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Today's word on journalism

Monday, January 29, 2007

Words as weapons:

"When he had a pen in his hand it was like giving a kid a machine gun."

--Peter Hall, theater director, on "Angry Young Man" playwright John Osborne (1929-1994)

Hi, I'm Dave and I'm a Myspace addict

By David Connell

December 15, 2006 | Myspace, the social networking Web site is a phenomenon that has surpassed all expectations of popularity. When I signed up for my Myspace account at the encouragement of friends it was just more of a joke than anything. I couldn't help wondering, Is this the final nail in the coffin of being a loser? But with over 50 million other losers, many of them being very hot females, I easily justified it.

I quickly become addicted to this form of Internet heroin. Also, I absolutely love wasting time. What a perfect fit. Where else can you leave completely random comments on your friends' pages that always end in nostalgia? Who knew the appeal of 16 carefully selected photos, a brief "about me" paragraph and a laundry list of generic interests could be so universally appealing? Furthermore, did anyone think this simple but beautiful collection of mundanities could ever up anyone's attractiveness? Who saw this coming?

This site can, and should, be used for good. You can plan events, make announcements, or even write a blog about defending your own lack of integrity, or your affinity for 311. Plus you can start cool groups for people to join, like "Tourrettes Guy Booster club." Of which, I feel should disclose, I'm a member. Good times. Have you ever wondered what kind of beer represents you as an individual? What character of "Sex and the City" would you be? Take a quiz. These time-wasting quizzes can be entertaining but I have incredibly bad ADD, which means, when I should be writing papers or putting in extra hours at work, I'm Myspacing, or Mystalking

Mystalking is a phenomenon that allows someone to track people's movements and activities by looking at comments either they've left for others, or comments on your page left by friends. This is probably the creepiest part of social networking. Myspace in essence, is a group of friends who consent to stalking each other. It allows everyone to explore their voyeuristic sides and exploit the privacy of others while remaining at a safe distance. It keeps users on their computers late at night as opposed to having them roam the streets in the search of romance sought through climbing a tree outside a girl's window to look at her silhouette. Everyone is a winner.

A good friend of mine met his girlfriend on Myspace, and they've been together for nearly nine months now. But for every hook up, there are probably many more break ups caused by it. Your significant other can learn a lot by about your recent activities by Mystalking you for just a few short minutes. Myspace can be a scary phenomenon when taken too seriously. Relationships are ended by comments left on friends' pages. Sometimes lives.

Myspace has become such a part of society that now it's become an accepted form of real communication. We all somewhat know what each of our friends are up to, even if we don't speak to them on a regular basis. This is both a good and bad thing. Last year a 17 year old boy from Southern California posted a suicide note on a Myspace bulletin which read "call the police. Address ... Abadejo, Mission Viejo, CA 92692. tell them to go down the hall to the bathrooom. im soo sorry." The boy killed himself with a gunshot to the head 15 minutes later.

It shows that a world where people are so accessible by email, text messages and cell phone. This young man, instead of calling a loved one, felt that his last cry for help would be on an internet blog. He had to know that Myspace isn't to be taken seriously because his "About me" said he was eight feet tall and that he made more than $250,000 a year. Obviously the line between the real and online world has become blurred and this is scary. We've become so connected to each other by technology, we've disconnected from one another on a personal level. Instead of eulogizing the young man at his funeral, users left posts on his Myspace.

Like magic, Myspace is a tool that can be used for good, or for evil. Sometimes you can play harmless jokes on your unassuming friends by posting a picture of them with magic marker forehead. Or, when someone uses your computer to sign in to Myspace and doesn't sign out, you can change them into a gay swinger that likes to urinate into their own shoes. With my college career soon coming to an end I'm considering deleting my account. I want to graduate from college with at least some semblance of dignity, and having a Myspace account takes your dignity, one time-wasting survey at a time.



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