Danah Boyd posted a most interesting look at the MySpace phenomenon that does a nice job of putting the whole thing in perspective. I have to say that I’ve been suprised to some extent by the “moral panic” as Danah calls it that MySpace has wrought of late. Not to say that there aren’t some dangers there, but the risks something bad happening are still extremely low. It’s all about education…
Anyway, some interesting quotes from her piece:
Adults often worry about the amount of time that youth spend online, arguing that the digital does not replace the physical. Most teens would agree. It is not the technology that encourages youth to spend time online – it’s the lack of mobility and access to youth space where they can hang out uninterrupted.
This is the sad truth of the times, I’m afraid. I know this with my own kids, that I have a niggling worry when they play outside alone that is really unwarranted. It’s too bad that you never see kids just hanging out anymore…now they’re hanging in.
The scantily clad performances intended to attract fellow 16-year-olds are not meant for the older men. Likewise, the drunken representations meant to look “cool” are not meant for the principal. Yet, both of these exist in high numbers online because youth are exploring identity formation. Having to simultaneously negotiate youth culture and adult surveillance is not desirable to most youth, but their response is typically to ignore the issue…Without impetus, teens rarely choose to go private on MySpace and certainly not for fear of predators or future employers. They want to be visible to other teens, not just the people they they’ve friended. They would just prefer the adults go away. All adults. Parents, teachers, creepy men.
Finally, this one sentence caught my attention:
Because the digital world requires people to write themselves into being , profiles provide an opportunity to craft the intended expression through language, imagery and media.
Hmmm…write themselves into being… What a cool way of thinking about it.