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February 16, 2015

"When we see the lights
And we hear those fights
I'm going back down south now"
-Kings of Leon "Back Down South"

Last night, for the first time literally in years, I logged into my account on MySpace. What I found surprised me.

Just getting logged in was no sure thing, since I didn't know if I still remembered my password for the site (I did) or if the account was still active (it was). It looked nothing like I remember from the heyday of the site, with only an oddly placed box of the infamous "Top Eight Friends" that MySpace used to make you choose serving as a familiar starting point.

It was interesting to see a mix of people I'm connected with on there: friends who I still keep up with now on other platforms, friends who didn't make the leap to the next big things in social media, long-forgotten women I used to chase whose last names I don't even know, business acquaintances, etc.

What really was interesting to me was what I saw while going through some of my friends' photo albums. It's rather easy in some respects to rewrite your own history or omit things you decide you don't want online anymore, though the internet never really forgets. But if you haven't looked at your own MySpace page in a long time, and especially if you presume that your account simply disappeared, you might want to check it out.

My photo album on there contains mostly pictures from 2008 of my brother Matt's dog, Titus, along with a few Tampa-era favorites. No worries for me luckily, but that might not be the case for you.

It's interesting to look at MySpace as a flashpoint in time from the 2004-2008 era and see the photos posted from that stretch of time. Everybody's younger. Also, many of the photos aren't of the best quality since it was from the flip phone era, when cell phone camera picture resolutions weren't as good they are today.

Social media is a fascinating thing, and it has changed the world already in so many ways. Antiquated laws reinforced by years of propaganda are being challenged. Dictators and oppressive governments have tried to ban it, which speaks volumes about its power. It has given people a voice who have neither the aptitude to build their own website nor the inclination to write long-form columns. It's quick to use, particularly in the case of Twitter with its 140 character limit, and it's certainly effective.

It's not always fun on Twitter, certainly not compared with the seemingly endless array of happy family photos and vacation snapshots that people tend to put on Facebook and Instagram. I feel like Wade Barrett at times when I tweet or retweet something unpleasant on Twitter, though I have a two-pronged thought process for my posts there:

1. Is it positive?
2. Is it necessary?

If I can't answer yes to at least one of those questions, I don't tweet it. And the term tweet annoys me almost as much as the term selfie, but at some point you have to throw in the towel and deal with it.

I wonder if someday WSAZ will finally make use of the @WSAZ Twitter handle that I managed to acquire for the station during my time there. No one asked me to do it -- I just worked my magic, used some patience, and finally managed to gain the rights to it. I then handed it to management on a silver platter.

Sadly, perhaps because it wasn't their idea, they've barely used the account. But that's not my concern anymore.

It has been strange being in a holding pattern here in Columbus while waiting to make my forthcoming move to Nashville, which will be happening for me in May. I still really love Columbus, and there are so many things to do here and some great people. But Nashville is home, and heading back there will be wonderful in many ways, as I noted in my previous column on here.

This would normally be a convenient spot to talk about how rough winters here are compared with Tennessee, but as I type this they're getting hit with a major snowstorm in Nashville. So it's advantage: Columbus on that one this week, though we're dealing with bitter cold temperatures here with snow on the way, so it's not like I'm back in Tampa.

Busy season is here for me with Draft King, with the upcoming NFL Combine and free agency set to change perceptions about both team needs and player attributes. It can be both maddening and fascinating, but it certainly keeps things interesting.

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