Ghost Sites of the Web

Web 1.0 history, forgotten web celebrities, old web sites, commentary, and news by Steve Baldwin. Published erratically since 1996.

October 22, 2007

MySpace Roommates: Yet Another Rise of a Dead Meme

MySpace Roommates: Yet Another Rise of a Dead MemeThe "Web Soap" meme is as old as Netscape Navigator 2.0, and is just as obsolete. The idea that linear, time-based storytelling can be effectively imposed on the Web (which is non-linear and simultaneous) has proven again and again to be bankrupt. The only exception to might be termed the "LonelyGirl15 Fakery Exception" in which something that is presumed to be authentic is in fact a manipulated artifact.

The latest mindless re purposing of the soap formula is Myspace's "Roommates." Like its fallen brethren from the late 1990s, it features young nubile unknowns falling over themselves to follow a vacuous plot line. The only thing that Roommates has that its predecessors lacked is raw Murdoch marketing power, plus enough credulous journalists to pimp it to the public.

We all know why Web Soaps persist: because most people lack imagination, and there is enough dumb money in the coffers of the Big Brands to support a nearly endless chain of these ridiculous projects. Peoples' eyes glaze over when I mention "The Spot," "The East Village," and other now-forgotten soaps of the late 1990's. They have no knowledge of or interest in Web history, so Web Soaps rise again and again, like the reflexive throes of a body without mind enough to know it's already dead.

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