Soooo MySpace it hurts

Next time you sign in, ask yourself if your 14,349,082 cyber-friends really matter as much as your real-life friends.

Katharine Hargreaves

As a University student I can’t walk three feet without being reminded that I’m “Driven to Discover.” Never mind the fact that I’m really only here to discover the free keg beer and the secret underground dragon dungeon – apparently I have some burning questions on my mind.

The only thing is, I’m not all that curious about what my dog thinks, nor am I that driven to discover what happiness is made of – I’m just excited to find it hiding in the bottom of my ice cream dish, you know? I’m certainly thrilled that someone is out there pushing the limits of knowledge, but in the end I’d rather concern myself with questions that have answers -which brings me to MySpace.

As a service used by millions of people – but predominantly 15-year-old girls – MySpace does offer certain benefits. People are more connected than ever before, the age of the Internet gives people across the globe the opportunity to stay in touch with far-flung friends, discover new ones and most importantly, broaden the spectrum (and amount) of individuals they let into their lives. This is all well and good of course, and some might argue that MySpace has helped create friendships where none would previously have happened.

Yet, as an interface and not a living, breathing human being, MySpace does have its pitfalls – and they are many. However, the one that concerns me the most is the fact that as a society, we have replaced the true intimacy of actual friendships with the false familiarity of cyber-reality. We construct our identities using surveys that tell others nothing except our preference for coffee over tea (but only mochas!!!! Lol! I Or what about Tila Tequila? Does having her as No. 1 on your friends list mean that – like your actual best friend who’s not even in your top eight – she’ll come over with some Ben & Jerry’s and listen to you cry when you discover that the hot girl you were MySpace friends with was really a dude?

My next question is: As someone who is part of the system, am I really allowed to critique it? Granted, I do use MySpace and honestly, I’ve come across some authentic, truly interesting individuals who I consider friends. At the same time, my “friends” online are no substitute for my friends in real life – and I allot my time, energy and affections accordingly.

With a school attendance of close to 50,000, I wonder why people don’t talk to each other more in class. If we’re so willing to post naked user pictures on a Web site frequented by millions of strangers, creeps and potential employers, why are we so afraid to sit by the people we’re dying to approach in lecture? If you ask me, we’re putting our effort and energy towards the wrong things.

I’m not saying delete your MySpace. However, next time you sign in, maybe ask yourself if your 14,349,082 cyber-friends really matter as much as the ones in real life. Keep in mind that Tila Tequila unfortunately won’t be the one passing notes with you in class or holding your hair back after a long night – after all, she’ll be too busy showing her boobs to the rest of her best friends.

Kat Hargreaves welcomes comments at [email protected]