Is MySpace PR Nightmare in the Making?
Greg Sterling writes at the Search Engine Journal that MySpace is a PR Nightmare in the making on the basis of the recent rise of negative press regarding potential dangers the service presents to kiddies. I don’t agree. The only difference now is that the stories revolve around MySpace and not blogging, because if you go back 12-18 months the same sort of things were being said about blogging and blogs and yet we are all still here. Indeed take any of the old negative “blogging is bad for Kiddies” storys and substitute MySpace for blogging and the press is identical. MySpace is getting the attention now based on its rapid growth. These stories will go away, it’s just that they seem to be the flavor of the month at the moment.
There are now almost 58,000,000 accounts on MySpace.com. And guess what? Some of them are bad people! Of course, so are some schoolteachers, members of the clergy, cops, etc. Should we hang them all as well? Plus, if these parents of these 14-year-old girls put down their joints and stopped watching TV long enough to learn how to use a computer and the Internet, maybe they could help their kids avoid trouble. And I am a grandpa saying that!
I think your analysis of the Sterling post is e a bit off-base, for a couple of reasons. Unlike blogging, MySpace has a pretty active “we protect the privacy of our users” policy, which can be pretty frightening to a web-illiterate parent, especially when papers like the Hartford Courant do full-page, multi-article spreads with verified local cases of kids getting preyed upon for their stupidity (like they did a couple of Sundays ago).
But more to the point, unlike ‘blogging’ in general, MySpace is a tangible entity, rather than a nebulous collection of online sites and services. It’s easier to marshall group action against someone you can name — you can’t sue ‘the blogosphere,’ but you can sure as hell sue ‘MySpace.com, a division of News Corp.’