October 2006

Good-bye Pen Pal, Hello MySpace

Author: Adam Joskowicz

The information age is no longer the future; it’s the present. As the millennium dawned, many of us felt anxious, nervous and fearful at the mention of words like the “internet” and “cyberspace”. Now that the common household is wired into the World Wide Web, most of us feel relatively confident in shopping, paying bills, gambling, even dating on-line. The convenience of the internet gives us more time in a world where time has become priceless. While most of us are trying our best to stay anonymous, protecting ourselves from identity theft and junk mail, some are posting their names, pictures, personal information, even addresses, on-line willingly. This latest on-line phenomenon is MySpace.com.

This networking tool has become the latest fad in the computer society and has evolved the “grapevine”. With millions of members, it is a phenomenon both technologically and socially. I first heard of it through my little sister, who is now starting college. She and her friends correspond, post party pictures and find new friends in the area, who also use MySpace. For our younger generation, it’s a social tool that acts like a bulletin board. Rumors now travel faster than the speed of sound and high school has become a small place. Since most of MySpace’s members are teenagers, it’s almost as if their generation has started a new society.

MySpace.com allows members to customize their own personally designed profile pages, giving them, in a microcosmic way, a feeling of celebrity. One can sign up for free and be immediately connected to the community. People congregate and form friendships on-line often through blogs and chat rooms, or subject-specific discussion rooms. Schoolmates use the site to plan their weekends and announce sporting events. Local party animals publicize their events for their community; even singles, too busy to get out, can socialize on MySpace.com. Musicians also network and promote themselves, often posting samples of their music on-line. Many other services are offered, such as movie clips, music, classified ads and local event listings. If you’re sick in bed, consider it your only necessary connection to the outside world.

Times are changing fast but some things remain the same. Our yearning to feel connected to the world has always existed within us. Evolutions in society like the World Wide Web are evidence of that. The proverbial “writing on the wall” is there for all to share…just log on and sign in.

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