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Not just Myspace, it's Everyone's Space

by C. Reagan (writer), WEST HOLLYWOOD, June 20, 2007

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“Are you on Myspace?” has become the new “Can I have your number?” for legions of people from over the world. What started in November of 2003 as an innovative way to network, connect with old friends or meet new people has unquestionably had an colossal impact on it’s thousands of members and in turn, become a household name.

I won’t bore you with specifics on how the site has become legendary with teens and twenty-some things. People log onto the site multiple times a day, altering their profiles, posting bulletins and searching for new friends while keeping tabs on their ever growing list of buddies. The history, background and legal ramifications resulting from the creation of Myspace has filled countless pages over the last few years. Let’s face it; Myspace is not going anywhere any time soon. In fact, it just keeps growing and growing in popularity. The site is ranked as the number 6 most popular website in any language.

What is most interesting about Myspace is the way it has become a proverbial high school lunch table.

College students and recent grads have found a new, digital way to dramatize their friendships, love lives and even personalities through their friend lists, top 8’s, bulletins, photos, videos, and messages. Gone are the days of the snub in the hallway or an ignored phone call. Now, the best way to let your best friend know she made you angry is to move her from the “number 1” spot on your list or simply post a bulletin outlining exactly why she’s not friend worthy anymore. There’s no need for a string of phone calls or emails, now, with the click of a mouse and a few simple key strokes, all of your friends can read simultaneously what you have to say.

Granted, this shift in the way things like this are dealt with has been building for a while. The instant messengers, chat rooms and basic email of the past all changed the way people air their grievances, flirt, make-up or break-up. Myspace has taken all of the best things about these services and meshed them onto one page. Now, while you may still chat and IM, you are also checking up on your Myspace page to see what’s happening in that realm.

Perhaps the most ferocious attribute of Myspace occurs when a member and his or her significant other take their relationship to the next level. They decide to become friends on Myspace.

Never before did you have an instant open book about that special person in your life! Waiting for their page to load , you tap your foot in excitement, thinking about what cute comment you can leave on their space, letting them know that you’re thinking about them and that they’re the “cutest”. Maybe, if you’re feeling particularly affectionate, you could express your love in a sparkly glitter message or even a romantic YouTube video featuring “your song” set to scenes from “Dawson’s Creek” or “Titanic”.

But, after you post your love note, you innocently browse through their friend list. Without trying, your cursor begins to hover over potential “toxic” buddies. Fundamentally, these are the people who are on your significant other’s friend page that you don’t know but that he or she could, potentially be romantically linked to.

This sounds crazy, right? It is borderline stalking without the risk of being arrested. As outrageous as this seems, every one of my friends has played out that scenario when they begin to date someone who is on Myspace. It’s that little voice that makes you do it, the voice that asks, “How does she know him?” or “I wonder who he is?”

To make matters worse, you may even begin cycling through old comments left on their space. This starts out as harmless, bored fun. Instead of doing the inter-office emails on Monday morning, you scroll down the page, reading comments from months and months before you even laid eyes upon your lover, picking apart their meanings until you eyes blur from staring so intently at the screen.

You can see where this may lead. One of two things happens. Either you take this information and store it in your brain for future reference. You lock it away and grin knowing you have a leg up on your plus one. Or, you call him or her and demand to know who each and every one of these “friends” is and how they are acquainted.

The latter choice results in your status being promptly changed from “In a Relationship” to “Single”, while the former just makes your eye twitch a little whenever a phone call takes too long to return or work runs a little long.
Of course, breaking up with someone via any electronic device is thoroughly frowned upon. I’m sure younger users take the before mentioned acts to extremes with breakup bulletins and the like. To be clear, peeking into emails or chats, listening into phone calls and going through cell phones is strictly forbidden. But, with a public Myspace page, it’s almost impossible to restrain yourself from stealing a look. It’s very much like being alone in your boy/girl friend’s apartment every single one of their closet doors open, contents practically spilling out for you to rifle through. It is a bit violating, but, on the other hand, you shouldn’t have anything to hide, right?

Myspace has become a double edged sword. It makes keeping in touch with old friends practical. We can find events, discover music, express ourselves to the world and connect with thousands of strangers for no charge. But, with every new convenience that is adopted by the masses, new consequences for their use are created. Limits are made to be tested. Now, we just have to realize how public our lives have become. Myspace is to common people what the paparazzi are to celebrity. Now, every time you stumble after too many drinks and a photo is snapped it can be posted without your knowledge or consent. A blunder can be made into a bulletin for your friends to discuss. A significant other can research your past by scrolling down a page. Potential employers may pass on you based on a blog you created.

The reality is, nothing is private anymore. Myspace just makes it a little easier to pry.


About the Writer

C. Reagan is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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6 comments on Not just Myspace, it's Everyone's Space

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By Jen on June 20, 2007 at 05:59 pm
Great article! The whole myspace/blog thing is something I don't understand for these very reasons. I don't think many bloggers/myspacers really think about how their personal information can be "used against them" until something happens to make them realize that some thoughts/activities really should be kept to oneself. I've thought horrible things about people in moments of anger/frustration. Once those feelings pass, and Im not so angry at my friend anymore, I would hate for them to read what went through my mind for a moment. My roomate calls this kind of dramedy "How to live your life in public". We both vote no thank you... Though...Im not so sure about your conclusion. People have plenty of privacy. Things are private if you keep them private. I believe this is why diaries are sold with locks.
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By Ariel on June 20, 2007 at 11:10 pm
Wasn't it Gary Peterson? I don't think Ed ever said anything about El G
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By C. Reagan on June 21, 2007 at 04:35 am
So, about this article.....?
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By Jen on June 22, 2007 at 12:46 pm
I'm with J&T, and stand by my original opinion. Great article.
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By Phoenix on June 26, 2007 at 05:30 am
I recently deleted my MySpace profile, after being approached by a stranger on the street who recognized me from my default photo on the site. This was not someone I'd exchanged messages with and added as a "friend"...but just somebody who'd come across my photo in a search or while clicking from one page to the next...Brings an idea for a MasterCard commerical to mind: MySpace Account: Free Internet Connection: $24.95 Stalking your prey with their help: Priceless. Great article!
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By Kendrick Daye on June 30, 2007 at 11:41 pm
I thought your article was great, but it was very biased. I don't know what the intent of your article was, but you failed to mention the positive aspects of "MySpace" like the networking for professional purposes, the easy way to keep in touch with friends and family, and the easy and cheap way to promote anything from your new single to your new clothing line.
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