The social media has experienced a massive growth in the recent past. According to Ryan (2011, p. 78), when it started out through social sites like MySpace, many people dismissed it as a platform for gossips that had no serious future in the world of communication. However, this is no longer the case.
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The social media has completely transformed the world of communication. It is one of the fundamental pillars that have helped in transforming the world into a global village. The entry of Facebook, Tweeter, Second Life, and Habbo among others changed the way people viewed the social media.
Currently, over one billion people share information through the social media. They get the news and entertainment through these social sites. In this essay, the researcher will look at the path taken by MySpace as one of the leading social media in the present-day world.
According to Mandiberg (2012, p. 30), there are quite a number of social media that are in active use today. It will be necessary to look at some of them because users around the world, and specifically in the United States, rely on when it comes to sharing information.
Tweeter is one of the leading online social networks in the global society. It allows users to share short text messages (tweets) of about 140 characters. Both the registered and non-registered users can use this social network. Started in the year 2006, Tweeter has experienced a massive growth over the past eight years.
According to Panko and Panko (2014, p. 45), the network has currently about 300 million active users spread around the world. MySpace users posted an average of 341 million tweets a day in 2012, surpassing all the previous records.
Second Life is three-dimensional software that enables the users, also known as the Residents, to interact in an online virtual world. The social network enables the users to develop their own virtual representations, interact with other users, visit places or handle objects in a virtual world.
This site enables users to participate in some group or individual activities. Through this network, an individual can visit a virtual shop, view the needed products in a virtual world, and make payments before the product can be delivered physically. Unlike other social networks, Second Life has age restriction for its users.
The social network has software that restricts children, especially those below 16 years, from accessing materials meant for adult consumption (Mandiberg, 2012). This was meant to fight the temptation among the teenagers to access adult materials.
Habbo is a Finish online social network that largely targets the teenagers (Lüsted 2011, p. 93). The scholar notes that since its inception about 15 years ago, Habbo has grown to become the leading Finish online social network with about 12 online communities in 150 countries across the globe.
About 90 percent of the users of this social network are aged between 13 and 18 years. As FitzGerald and Dennis (2009, p. 91) note, Habbo is all about fun and friendship in an exciting and safe environment. It allows users to meet friends, chat, organize parties, and play various games in a virtual environment.
In the year 2012, it was reported that MySpace registered a growth in the number of active users after several years of consistent decline.
MySpace is a social network that has a strong emphasis on music, headquartered in Beverly Hills. It allows users to share music, videos, and text messages. Non-registered users have access to the videos and music posted publicly, but they cannot post their own videos, music or text messages.
MySpace was once the leading online social network in the world, specifically from 2005 to 2008. However, it was overtaken by other new social networks such as Facebook in the year 2008.
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In 2009, the number of users of this social network started declining rapidly despite the effort of the management to redesign it in order to meet the changing needs in the society.
According to Rosen (2013, p. 70), MySpace significantly influenced pop music and culture. Majority of the users were lovers of pop music. It helped the artist to promote their songs without over relying on the mass media to gain publicity. To the music lovers, MySpace was the site to visit when they were looking for new or old music.
It enabled the artist to interact with their fans in a virtual world. As part of the redesign, MySpace went beyond accommodating the artists. It started accommodating producers, developers, dancers, actors, models, athletes, comedians, bloggers, filmmakers, designers, and photographers among other professionals.
First, one had to be a member of the site before choosing the special skills. This way, it created a community of different professionals. The professionals were offered a platform to advertise themselves. On the other hand, other members had easy access to a team of experts in different fields that they could reach out with ease.
Inasmuch as the classified advertisements had to be paid for, the users could advertise themselves for free by editing their profiles regularly to reflect what the market wants that they can offer. This has made it become popular in the United States among professionals.
As Collier and Magid (2012, p. 58) note, MySpace has redesigned its system to allow users to stream live radios and television shows, share music and videos, interact with friends and share insights. The scholar also notes that MySpace registered a slight growth in the number of its active users in the recent past.
