MySpace and Other Social Networks

Hey, anyone out there on MySpace? My friends from home and I are pretty much addicted to it. It's interesting, all these new social networks--I'm on all the ones I've ever heard of--MySpace, Friendster, and Each has different affordances; Friendster is the least impressive in this regard. On Tribe, you can post ads if you're looking for a job, selling your car, etc. which is nice, and Tribe allows users to form clusters based on a common interest or identifier, such as Adjunct Professors and Blog Research. MySpace combines blogging with the social network concept--you can keep a journal for your friends to see, send bulletins to all your friends, and make comments under their profiles. On Friendster, you can make profile comments too (they're called "testimonials"), but the user whose profile is being commented on has to approve the testimonial. This makes the process slower, less spontaneous. On MySpace, approval isn't necessary, but you can delete comments if they offend you.

Not only are the affordances of each tool interesting, the genre differences are as well. Friendster and MySpace are both very hip, I'm-cool-without-even-trying, and sexy, almost intimidatingly so. It's a relief when someone makes fun of them. I find the whole phenomenon fascinating when I read it as an exercise in self-presentation and posturing, but hey, I'm not above such practices; I participate right along with everyone else. Since getting on MySpace, I communicate a lot more often with my friends at home, so I'm not complaining.

(By the way, the creator of MySpace has a graduate degree in English and Rhetoric from UC Berkeley.)