Intro: Myspace is one of the hottest and most
talked about social computing websites. It is an online community
that allows the user to not only keep in touch with old friends from around
the globe but also gives them the "opportunity" to make new ones.
Members have the ability to include photos and video as well as music
and personal blogs that can either be kept secret by using the "private"
option or they can be shared with the public by using the "public" setting.
Myspace also gives individuals much more options such as setting
their entire profile to private so that only individuals on their friends
list can view their page. In addition people can send instant messages
back and forth and allow their friends to see when they are online (example
is "online now" link just beneath profile # 1) and they can also post bulletins,
share their birthdates, block other users, and require approval
before posting any comments that friends have left on their page. In
other words, Myspace gives the user total control over how their space is
presented and utilized. It seems like a great thing...but how many
people are serious about making a real friend when they add you? It
appears to me that Myspace has become a place where many people come to "celebratize"
themselves and that this particular social computing website has helped to
reinvent the meaning of the word "friend." People have fallen into
the habit of collecting friends because they are attractive, party-animals,
or unusual rather than really trying to make connections. It has become
a place where people are more interested in popularity---even at the risk
of being perceived as shallow. For some, it doesnt matter...what matters
are the numbers and whether they are increasing or not. People have adopted
the, "look how many cool, unique, and attractive friends I have" mentality.
This has bothered me for quite some time which is why I have decided
to challenge it.
Premise: I came up with an idea to challenge
the myspace community by creating two seperate profiles with two very
opposite personalities. The objective is to gauge which type of person
the myspace users are more attracted to. This will become evident by
how many people try to add each one. I am very positive that
the majority of people that take the bait will choose the first profile I
created under the psuedo-name Ryneezy (you can view this profile by
clicking on link titled "online now" just below image) The reason being
is that he is very typical of
many myspace users---concerned about image with very little to say about
himself except for the fact that he likes to party hard. He isnt serioulsy
interested in making connections...everything is very impulsive and short-lived
with him. On the other hand, Mr. Everything Happens For A Reason, is
a character that I created that is genuinely concerned with making connections,
humanity, brotherhood, acceptance and so on. He is a person that vies
to make the world a better place and is interested in meeting like-minded
individuals. I predict that less members will be drawn to him only
because he is someone that appears to take things more seriously and actually
has something to say. Anyone that is looking to increase their friend
count wouldnt add him soley because he doesnt appear to be someone that would
fall for it. In any case I would also like to exemplify that these
online communites are very unsafe. If anyone adds either of these personalities
it just goes to show that people are accepting what I have to say as being
true---which is false in both cases. In the realm of social computing
sites we learn to trust in images and words and that may not necessarily
be a good thing. It really begs the question, "How effective and trustworthy
are they?" and "Are they the best way to meet REAL people?"
Progress: As of November 1, 2007 I have recieved
only 6 profile views for Mr. Everything Happens For A Reason and absolutely
no friend requests (this page can be viewed by clicking on link below picture)
As I predicted however, Ryneezy has been a tad more successful with
a total of 36 views and 2 friend requests thus far. He even recieved
a comment from a new friend (check it out by viewing that profile).
Results: I am actually quite dumbfounded that
not as many people fell for this as I
had anticipated. One reason for this could be that the profiles simply
weren't up long enough to be noticed. On the other hand, people may
just be changing their standards and be more selective in choosing who they
would like as a friend. Who knows? Maybe people are more concerned
about making connections these days. I would like to believe so.