MySpace Taught Me
to code (well HTML at least)
“When was the first time you programmed?”,
is a question I get quite often. It’s always one of my favorite questions to answer. I learned how to program with MySpace, way back in the day. I learned how to manipulate basic HTML and CSS on my profile setup. I became the coolest nerd everyone knew. “You mean you can hide everything on my profile and make me look super artsy??” Is something I heard a ton. Well.. I’m paraphrasing of course.
Let me first give credit to the other article that actually inspired my own. Codecademy did a deeper dive with theirs. A very fun and nostalgic read.
MySpace will forever have a permanent home in my heart. Apart from all the preteen and teenage angst that came as a requirement to be a MySpacer, it was the first opportunity I ever had to learn some basics about programming. I can’t for a second act like I was doing it right, but it didn’t matter in the slightest. I was a damn hacker-man. I feel like one of the greatest barriers to programming today is simply Starting. So many young and amateur developers think that they need to know EVERYTHING about programming before they even begin to do it. They want to understand industry standards and build the perfect website/web-app/phone-app on the first go-round.
Well.. honestly you’ll never do anything if you don’t do. Should you use React, or Vue, or Angular? Should I use Node, GoLang or java for my backend? Doesn’t matter. Pick one you think would be fun, and GOOOOOOO.
MySpace was a playground. Honestly I had no idea I was programming. Now I know a lot of people scoff at the idea of HTML and CSS being considered “programming”, but that truly is the baseline of web development. When I was messing with my profile template, I didn’t once feel pressured or judged for doing inline CSS styling, or anything along those lines. No industry standard bullshit. I was simply learning and having fun doing it. It’s a shame that we don’t have that anymore. There is so much visibility and expectation that new developers inflict upon themselves, making pure learning so much more difficult. Go mess around in the dev tools and see what you can make Google’s website do.
The point is, don’t wait until you “know it all” to try it all. just do. Because the truth is, the second you know something about programming.. it changes. That’s the beauty of programming. It is an ever changing playground with new toys and swings to swing on. Learn to learn, not to be perfect.
Thank you, Tom and MySpace, for making me the cool hacker friend in middle school.