*This has been going on for years I know... but I was reminded of it all while spending time with my niece*
It's an epidemic! Kids everywhere are falling victim to vanity! Why? Because they now have a place to display it; a place where it's encouraged - heavily. Peer pressure has always been existent but never in this way. With the emergence of social media, comes a new way for kids and young teens to express themselves. Since privacy is extremely important these days, the only other people these kids are exposed to on these networks is their peers - thus creating pressure and encouragement to validate themselves through photos and words on their page. Back before the days of the internet and social networks, one only had to worry about the way they acted in school. Now you have to worry about the way you appear around the clock as these sites are readily available at the click of a button. If you do not represent yourself in a "cool way", you could be the topic of tomorrow's gossip discussion.
I have a 14 year old niece who is constantly signed onto Myspace and Facebook and after seeing her numerous friends' profiles, I sit here in awe at how vain these kids are (or at least pretending to be). It's sad to see these girls try to portray an image that doesn't have to be them at the tender age of 12. One would argue that they should not be on these sites but let's face it - if they want to be on them, they will be on them somehow.
They spend hours in front of the mirror taking photo after photo of themselves with sexy/serious looks in order to obtain the "perfect" one. I cannot sit there and say that I haven't had a moment of vanity myself (as I believe most women have? Maybe? Maybe not?) but the age these kids are starting such behavior is young. My 10 year old niece is also catching on to the trend and I wonder of the pressure to maintain a constant image on these networks in morphing today's children in a negative way. If I could post the photos of 10 friends of my nieces' at random, you would understand (and quite possibly be shocked!) but due to the underage issue, I am not allowed to do that. While social media is providing both children and adults numerous opportunity, we face the growing negativities associated with these new mediums as well. What are the long term effects of these networks when it comes to bullying, vanity and more?
Business owners are constantly being told to embrace the web and look to it for their next advertising and promotional efforts. When people foretold that social media was the "next big thing" for companies to utilize, others automatically thought of Myspace.
It's not surprising, considering it's the number one social networking site on the web and currently boasts about 60 million visitors per month. Despite these staggering numbers, is Myspace really worth a businesses' time and effort?
I'd have to say for the most part, it's not worth more than 5 minutes a day. Having signed up in 2003, I used it for genuine networking and marketing purposes. This was when there were enough users to get the word out about a product or website, and people were eager and willing to listen to what you had to say. It was a new way of communicating on the web, and its innovative appeal spread quickly. As I previously stated in this post, Myspace has become a haven for spammers and annoyingly persistent bands alike. Although Myspace has taken action against these folks, and the aggravation has decreased since I wrote that article, I truly do not see the incentive for businesses to set up a Myspace page anymore.
If you write to someone about your product, you will get flagged for spam and soon deleted. Your best hope is to create a page and add people who may be within your targeted demographic and hope that when they see your (hopefully intriguing) main image, that they will click on your page and be interested in what you have to offer. Since people are blasted with these types of profiles on a daily basis, they are reluctant to care about what you're trying to sell on the network. Personally, I use it to keep in touch with my friends from around the world and not to learn about new brands. Here and there I will come across an interesting new venture and will check it out, but that is a rare occurrence, and I cannot imagine it's different with any other user.
In turn, the amount of time it takes to create a compelling profile and add all these friends, is not worth it for the visits you may receive to your website. The average user on Myspace is between about 15-30 years old, so a company must also keep that in mind. Recently I heard that Cartier set up a Myspace page. This is certainly a bit unusual for a luxury brand to use a site such as this, but I'm definitely interested to see the reports on the impact of this particular campaign. I just can't see the average Myspace user being interested in the Cartier brand. Perhaps the interest is there, but is the money? While some would say it could be good for branding purposes, does it actually help or hurt the brand? Myspace has some negative connotations associated with it these days, so it's up for debate.
I'm not saying there isn't a brand/company/product that can't benefit from such a site, but most are wasting their time. Myspace is not what it used to be and we'll stick by that statement.
New reports actually show that conversions of Myspace targeted ads are more impressive than you'd think. Perhaps that could be an option for advertising, though it's more about pay per click and less about social media marketing. Either way, think first before setting yourself up on "SpamSpace".
Ok. I must rant. Let off some steam if you will.
I have been a member of MySpace since before it was deemed the "coolest" website online and got all corporate on us. 2003 was the year I first signed on with encouragement from a friend of mine who used the service. At this time, there were not many people on it, but it was a great way to see how the social networking idea worked. Next to Friendster (which sucks now by the way), it was the one of the first sites of it's kind to pull me in.
It became popular rather quickly, pulling in several musicians and more interesting people. I began to learn HTML so that my page could be better than the next person's. I was meeting people from everywhere. I used it for networking and found out about the latest happenings within Manhattan. It was a great tool! I loved it!
Now we fast forward to today - January 16, 2007. What is MySpace? An overcrowded, oversaturated SPAM market. I have honestly thought of deleting even, Every single day...I am bombarded with Bands trying to promote themselves. At first it was cute, but when you have had THOUSANDS try to convince you that they are not like the rest and that you should take a couple minutes out of your day to listen to them....you begin to develop a newly found hatred for "up and coming" bands.
Next we have new social networking websites trying to get your attention. Like I want to be a part of yet ANOTHER site?
I've seen it all....films, books, EVERYTHING on Myspace trying to add me as a friend, or convince me to check them/the product out. It seems I cannot sign on without spam, spam and MORE spam being thrown into my face.
Years ago - no Myspace user had to deal with this...they used it for the simple things. They would not have to sign on and look at their bulletins only to see that some trashy ad company had taken hold of people's accounts and spammed via their bulletin boards.
MySpace is oversaturated and so is every other site that becomes big.
Facebook used to be for college students only. You were required to have a verified college email address in order to register. They opened it up to the public so that they could make more money. Now what do we have? Fake profiles and spamming profiles alike. When will it stop?
Social networking has turned into social spamming if you will. One can only wonder how they can turn such a monstrosity around and gear it back towards its initial purpose.
Another potentially good thing - gone sour.
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