The MySpace Phenomenon These days it seems like anyone who is anyone is on MySpace. In a short time MySpace has literally exploded from just a few members to millions of members around the world. This astounding phenomenon has made MySpace one of the most popular websites around and a virtual necessity for those who want to make friends through an online community or find old friends with whom they have lost contact. It has become one of the first places many Internet users turn when they want to learn more about someone in particular or make new friends. A few years ago the term, ?Google it? became synonymous for the practice of using a search engine to find more information about a particular person or subject. Internet users were using the term ?Google it? even when they were using different search engines because the name Google had been branded so well it became somewhat of a generic term for search engine. MySpace is well on its way to becoming the brand synonymous with online communities. Although there are other websites which offer similar services, MySpace is quickly becoming the most dominant one. Who is On MySpace? The answer to this question is just about everyone. While this answer is not nearly true it is also very appropriate. It is not nearly true because in terms of factual evidence, despite the large number of MySpace members, there are still many more people in the world who do not participate in the MySpace online community. However, an answer of everyone to this question is also fitting because individuals from different cultures around the world and different age groups are all using MySpace. Unlike online message boards and discussion forums where members are usually somewhat similar and share a particular interest, there are members who are vastly different in the MySpace community. MySpace members represent just about all nationalities, sexual orientations, financial levels, occupations, political beliefs, religions and other variables. While it is true that members who are vastly different may not be interacting to a tremendous extent on MySpace there is certainly representation from all walks of life on MySpace. MySpace Lurkers We have already discussed the extent of members on MySpace but the MySpace community is really much larger than the membership of the website. It is important to note that members? websites are viewable to the public unless they are specifically designated as private websites. This means many members? websites can be viewed by those who do not join MySpace. These individuals are known as lurkers and they effectively increase the size of the community by an immeasurable number. Lurkers may be completely harmless individuals who are just looking to read about others but who have no interest in sharing their own personal information or they can be predators. The latter is more serious because these lurkers can use the information they find on MySpace to stalk or otherwise harass members of their own community. Many members of MySpace include both pictures and their hometown on their MySpace profile. This information can be used, by unscrupulous predators, to gather more information about the individual. For this reason care should always be used when posting information on MySpace. Why Aren?t You on MySpace? If you aren?t on MySpace, many of your friends may wonder why especially if they use this community. In fact many members of MySpace join simply as a way to have fun and keep in touch with their friends and relatives. However, there are number of reasons some individuals may not join MySpace. For many time constraints is a significant factor which leads them to avoid joining MySpace. MySpace can become somewhat addicting with members spending increasing amounts of time updating their website or searching for new friends in the community. Others may not participate in MySpace because they find some websites in the community to be offensive. There are guidelines regarding the types of materials which can be posted on MySpace but there is always the potential for questionable materials to escape the attention of the MySpace administrators. There is also the possibility that members will be offended by content that is permissible.