The Malt Shop Alternative Blog #5
Gone are the days when young people could hang out at the local drug store sipping a milk shake after school. Today’s teens live in a structured environment. After school, they play organized sports, belong to supervised clubs, volunteer, and work at part time jobs. When and where do these kids get to “hang out” with their friends?
Social networks! Websites such as FaceBook and MySpace are available 24 hours every day of the year. Also referred to as the live web or web 2.0, these sites are the malt shops of today. Teens “meet” and share photographs, videos, music, and other interests in their profiles. The networks allow teens to stay in touch with friends while being physically separated.
The popular social networks tend to be community moderated or to have little supervision permitting teens to freely express themselves- alarming parents. Parents read magazine articles or hear news reports of obscene photographs and sexual predators. Although these fears cannot be denied, the stories represent a very small percentage of the members’ experiences.
Teens do not take part in social networks to frighten their parents, but for uninterrupted social time. It is a means to connect with others- to see and be seen. Physical characteristics are not as important on social networks. Young people can experiment with different personas/create a façade/pretend to be someone else. Unfortunately, members may not realize that these sites are not private. They think that because their parents are not reading the profiles or viewing the photographs, that the networks are secure. Young adults may find later that teachers, employers, and police officers access these sites.
Some people believe that the novelty of social networks is starting to wear off. If one talks to a teen member of a social network, it is doubtful that the sites will disappear any time soon. The advantages for teens far out weigh the disadvantages. But… just in case, MySpace is considering anchoring its website with special interest groups such as MySpace Fashion or MySpace Sports.
Check out these social networks.
Kornblum, Janet. "Parents and the Web: Complete Dichotomy." USA Today 7 June 2006. MAS Ultra--Public Library Edition. Ebsco.
Lake Bluff Public Library, Lake Bluff, IL. 27 Oct. 2006. Keyword: Social Networks.
Levy, Steven, and Brad Stone. "The New Wisdom of the Web." Newsweek 3 Apr. 2006: 46-53. MAS Ultra--Public Library Edition. Ebsco. Lake Bluff Public Library, Lake Bluff, IL. 27 Oct. 2006. Keyword: Social Networks.
Maney, Kevin. "Who Needs a Bowling League to Make Friends When There's..." USA Today 25 Oct. 2006. Middle Search Plus. Ebsco. Lake Bluff Public Library, Lake Bluff, IL. 27 Oct. 2006. Keyword: Social Networks.