The MySpace website has received a lot of press lately, and so by now, most families in the country area familiar with this site. A seemingly innocent site where teens could meet, chat and exchange ideas turned out to be a not so innocent place for web predators and this became hot news. All of the news reports and news shows jumped on the story and warned of the dangers of these kinds of networking sites; theyglossed over the fact that over 24 million members use this online community and the problems being reported were concerning a handful of incidents. Why does MYSpace have such a large and devoted membership? First we must understand how online communities, in general, work.
The appeal is in MySpace's layouts, music, communities, friends. The Layouts: The clever design of this program allows each to create a personal profile. This is probably the single most important area of the site's appeal to its members. Each member can input all the information about themselves that they want, in their personal profile, such as their likes, dislikes, interests, etc.
Many imitations of MySpace have popped up once it realized how alluring it was to create your own layout on a site. The Music: Any band, whether they are on a label or not, can create a page and upload their music to it. Members on MySpace get to hear new and upcoming groups, and may even be helping their success, and the bands receive exposure they never would be able to get otherwise. Communities: Within the larger community of MySpace, members can form smaller cluster communities made up of only theirfriends, or people with like interests.
Art communities, Goth communities, girl communities and others allow members to immediately feel part of a group. Friends: This feature is a real attraction to the members of MySpace. Like all well organized networking sites, MySpace has a feature that allows members to view the profiles of all other members and then contact someone they may be interested in meeting online through a "Friend Request" The person contacted is under no obligation; they can deny the other person's request to become a "friend".
If they are interested, they accept, and then the two new friends can leave messages for each other on "mySpace Mail" or even conduct instant messaging. There are so many different ways for teenagers to entertain themselves on MYSpace, listening to new music, interacting with other teenagers they feel they have something in common with, surfing the hundreds of linked sites that are of interest to teens, that a teen can get "Lost in MYSpace" for hours at a time. In addtion, there are hundreds linked sites.
MJ Batta writes on various aspects of MySpace Dangers and manages the website SpyOnYourKids.Net