Friday, December 09, 2005

The MySpace Experiment

So I created a MySpace account, as many of you might have seen from a post about MySpace this summer. I created it just to gauge the reaction it would have from people, and to see how long it would take to others to find it. Here are my findings.

-After creating the MySpace in July, I had only 344 hits, although the first 200 came quickly.
-I found out that the most frequent visitors were players from the Varsity basketball team. Second most frequent visitors were from this blog, and finally I had visitors that were people I went to high school with.
-About 5 ex-students signed up as "friends".
-I found 6 people that I went to high school with, and 1 guy I played basketball with for 3 years in high school. I had some very nice conversations with these people. It was nice to reaquaint with old ball players.
-I found no evidence that any students in my classes found my site. If they did, they didn't tell me. Again, the only people that found the site were a group of varsity basketball players.
-Speaking of the basketball players, they decided to create a dumby site that used my name. The picture and the comments were inappropriate and out of line, however the situation took care of itself. I notified MySpace about the fake page, and they took it down within 24 hours, with a promise to monitor the blogs that I mentioned if the incident were to occur again (I had 12 people out the gentlemen with way too much time on their hands).
-The site caused many people to send me e-mails or comments about my article, and my place on MySpace. A student at Bella Vista High School in Sacramento used my site in her school newspaper as an example of how teachers should warn students to use MySpace with discretion. Others stated that I had no clue what I was talking about. Unfortunately, those were a little more common. Here's one that I received today:

Amazing how you no longer have a myspace account. So if what you say is true, then why don't the people from the tv show "Laguna Beach" get arrested for drinking under 21. The camrea crew is obviously over 21 and knows for a fact they are drinking, everyone knows. If you start statements like you provided in your article you can never stop which will only lead to the entire shutdown of human communication, because myspace is like walking around with a shirt with your profile on it, and saying that is illegal is wrong. It is your choice to tell other people information about yourself publicly, freedom of speech, and if concerned they can set their account to friends only, so only their true "accepted" friends can see their profile. Your article and this controversy is a waste of time.


I give you one guess if this letter is from a high school student. Like usual, they do know it all, don't they. Unfortunately, the situation is getting worse and worse for people thinking that the Internet is some kind of private domain. What you say on MySpace is public record, even if it is set to private. Whether it is a threat, your personal information, comments about teachers, hell, even cheating on your girlfriend, is all public information and can be used against you legally. While you are at it, teachers might want to explain to students that everything that is typed into Google is also recorded and kept at Google Headquarters in Santa Clara, California on their servers. Although they state that the information is kept to help make searches more efficient, the information can be used against you. This includes the information sent over G-Mail servers! Everything, all your searches, all your G-Mail, where you shopped in Froogle, is saved at Google. On the stretch end of the spectrum, the Patriot Act might have the ability to use the Google database to conduct searches. On the other end, it isn't out of the realm of possibility that Google could be subpoenaed for the information, whether it be searches or e-mail accounts.

For the record, I created another MySpace account. I won't have students on this one, and I'll have to hide it from the little munchkins. It shouldn't be much of a problem really. I found it nice to talk to old friends, and to discuss with others where we are in life. Like anything else, MySpace is an interesting tool that has great reflective value in people's lives. Concurrently, the medium is dominated by middle and high school students that are in a generation that enjoys the excesses in life. This poses a nasty problem for educators, since parents continue to remain naive about their sons and daughters getting drunk every Saturday night on Captain Morgan. Once again, it falls upon us to do something about it. It has just, and I mean this week, became a major problem at our school. Students are having Internet privledges removed for week chunks for viewing the program on the computers, and students are starting to cry foul. In the atmosphere that is our school, the debate is going to get fierce.
Stay tuned, and be safe.
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