Impact MySpace Has On the Social Life and Activity of People
MySpace, just like many other online social networks, has had a massive impact on the social life and activities of people across the world. As Cimino (2009, p. 82) observes, for the first time in human history, people living in different parts of the world can now interact and share their views in a virtual world without necessarily meeting.
The network has reduced the world into a small global village. Events happening in one part of the world are easily known in the rest of the world through the social network. Meeting new friends has become very easy.
According to Randazza (2010, p. 61), some people have met their life partners through MySpace due to constant virtual interaction that leads to a physical interactions. The following are some of the major areas of people’s lives that MySpace has impacted to a greater extent.
Impact on politics
The global politics has changed to a great extent due to the advancement of the social media such as MySpace. In the past, politicians had to rely on the mass media, especially the television, radios, and print media, to pass their messages. In such contexts, politicians’ ability to communicate with their voters was limited.
While the ruling class found it easy to sell its propaganda in the name of live-coverage development agendas, the opposition could not afford this privilege because they had to pay lots of money to air their views through the media companies. However, this is no longer the case.
Social sites like MySpace have created a world where politicians can communicate easily with their electorates at any time and at no cost. Through MySpace, they can sell their agenda to the public. They can also get to know the views of the electorates based on their responses.
In the presidential elections in 2012, the social media was the main platform through which the candidates sold their political agenda to the public. MySpace played an important role in facilitating the sharing of videos meant to persuade electorates to consider voting in a given pattern (Vincent 2011, p. 114).
Impact on businesses
According to Mandiberg (2012, p. 64), MySpace has transformed the manner in which people do business in the current society. In the past, people relied on the mass media for the purpose of advertisement. This was an expensive venture that small business units could not afford.
However, this is no longer the case thanks to the emergence of the social media. MySpace offers individuals opportunity to advertise themselves and their brands at no cost through their own profiles.
For anyone who wants to put up a commercial advertisement for a given business, MySpace offers this opportunity at a relatively low cost in comparison with other platforms such as mass media. The coverage is huge, and one is guaranteed that the advert will remain online for a considerably long time.
Advertisement is no longer a preserve for large business entities with huge financial capacities. Even small business entities or start-ups can now afford to advertise their presence and their products using MySpace.
Impact on media
MySpace has transformed the media completely. Partridge (2011, p. 78) observes that media was specifically controlled by large media companies in the past. However, it has completely changed with the introduction of MySpace. It became a unique alternative media where every user was given the mandate to be a reporter.
The large media companies were no longer the monopolized when it came to broadcasting any information. This social media platform offered people to share any new information without any restrictions.
Noor and Hendricks (2012, p. 32) say that many people rely rather on the social media than mass media to learn about events taking place around the world.
The Positivity of This Impact
It is often said that MySpace and all other social media platforms have had a positive impact on the lives of people.
However, it is important to note that there are some factors brought about by social media that may be regarded as negative, and invasion of privacy by cybercriminals is top on the list. Zheleva, Terzi and Getoor (2012, p. 85) says that cybercriminals use social media to help them in phishing money from online users.
Some criminal gangs and terrorist are also using the social media to radicalize and recruit people into their gangs. They also rely on the social media to communicate and coordinate their criminal activities. In order to understand the positivity of MySpace, the following issues will be investigated.
Key characteristics of this service
The key characteristic of this service is its emphasis on music. Inasmuch as it is a social network that allows users to share messages, its key characteristic is that its users can share music within the community. This is one of the reasons why it remained popular among the teenagers (Ryan 2011, p. 78).
How the service has grown and evolved since it was first set up
The services offered by MySpace have evolved over time. It started out as a data storage site. However, it was then transformed into a social network in 2002 after a market research revealed that this would be necessary (Obee 2012, p. 63). As it grew, it started introducing new services into its portfolio.
The introduction of music as a key feature was the most important in its evolution process. This invention was later followed by other services such as sharing videos and streaming of television and radio presentations.
Its main sources of income
As mentioned before, MySpace charges no fee to its users. This makes it solely rely on advertisement as its source of revenue. According to Noor and Hendricks (2012), many online social networks rely on advertisements to get revenues.
