In the past several years, MySpace has become a cultural phenomenon, attracting both children and adults of all ages and backgrounds. So what makes MySpace so special? Why are more and more people signing up everyday? Is it a good thing? This is a guide to MySpace and how to use it, based on my personal experience with the site.
MySpace offers free accounts to anyone over 14 with a valid email address. Of course, the age requirement can easily be gotten around as long as you can accurately count back 14 years.
There are privacy settings that users can take advantage of. These include allowing only users who know your last name or email address to view your profile, requiring that comments be read and approved by you before appearing on your page, and allowing only approved users view your blog or pictures. These are great tools, especially for younger MySpace users.
Once you have an account set up, you can fully personalize your page. There is a profile that you can utilize to tell others about yourself, or you can leave any questions blank if you prefer not to answer them. You can change the colors, background, and layout of your page. There are tons of sites out there with free graphics for use on MySpace.
MySpace also gives you a place to upload and share photos. As long as you stick by the guidelines (no nudity or copy written material) you can basically put up any images you want. You can put a music player on your page as well as videos. You can post blogs as often as you like, and friends can even subscribe to these. You can post bulletins that go out to all of your friends at once. MySpace also has its own mail system, as well as an instant messenger so you can chat with your friends.
Once you have your page customized and are familiar with how MySpace works, you are ready to add friends. These days it is quite easy to find current friends who have MySpace. This is a convenient way to stay in touch with them. MySpace is also a great place to reconnect with old friends you’ve lost contact with. There is a search feature that allows you to easily look for people using a number of methods. Of course, you can also make new friends on MySpace. You can browse users, filtering profiles by age, sex, or location. Looking at their profile can give you an idea of what you are like, and you can invite them to be your friend if you so desire.
MySpace does have its drawbacks. For one, with so many users, it is often crowded and runs slow. There are also times that the site is down due to maintenance or system problems. Lately, there have been problems with people hacking into other users accounts. They can then not only access their personal information, but can change anything they want. Spam email, comments, and friend requests are also common recently. Profiles are set up just to advertise a product, get you to visit another site, or to try to con people into participating in surveys.
Parents should be especially cautious when allowing their children to set up MySpace accounts. While MySpace offers privacy settings, not everyone uses them, and this is very important for children’s pages. There are some very sick people on the internet, and no one wants them to find their child on MySpace. As long as parents and children alike show good judgment, there is no reason why MySpace should not be a safe place for teens to communicate with their friends.
MySpace is a wonderful site for social networking, and continues to offer its users more and more benefits. From the way it is growing and expanding, MySpace does not appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. Face it, whether you like it or not, MySpace is now a normal part of life.