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Got A Top Eight?

MySpace picks up fans, critics at BSU

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Got A Top Eight?

MySpace picks up fans, critics at BSU

My friends have been enticed into MySpace.

MySpace is the free network of photos, blogs, user profiles, and other media formats, available at www.myspace.com. Originally intended for music fans to connect with their favorite bands and artists, the site has become a medium where "social networking" takes place.

Many teens now spend their free time posting pictures of themselves on MySpace and waiting impatiently for their "friends" (or whoever they allow to view their profile) to critique and comment on the images. In the meantime, they can pick a new theme song for their page or change their background to something snazzy. They can even send messages back and forth.

Other online communities, like Friendster.com and Facebook.com, offer the same social opportunities, but tend to attract older crowds. When I jokingly told some friends that I would soon obtain a Facebook account, a college friend replied matter-of-factly, "No, you can't do that. You can only have Facebook when you leave for school."

Online communities may have created a new social order, but they have also caused widespread concern.

"Space or Face? Using Online Communities Safely," sponsored by the Boise State University Cultural Center, featured a lively student panel discussing the stress and blessings MySpace creates for its participants.

The panel presented the double-edged sword that is MySpace. Sean Connelly, a student and resident advisor at Boise State, claimed MySpace takes away from face-to-face communication.

"I remember a friend left me a comment [suggesting] that we should hang out," Connelly said. "I didn't check it that day and he came up to me the next day, and [seemed upset] that I didn't show up. He said, 'Well, I left you a message.' And, I was like, 'I'm right across the hall. Why didn't you just get up and ask me?'"

Predators run rampant on MySpace pages as well. A teen's private information can be carelessly included in MySpace pages, providing prowlers easy access to their lives.

Shannon Morgan, A fellow panelist and writer for the Arbiter newspaper said the site helped her keep in touch with family and friends.

"My grandmother is on MySpace and [this site] also allows me to promote my articles and business ventures," Morgan said.

Although Morgan is an advocate of MySpace, she was surprised by one incident.

"It is odd when people come up to me at clubs and say, 'Oh my gosh, Shannon, your kids are so cute!' and I have never seen [these people] inmy life," Morgan said.

MySpace can cause social turmoil. I rolled my eyes at school when someone whined about being bumped off another friend's "Top Eight." This sacred echelon, a standard feature of MySpace pages, is reserved for one's favorite eight people.

Panelists agreed that crushed feelings were the product of fluctuating Top Eights.

"My friend was actually upset that I moved him down," said Connelly.

Molly Kumar is a student at Boise High.

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