The company earns impressive profits from the regular adverts that it posts on its website. Large online companies such as Google and YouTube are some of the past customers of MySpace in terms of placing advertisements. Its friendly pricing earned the popularity in the market.
The network traffic it receives
The network traffic that MySpace receives has experienced a varying trend over the past years. Ryan (2011, p. 32) says that in 2010, the traffic of unique U.S. visitors was estimated to be 57.12 mln. However, this number dropped by 44 percent to 37.7 million U.S. visitors in 2011.
It has remained a popular music site and was ranked third most visited music site in 2012. This may be attributed to the effort of the management to maintain a close relationship with the top artists. Their new releases are always available at this site before being made available in mainstream media.
The number of users and how they are spread geographically
The number of users of MySpace went on a decline in 2010 and 2011. In the year 2010, the number of users dropped to 63 million from 95 million users. In the month of January 2011 alone, it lost 10 million users. By March 2011, the number of users had dropped further to less than 40 million.
As Obee (2012, p. 37) observes, this firm did not have a wide recognition outside the United States despite its massive effort to expand its operations globally. Its international market was less than 20 percent the total revenue flow at this firm.
The use of cloud computing
The online social networks offer a virtual environment that enables people to share and interact. For this to happen there must be an infrastructure and a network architecture that facilitates the interaction and sharing. MySpace is one of the social networks that use cloud computing technology.
The amount of data shared between the users and the traffic itself can be so heavy that it may not be supported by some servers. The customer may not tolerate slow speeds or constant collapse of the server. This made it necessary for MySpace to embrace cloud computing technology to support the heavy data traffic.
Cloud computing technology not only supports the huge data transfer at this website but it also makes it possible for the users to store their data in their own accounts.
Security and Privacy Issues Involved With Using This Service
One of the biggest concerns of the users of online media platforms is the issue of security. Some information that people share through these sites is very sensitive. Some information is so private that one may be willing to do everything within his or her powers in order to remain private.
However, there are cases where the privacy is breached. According to Zheleva, Terzi and Getoor (2012, p. 56), MySpace has been praised as one of the most secure social sites, beating the industry leaders such as Facebook.
For instance, it has a security system that defines the materials to be viewed on a specific Day of the week, those meant for the adults only, and materials that can be accessed by everyone. Social media remains a nightmare for parents as far as the morality of their children is concerned.
The content that children below the age of 18 can access and the people with whom they interact is completely misleading. Many parents have given up the fight to regulate the content that their children access in the social media. It is not easy to win such wars as long as a child can have access to the internet.
MySpace came up with a solution that is a relief to many parents. Its security systems completely bar the use of the site by children below the age of 12 years. Those teenagers who are between 13 and 17 may have access to this social media only when they are at school where their online activities can be monitored and controlled.
It means that the parents do not have to worry about the content that their children accessed.
MySpace has invested heavily in protecting the security of its users. It is one of the online social network sites that is least hacked by cyber criminals. This is meant to ensure that people do not get spammed by photos they consider offensive.
Before they can access such graphics, there is always a warning and an option to proceed to view such photos or access other media or stop the process. This way, such issues as embarrassment of accessing inappropriate graphics are eliminated in time.
Steps one can take to protect self while using this service
MySpace has put up structures and systems to protect its clients. However, the clients also have a responsibility to protect themselves. The first step through which a user can protect his security is to have a strong password. The password should not be revealed to anyone in order to ensure that there is a total privacy.
The password should be changed regularly to ensure that individuals with ulterior motives do not gain access in case they can make the correct password guess. A user should also avoid signing into the website using devices owned by other individuals.
Some devices can automatically remember such password, putting an individual’s privacy at jeopardy. These steps may help one to enhance personal security and privacy when using MySpace.
MySpace is one of the major online social networks in the current global society. It was once the largest online social network in the world, but was overtaken by other social networks because of its slow ability to manage the emerging technologies.
The recent redesign of the network’s infrastructure and architecture turned out to be beneficial as the firm recently registered a slight increase in the number of its active users.
List of References
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