What is MySpace?

Myspace is an interactive networked web community for just about anyone who wishes to get in contact with old friends, family, coworkers, or new people. Currently, Myspace has a staggering 75 million, and counting, subscribers all over the world! It’s a great way to connect with new people, or just to keep tabs on life events of friends and family that you may not see very often. You can also use Myspace to watch movie clips, hear new music, and get information about locally promoted events.

Here is how it works:
1. How do I register for a Myspace account? – Set up an account at www.myspace.com. It’s free and relatively simple. You will be required to input information such as name, (keep in mind, this information will be searchable to other users, so if you don’t want anyone to be able to find you by name, use an alias!), age, location, gender, and e-mail address.

2. What information is displayed on a Myspace page? – Myspace can be as private or public as you want it to be. You can upload photos (of an appropriate nature ONLY), leave and receive messages for friends, display movie and audio clips, and create blogs – a blog is a shortened term for “weblog”, which can be anything from a short story or piece of fiction to an everyday account of what you do in your life. You can make your profile public for all to see, or you can make it private so that only the people you specifically invite can have access to your profile.

3. What does a Myspace profile look like? – The profiles themselves are rather simple. The right hand side of the page displays your photo (if you choose to display one, if not this section is blank), your name which can wither be your actual given name or an alias you create (ex: Shoegirl, or Johnny Rotten), your age, and your location. You can also elect to include such information as your occupation, income level, relationship status, zodiac sign, social preferences, and other such information.

4. Can I customize my Myspace page? – Myspace is easy to customize. As you navigate your way through people’s pages, you’ll notice that many people will add graphics, colorful backgrounds, and music to their pages. This is not mandatory, but adds a fun and interesting touch to make your page more personalized. Since everyone is not an HTML genius, there are several helpful sites that offer pre-made layouts for Myspace. You can either use a websearch engine like Google or Yahoo and type in “Myspace layouts”, or visit sites like createblog.com for layouts. Once you have located a premade layout that you like, simple cut and paste the codes into the “About Me” section of your Myspace page. Remember to click “submit” after previewing the layout on your Myspace or the changes will not take effect. You can change the layouts as often as you wish.

5. How do I add friends to my Myspace? – There are several easy ways to do so. At the top of every Myspace page is a link that says “Search”. When you click this, several search options become available. In the “Find a Friend” box, you can search for people by actual given name (first and last), their display name (Shoegirl, Johnny Rotten), or by e-mail address. You may also search by schools that you have attended, as many people will list what schools they are alumni of. Also, when you click the “Home” link at the top of the page, and scroll down to the bottom, Myspace also gives you the option of transferring your electronic address book and instant messenger information from Yahoo, AOL, Gmail, and Hotmail into Myspace. Quite simply, it transfers e-mail addresses and instant messenger ID’s into it’s search engine to help you find people you already know. This way, you can search for friends and family that have made Myspace pages.

6. How do I keep things private on Myspace? – I cannot stress how important it is to maintain safety on the Internet. Yes, it is fun to make new friends, but not everyone out there has friendly intentions, so never give out any personal information (phone number, workplace or school information, address, phone number, etc.) to strangers. If you want your Myspace profile to be visible ONLY to the friends whom you invite or have invited you, there is a very simple way to do this. Log in to your Myspace account and click “Edit Profile”. Click the “Basic Info” tab, and then click the red “EDIT” button. The next page that comes up allows you to change information such as birth date, location, ethnicity, etc. In the drop down menu next to Date of Birth, simply change the birth year so that your age would be that of a 14 year old. This function was designed to protect young people from online predators, and it is a fast and easy way to seal your profile off to anyone who has not been invited to join your friend group.

Overall, Myspace is a fun and creative way to express yourself, make connections with other people, and learn a little bit about web design in the process.

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