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learning.now: at the crossroads of Internet culture & education with host Andy Carvin

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May082006

MySpace Is Just So Last Year

For those of you who have just started hearing a lot of press about MySpace, it turns out there’s more catching up to do, according to the Wichita Eagle newspaper:

[T]he biggest social-networking spot may not stay on top for long. Teens… are increasingly finding other social networks that meet their needs — and that aren’t as well known to their parents.

MySpace’s notoriety could be a turnoff for young people who’re looking for an online community of their own, said Amanda Lenhart, a senior researcher for the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Lenhart has studied teens’ online behavior since the late 1990s. “Teens will go where their friends go,” she said. “They’re always looking for new places to gather. If those places become viewed as more regulated, they’ll move on.”

MySpace may be reaching that point for its young users. Some no longer think it’s cool, while others prefer more closed communities like Bebo and Facebook.com, which target their age group. As this shift continues, plenty of other sites are on the horizon, anticipating movement away from MySpace.

It’s no surprise that some kids are beginning to abandon MySpace given all the media attention surrounding it. Just today, the New York Post has a story about how the New York City department of education has “quietly banned access” to MySpace.

But as the Wichita Eagle article demonstrates, there’s no shortage of other options, including Bebo, BuzzNet and FriendsOrEnemies.com, each of which have a different take on social networking. Bebo is similar to MySpace, but with a bit more sophistication, and includes cyber safety tips from Parry Aftab of WiredSafety.org. BuzzNet is part of a growing number of media-sharing sites that focus on user-generated content, while FriendsOrEnemies brings together alternative rock fans.

The article is certainly an interesting read, and gives a taste of the ever-expanding universe of social networking sites that seem to be gripping young and not-so-young Internet users alike. -andy

Filed under : Safety, Social Networking

Responses

I think this was bound to happen. Once users learned that MySpace now has a “security czar” and that the site is being policed more, they figure it’s time to move on. It’s just the natural process of searching for the next cool thing that the parents (or other adults) won’t be ruining anytime soon. Like finding that perfect hangout spot. In a way, I am a bit surprised that there has not been more of an exodus from MySpace now that it has been bought by NewsCorp. Mr. Murdoch is not exactly “Mr. Cool” to young people.

It’s funny how people want to think this could have anything to do with Rupert Murdoch personally. Most of the kids on MySpace have no idea who Murdoch is and could care less.

This is not to say they are not reacting. If you know teenagers, you know that this demographic is wilfully fickle. The best way to bring that out in them is to withdraw a perceived freedom, the mistake that MySpace have indeed made. It doesn’t matter in who’s name that is done. Watch as the ‘influencers’ on MySpace lead their peers to somewhere cooler. But that too will be temporary.

Perhaps the world of social networking will start to diversify and break down into smaller niches where enthusiasts can remain loyal over a longer period of time.

people should be free to use myspace but just keep it clean.

Myspace has over 80,000,000 users and continues to add at a rate of over 200,000 a day. Yes, it’s possible that half the users aren’t active, and sure, students will go elsewhere, there are indeed plenty of places to go. I really don’t think that an influx of parents or educators at Myspace will greatly reduce the numbers there any time soon.

Indeed, once Myspace improves its rather “sucky” interface, I think the numbers will grow even more. There are a number of safety measures they could implement without reducing the “fun factor” for kids. Tiered folders for one (people you know, friends of friends, and total strangers, with subfolders in each for organizational purposes). I think if Myspace did this little trick, a lot more people would be happy. By setting it up so that 14 or 15 year olds can’t add a “tier 3” stranger/friend, something positive would be accomplished.

There are a number of other things that Myspace may do to improve its interface. As it stands now though, kids can copy/paste code in and tweak their own profiles. They have a lot of fun doing this, and I don’t know if this is something they can do at other communities.

I do believe the DOPA act to be totally redundant legislation (as ALA points out) insofar as 98% of the nation’s K-12 school districts already filter sites like MySpace. They don’t do it necessarily because of dangers real or perceived, but because everyone else is doing it, it’s the politically “right” (not correct) thing to do, and they think they’re doing something positive, not reactionary.

Myspace might go away if they stopped allowing kids to paste code, and they might have to do that. Malware and phishing attacks that have found their way into Myspace pages (something I have found and reported to Myspace) may lead to their eventual downfall. When kids indiscriminately paste in code like that (either on purpose or not), it’s bound to have a negative effect.

Bebo is being blocked everywhere in public places please try to find a way where people can get on bebo in libraries Bebo is blocked by websense In East Baton Rouge Parish thats all we go to the lobrary for thank you

I think it is great that people are able to go to other social networking sites there are so many out there it is very easy to find one that you will enjoy as much or more than myspace and plenty of other features out there.

I use myspace and friendlot.com the most i noticed you didnít mention them but with there different features and the people itself on the site make it a unique social networking site.

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