My Space Vs. Gawker Stalker

It never ceases to amaze me how people can take a pretty good thing and twist it and turn it and trash it till its something other than what it was originally intended to be. I would hate to see that happen in the case of My Space and Gawker Stalker, two very interesting pop culture driven websites.

My Space dot com has been getting a lot of network air time of late with several spots devoted to inadequately supervised teens naively laying out a road map to their front doors for the estimated tens of thousands of pedophiles trolling the internet.

The good news is that government, law enforcement and many parents are now responding to the alarm and My Space management is showing sincere signs of compliance stating that they have already deleted hundreds of thousands of subscribers suspected of being under the required age of 18. An excellent start.

My Space started out as a free file sharing firm and has grown to the world’s 5th most popular English-speaking website and was bought in July 2005 for $580 million by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation the parent company of Fox Broadcasting.

Finally a large portion of My Space evolved into an open planes virtual schoolyard with no eagle-eyed principal patrolling landscape. When the cat’s away, the mice will play. Lacking sufficient restraints, free to emulate pervasive high profile sexuality and hedonism, many teens have stepped right up to the pornographic threshold and many have definitely crossed the line of public decency and personal safety.

The phenomenon of adolescent angst has probably always been with us. At the heart of it is the healthy natural drive to establish one’s own identity and carve out one’s own space while at the same time feeling a part of a larger whole. For whatever the evolutionary reason, teens appear to be more susceptible to this than any other age group. (An interesting side note: This very same rebellious teen-aged behavior has been documented in a species of large Australian crows.) It’s universal, but of course culture will modify its expression. The American version really took flight in the fifties, exploded in the Viet Nam era sixties, turned into rage in the 70’s and 80’s and then settled in to seething sexuality since the 90’s on. What a stage for the emergence of a wild-wild-west open forum the likes MY Space just primed for abuse.

I will go on record saying that I think My Space is a great thing. I imagine that if my generation had access to the same degree of expansive coast-to-coast intercommunications we would have been just as excited and involved. But even in a nation who prides itself on its history of freedom of expression, it is more than obvious that additional safeguards and controls need to be installed. I for one think it primarily falls on the shoulders of the parents, but that certainly doesn’t allow room for complacency on the part of government, law enforcement and corporate management especially in light of the fact that technology is advancing at such a rapid pace that access outside the home is becoming more and more prevalent.

And then came along Gawker Stalker dot com.

Many feel that celebrities want to have it both ways. They feel that celebrities want the public to scarp up ten times what a movie ticket cost less than a generation ago, want people to pay hundreds of dollars for concert tickets that cost $10 to $20 dollars not long ago and subsidize multi-million dollar celebrity salaries that are financed by multi-million dollar advertising budgets which fizzle down to us in the form of higher priced consumer goods, but want to turn the tables and have us to ‘talk to the hand’ on that rare occasion when they are off duty and happened upon at street level.

Gawker Stalker dot com does not yield the secrets of its origins easily, but, although not enjoying the stature of My Space, is a very popular site. Especially in New York. Which is why perhaps a word of caution is not such a bad thing.

I have to admit that I’m just as fascinated with celebrious royalty as the next guy. I love following the accomplishments of my favorite stars like Charleze Theron, Anthony Hopkins, Johnny Depp and Billy Bob Thornton. And I also enjoy a good laugh at the expense of those whom I consider oceans more lucky than talented such as Britney Spears and Paris Hilton whose fopahs and hype keep them employed and in the limelight more than do their artistic accomplishments. We are all awestruck by the beauty, the money, the homes, the clothes, the cars, the bling, the travelâÂ?¦

But considering the tragic incidences of John Lennon 1980, Princess Dianna 1997 and the bizzaro John Hinckley-Jodie Foster-President Ronald Reagan love triangle of 1981, should we not ask ourselves is there a line where harmless curiosity leaves off and reckless endangerment begins?

With the exception of specific times of day, I think most comments on Gawker Stalker are rather intriguing and (more-or-less)appropriate but the following two examples are more than a little bit on the scary side:
LAGUARDIA PL AT WASHINGTON SQ S
Apr 10th, 2006 @ 11am
Apr 10th 11:30am I just saw Quentin Tarantino walking through Washington Square Park with someone, drinking Starbucks. Tried to follow to see what they were talking about but I think it became a little obvious so I turned around. Thanks
754 5TH AVE
Apr 10th, 2006 @ 5pm
Robin Givens on her cell phone in the chanel dept of bergdorfs: “I was calling to invite you to my play even though you think it sucks”.
Okay, so are we not being encouraged to encraoch closer and closer, to be more and more daring, to publicize more and more information?
How long would it take to put together a profile of who(s) and when(s) and where(s) of, not only adult, celebrities, but the events, activities and locations involving celebrity children. Katie Couric may have made an understement when she described Gawker Stalker as ‘a lawsuit just waitng to happen’.
Let’s certainly hope not anything worse.
I think that both My Space and Gawker Stalker offer venues that can be very interesting and a lot of fun. I also think excercising a higher degree of foresight and restraint would be beneficial all involded. Those who view the services, those who are featured on the services and those who are charged with guarding our freedoms and our safety.

Related:

MySpace Page Puts Teacher Back In Jail
Woman convicted of sex with student, 13, arrested for probation violation
AP Associated Press
Updated: 6:02 p.m. ET April 12, 2006
McMINNVILLE, Tenn. – A former elementary school teacher who spent six months in jail for having sex with a 13-year-old student was arrested againâÂ?¦
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12289591/?GT1=7938

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