Monday, August 13, 2007

Getting Too Social on Social Media

This column has extolled the democratization of news, opinion and commerce through social media; i.e., everyone has a chance to sell their product and give a piece of their mind. One, Save Darfur, Just 8 Bucks and Current TV have been featured because of their taking-the-message-to-the-street approach. They take the message to the streets and ask the people to construct and launch the plan. Current TV is the place to upload your news program, drama or music video, as is YouTube.

MySpace is another social media. Many poets, musicians and singers use it to develop a fan base. Even dancers and health and fitness professionals are using it to showcase their practice. People get very creative with the photo galleries, music videos and wallpaper that dress their space. The issue there’s a lot of flirting happening that can lead to trouble. MySpace is helps people find people. The search tool has a variety of demographic criteria to choose from—two being one’s marital status and sexual orientation-- and a user indicates whether she’s looking for friends, romance, networking or business opportunities. Some MySpace pages are actually recruiting halls for prostitutes. They may explain that they seek dancers, models or extras for music videos. The true purpose is securing new faces, new bodies. Similar to flyers, newspaper and magazine ads, people have to be careful about what they respond to. This columnist has a MySpace page and occasionally gets requests to be “Friends” with men who seek romance or friendship. My profile explains I seek to network.

The online world is very interesting because it offers boundless possibilities for immense good in the world. Petitions are sent around the world to stem hunger, poverty, disease and torture. Small donations from thousands of people have covered the cost of full-page ads in the world’s major newspapers. Using the words of a sergeant in Hill Street Blues, “Let’s be careful out there.”

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