched last November and so far has attracted about 55,000 users worldwide.

An told Vice said he wanted to create a social network that offered better privacy and allowed users to be more creative.

“Thanks to older friends and the internet, I heard a lot about [Myspace]. I came to the conclusion that you can’t find something like this nowadays,” said An.

He spent his free time during quarantine scouring internet archives to make Spacehey look as authentic as possible to the classic version of Myspace.

And he nailed it.

Myspace has been rebooted before, but never with the look and feel of the original. That’s what made it appealing, and Spacehey recreates it almost perfectly.

Spacehey offers a few features the original Myspace lacked, like the option to add links to your other social media profiles on Twitter and other platforms that didn’t exist back then. You can embed content from Spotify and YouTube, which also didn’t exist back then. There’s even a section with pre-made, user-created layouts if you don’t feel like coding everything from scratch — although that’s half the fun of having a Myspace, er, Spacehey.

But all the core elements of classic Myspace are there. Friend space. Blogs. Interests. Comments. Even the little “online now” label. If you’re feeling a little inspired, Spacehey user corentin has a running list of other users who have completely decked out their profiles with fun fonts, bright neon colours, and animations that are almost too nostalgic to handle.

An says Spacehey is more than just a Myspace clone, though. He’s very active on the platform, responding directly to user complaints and unafraid to throw down the ban-hammer on anyone spreading hate speech and harassment on the network. That’s not only a welcome change of pace in the overall social media landscape, but is also in direct contrast to the approach Facebook and Twitter have taken over the years when dealing with misinformation and hate groups.

Myspace taught my high school self a lot of things. It taught me how to use HTML and that overloading your page with flashy text and auto-playing music made made for a poor user experience. It taught me how to deal with creepers sliding into my DMs. But most of all, it was a much-needed refuge from overbearing parents who liked to snoop through my text messages and listen in on my phone calls when all I wanted was privacy. I’ve been looking for a Facebook alternative for years now, and Spacehey has potential.

Of course, there are concerns about how viable a throwback to an old social network can be once the novelty of nostalgia wears off. There’s no Spacehey app, for instance, so if you want to access it on your phone you’ll have to use your browser. But I like that. I miss the early days of cell phones that couldn’t connect to the internet, which made it so easy to disconnect from social engagements for days, even weeks at a time. Spacehey could end up being a niche social media platform for a very particular user (say, an older millennial), but that’s OK.

My Spacehey page needs a lot of work. But I’ve been having a great time going through my old Photobucket account, where I saved all the menu and background images I made for my old Myspace. It’s such a unique time capsule of my younger self’s interests: my obsession with CSI, Zach Braff in Garden State (my adult self doesn’t understand that anymore), little icons I made for some of my favourite albums from Icon of Coil, A Perfect Circle, and Don Hertzfeldt’s short film Rejected. I’m still like my teenage self in some ways, but obviously have grown tremendously since then.

It may not skyrocket to TikTok heights of popularity, but Spacehey is a throwback to when curating a social media profile was fun and creative. And I’m having a blast.