FEATURED LESSON PLAN
How Did MySpace Become Your Space?
Do you know who created MySpace and when it was created? Who currently owns MySpace? Why is MySpace such a popular place for advertisers who target teen consumers? Students will do some investigative reporting to uncover the history and economics of MySpace.
- Understand the history of MySpace -- the who, what, when and why it was created
- Explore the economic foundation of MySpace and consider the special interests of the parent company
- Analyze how advertising is enmeshed and personalized on MySpace
- Practice public speaking skills by presenting in a news journalism format
- Investigate the terms target audience, datamining and advergame
- Computer with projector
- Student access to computers/library for research
- Copies of assignment handout, Lesson One, for all students
- Step I. Gather Information: Two periods
- Step II. Plan, Organize and Practice: Two periods
- Step III. Present Ideas and Discuss: Two periods
- Open up the discussion with the questions below. Teachers may be surprised at how students depict themselves on My Space. Be sure to allow students to voice their knowledge, experience and enjoyment of MySpace first before moving to the lesson plans, which introduce more critical perspectives.
You might spend a lot of time on MySpace, or at least know about it, but have you thought more deeply about it?
- Do you have a MySpace page (or pages)? Do you visit every day? How much time do you spend on MySpace?
- Do your parents have a MySpace page? If not, have you shown them your page?
- If your school does not block MySpace, have a student show the class his or her MySpace profile.
- How would you describe what MySpace is to the following audiences? 1) your friends; 2) your parents; 3) a grandparent; 4) a teen living in the late 1800s
- Before social networking Web sites, how did teens engage in social networking? Think about the following eras: 1) the industrial revolution; 2) hunter-gatherer societies; 3) the 1980s (don't forget to consider geographic location and cultural influences)
- Visit the MySpace page of someone you don't know. How does this page reveal information about the person? What design and content techniques are used to catch your attention? Would you want to add this person as a friend or leave a comment on his or her page? Why or why not? What do you want to know about this person that is not posted on this profile?
- How does MySpace "compartmentalize" the way you provide information about yourself? What types of information does MySpace deem important? How does MySpace frame the communication experience? What different information would you get if you were meeting with someone in person?
- Divide into groups of four to five. Review the assignment handout with students and discuss the three-step process. Explain the criteria you will use to evaluate student work. Encourage students to create an informative and entertaining "news journal" report as their final oral presentation. Provide time at the end to discuss what students learned and wrap up the lesson.
Use the following criteria to assess student work:
- Observation of group work -- everyone plays a role
- Completion of group presentation where answers are provided for questions on the topic
- Credibility and variety of research: Have students selected a diverse array of high-quality sources?
- Ability to answer audience questions confidently
- Critical thinking and dialogue in the wrap-up discussion
If you have more than three groups, you can either have some groups investigate the same topic or brainstorm additional topics and questions to investigate.