My Ambivalence About Myspace
Yeah, it's the cool new social networking space for young folks, and just about everybody seems to be on it these days. The cybersurfer in me loves the fact that you can dip into a new universe with every mouse click -- one moment you're commiserating with fans of a cool new band, the next minute you're checking out the hotties who have applied for Playboy's Girls of MySpace pictorial.
As a musician, finding a site with the ability to post some of my music has been gratifying. And entering into a network with others with similar interests is a powerful, addictive opportunity.
But the parent in me knows that passels of 14-year-olds (and younger) running around unchecked in a service where porn stars and skin mags keep prominent pages is an awful idea. (before you shrug that off, think about it: Would you let your 11 or 12-year-old sibling/child run around Times Square with no adult supervision and any time of night?)
That's why I tried to cover the waterfront a bit in my story on MySpace from today's paper; presenting a little of good, bad and ugly about the site. The fact remains: If those who run MySpace don't figure out a way to keep the younger users a bit more isolated and protected, some awful incident will send advertisers running and shut down the service.
It's good news that the News corp.-owned site plans to install a safety czar to develop plans for safeguarding children on the service. But it's hard to know how they will make this vibrant, ever-changing landscape safe for kids without killing the volatile energy that makes it so much fun in the first place.
What do you think?