There is a new rage sweeping the nation, grabbing the attention of young and old alike. A place where you can share photos and stories, talk and take surveys. It is a web journal, photo album and blog all in one. No, we are not talking about Yahoo or AOL. Those are old news. We’re talking MySpace, a place for everyone to network nationwide.
So where did the idea for MySpace come from? It is the brainchild of Tom Anderson, a UC Berkley and UCLA graduate, and Chris DeWolfe, a graduate of USC’s Marshall School of Business. It was formed in July 2003. The site was partially owned by a company known as InterMix Media until this past year, when the company was bought out for $580 million by News Corp., the media conglomerate that owns the Fox Network.
MySpace is said to be forming its own unique little culture inside the html-coded pages of the internet. People from all over the country use MySpace as a network for business opportunities and to make friends. There are 998 students listed under Yuba College.
Not all of them are still attending, of course, but they are listed as student alumni. The site is very popular among current students, enough to have the site blocked by the Open Media Lab (OML) computers.
“It was overloading the system and causing the main computers that are used for other things, like checking things out, to shut down,” said Maureen Schmidt, a student worker in the media center. “We had no choice.”
According Schmidt, it was not something that was planned or intentional. ” It’s not that we want to take MySpace off the computers, but with the problems it is causing, it was the only thing to do. Once we started taking it (MySpace) off, there was a significant change in the network itself, an improvement. There was no need to reboot nearly as much as before.”
Schmidt continued to say that she understands what a vital role the computers play in student studies, as she is a regular user of the OML computers. “If students would just understand that this was a necessary action and cooperate, then it would be cool. If students continue to ignore the warnings, then there is talk of them being asked to leave the lab and, quite possibly, being banned from using them.”
Posters in the Open Media Lab tell students that access to MySpace is no longer allowed.
Many students are upset over the ban. “I just think it’s stupid. I don’t think it’s MySpace that is causing the computers to crash,” said a student who asked that he not be named.
In several instances, the new rule is not being followed.
The MySpace phenomenon has caused more than computer crashes. There have been many controversial issues revolving around this website. As with all online sites that display any personal information, there have been allegations of child molesters searching for underage kids.
While many users are minors, there is a way for parents to monitor their child’s MySpace accounts. Parents can make their own account so they can watch what their child puts on her account. The site does not have a monitor patrolling the site. It simply posts rules and the options to report violations. It is up to the users to do so.
Some students in several high schools have brought up the issue of violated rights, when school officials try to use what they find on students profiles to discipline them at school. There was a reported instance of this in February when a high school principal in the Mid-Valley tried to ban several students from playing sports by saying that they violated their sports contracts by drinking.
What was his source? Pictures found on the students’ MySpace profiles of the students drinking. According to one female student from the high school, “The pictures where taken over the summer and he (the principal) had no proof otherwise.”
Being online does leave many people vulnerable, especially when it involves personal information.