Friday, October 2, 2009

Invading Their Space

Within minutes of walking through the door when Brittany comes home on a college break or for a weekend, her laptop gets turned on, set up and logged on to Facebook. I always ask her why she came home when all she did was “talk” to her friends back at school. (To her benefit she doesn’t say laundry.)

Facebook is a popular website, which until recently was only open to college students and alumni with a school email address, Brittany has 901 friends scattered all over the country. (I know this because every time we get together she shows them to me – after all they have put new pictures on and added funny new quotes since the last time she showed me!)

She told me once that it was hard to leave the site and said “I know what every one of my friends is doing this minute by their away messages!” The kids work hard at leaving interesting away messages!

My Space is probably the better-known site though. NPR reported on a program about MySpace.com that online communities are replacing malls where kids hang out. USA Today reported that My Space has become the dominant force in the social networking sphere. They have over 200 million members. In fact, one of the two founders, Tom, had 230,004,827 friends the last time I looked. (He comes with every person’s My Space page when they join). Do you suppose he makes his mom scroll through all his friends? His personal page has 793605 comments. Things like “You are my hero!”

I’ve seen all this because I joined MySpace.com too. Yep. Adults are members too. In fact it is well known that it’s a great place for people with online stores to advertise. (Which is why I’m there.) It takes awhile to figure it out. And there is a lot you just have to ignore. The site itself is kind of junky and at times incredibly slow, but you can post free classified ads, join groups (everything from fitness enthusiasts, vegetarians, sororities, fraternities, schools, “over 40s”, shopping addicts and a lot I wouldn’t want my mother to catch me looking at! (And I don’t!) You can also listen to new bands, download music, add music to your homepage, play games, rank friends from pictures they submit and blog.

Any adult who thinks there is something wrong with this hasn’t been on too many online forums. I read several different business related ones regularly and all of them have the ability for their members to join groups, private message other members, put people on their buddy list, add a picture and even a profile about themselves which include hobbies and interests. We seem to be a world of people looking for connection.

I wasn’t really thinking about Brittany when I was surfing around MySpace.com. I was pretty sure she was a member, but knew she spent most of her time and energy on keeping Facebook up to date. But, one day I typed her name into the “search for friends” bar and there she was in her low cut red formal. I typed a message to her: “Hi, I’m here to promote my site – what are you promoting? Mom”

I’m not on the site very much at all and really haven’t done much to my page. The only reason I put my picture on it was because the default picture was one of those head silhouettes like the police shoot at for target practice. Brittany’s page (besides the picture in that dress) has music and pink and brown polka dots!

She doesn’t mind me being there. She even asked to be on my “friend” list. (one of my 8…the rest are some of her sorority sisters and of course Tom.) In fact she also asked that I send her messages through MySpace.com rather then her regular email. She says they are easier and faster to get and respond to.

She has changed her picture though to one where she’s wearing an aqua sweater!


If you'd like to buy my book; 'In These Days of Cell Phones, Texting & Social Media ... Can the Nest Ever be Truly Empty?' visit: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00I3RK534


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