Preface: I was in fact a little addicted to Myspace at the time I wrote this and believed it to be a fantastic creative outlet to share with friends. This explains the title of the article.
Technology has widened our horizons, broadened our scope and created neighbors that are thousands of miles away. No internet tool or social networking site has been quite as successful as Myspace and at bridging the gap between regular guys and girls and the “celebrities” they covet.
MySpace allows the user through various avenues to find and contact a host of people with similar interests, voyeuristic tendencies and whatever else binds people together. MySpace has even created “celebrities” of its own. For example Tilla Tequila a tiny yet curvaceous user has over a million billion friends on her site. With a bevy of provocative photos this mini diva has been featured in men’s magazines such as FHM and Maxim. She has been offered promotions and most recently starred in her own bi-sexual reality show on MTV, (season two starts soon). The question then is why this diminutive creature is so appealing to men in cyberspace? For one thing it seems that the interactive element to Myspace actually allows her admirers to feel closer to her. As she adds them as friends there is a feeling that a certain intimacy exists that print magazines cannot offer. Once added asa friend, comments are posted that reinforce the admirers lust for her, with such originals as “your hot” and “sexy” followed by offers of servitude to her every whim. Sometimes these comments are in the form of images and even glittery sayings (lots of glitter on Myspace).
This top social networking site also provides the opportunity to reconnect with people they have lost touch with over time. They may live on opposite sides of the country or the planet for that matter, but a simple search might prove to find them staring back at you waiting for a friend request or an add. Next thing you know there is a connection once again with someone with whom it may otherwise not have been possible. If nothing else it allows a safe and friendly way to catch up and share news, updates and of course photos that are updated relentlessly.
Musicians and bands find a great deal of support through Myspace. Posting their latest releases, concert dates and impromptu shows get the fans involved and once again bridge the space between the voice on the disc and some more attainable and accessible method of connecting. Once only independent films, but now major studios use MySpace to preview trailers and build buzz for premieres, actors and awards. There are often contests and promotions which offered exclusively to the “friends” again help foster the would-be audiences feelings of greater connectedness, and this certainly does not hurt ticket sales.
There are critics that abound to pledge their disgust and disapproval of Myspace and the many other similar sites that have become popular social media networks since this article was conceived. Mainly negative attention revolves around the problem stemming from under age users posting inappropriate or potentially dangerous material. These critics however disdain any medium that requires responsibility for parents and adults to monitor their children’s on-line behavior. Myspace for instance has a no tolerates abuse policy and responds quickly when abuse is reported. Therefore, the negatives are minimal and are overshadowed by the benefits of connection.
The Internet has been described as a way to isolate from people, and in many ways it certainly does create a private world for some people who only interact via these means. For others, however, social networking sites provide the outlet to connect along the cyber-highway and become much closer to that which interests, excites or encourages them.
Copyright ©2007 Veronica Romm
Since writing this article I have written more about the dangers that do exist: Our Teens are Running Wild, and navigating dating and internet dating Breaking up is hard to do (on Web 2.0).