"If the Internet was once ungoverned by etiquette, those days are gone; MySpace and its siblings, by many accounts the future of the Net, are rife with discussions of good manners versus unforgivable faux pas,"writes Steven Barrie-Anthony for the Los Angeles Times.

    The freedom is indeed vanishing. Now the Net is a place where serious questions are hashed out: relationship statuses, rules of syntax, and now– thanks to MySpace– the hierarchy of friendship. You heard it right, a new feature on MySpace allows users to rank their "Top 8," a list that can include friends, family members, significant others, as well as favorite films and bands. And, as is often the case when "real" meets virtual, things get messy. The article details spats between spouses, co-workers, and long-time friends that have emerged on social networks.

    I am nothing short of a technophile (if not personally, then at least theoretically). I honestly believe, contrary to naysayers' arguments, that new technologies have the power to bring people closer together, and make us more human, not less human. But what does it mean when we have 78 million on MySpace already (and, on average, 270,000 joining every day)? Does the "opt-out" argument still apply? Can technology facilitate the feared tyranny of the majority? (I know I have made no empirical claims, but I'm just throwing out some big questions for you.) So, technophiles and Luddites alike, where do we go from here?

    I leave you with the MySpace experience of Michael Block, a search engine marketer from L.A., who received the following indecipherable message from "an unknown 15-year-old in Florida": "y u want people 2 look at u 4. u thinken that u looken sweet 4 da females."

    Wow.

    I admit I am young, but from what I've read, Internet discussion used to look a little more like this.

Daniel Corbett

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