After reading an article in Vanity Fair last month called “Will Success Spoil MySpace?” [who knew that Rupert Murdoch had purchased the company!?] and constantly hearing on the local news that schools are banning students from accessing MySpace from school computers, I began to wonder whether or not this will have an effect on my requiring college freshman to blog. I don’t ask them to write anything personal or even post their name on a profile [the Blog@USF server doesn’t even prompt one for that information], but it surprised me that so many of my students resisted talking about their computer usage in a paper on technological literacy and have not taken to blogging when they are all over Facebook and MySpace. They love/hate those sites and that fascinates me. I wish I could have been at the Blog SIG, but I am happy to see someone has responded to my comment on Clancy’s post. I have not explicity asked my students to explain this anomaly to me but hope that their critical readings of the Vanity Fair article will bring some insight to the table.
I’ve also asked them to consider the followin when composing their response:
Knowing that your instructor is a blogger and proponent of technological literary but does not have a MySpace account, would you say that she is missing out on something? In your response, use what you learned from the article as well as your experience with the site or lack thereof to make an argument for or against her joining the social-networking bandwagon.
I have a feeling I might join one day to see what the fuss is all about or just to be able to comment on friends’ MySpace blogs, but so far I am refusing.
After seeing Dateline tonight and its story on MySpace, I can only wonder what the effect will be to public writing assignments. I doubt these exposes will scare us away from blogging or social networking, for as my students will tell you, they only joined the sites to keep in touch with existing friends instead of make new ones, but you never know. Parents who read Internet Safety sites like this one might issue complaints about student required internet activity and that might lead to all sorts of new restrictions and possible violations to the First Amendment.
Who knows, but I think it is a interesting topic to discuss further.
EDITED to include this Newsweek article on how the cops are using MySpace.