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Online predators and moral panics June 11, 2008

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Arto, Internet Safety, Moral panic, MySpace, News media.

The past couple of weeks the Danish social network site for teenagers, Arto, has repeatedly appeared in the news media. This is due to the fact that a journalist from the Danish tabloid newspaper Ekstra Bladet created a false profile on Arto where she pretended to be a 13 year old girl and got into contact with a number of older men. During a year the undercover journalist communicated through MSN Messenger with four older men (from the age of 35 – 72) who all had a keen interest in meeting the girl IRL. The correspondence between the men and the apparent 13 year old girl had many sexual undertones and some of the men openly indicated that they wanted to have sex with, what they believed was, the 13 year old girl.

When the physical meetings were finally arranged the news paper revealed the truth and the following days they published a number of articles where they – one by one and with video documentation – exposed the men as predators and child molesters.

We have previously seen similar stories in the Danish news media, and the purpose of this blog post is not to comment on these specific news stories, which are part of the ongoing moral panic, which I commented on in an article I wrote in October 2006. However, the public debate that follows sensational cases like these is interesting. (more…)

The digital generation gap: A classic example May 3, 2007

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Generation gap, MySpace, Social networking sites.

Is there really a huge generation gap between youngsters and their parents when it comes to new media? I’m not sure. However, many parents seem to have a hard time understanding their children’s use of new social media and especially social networking sites.

On Carolyn Shelby’s blog I just read a classic example of this. A parent who is in no way up-to-date with MySpace where his step-daughter has created a profile. The father is worried because an old pervert is trying to pick up his daughter:

“It’s some guy named Tom, and his profile says he’s 31.”

Read the post and find out who the old pervert is here 🙂

The meaning of a friendship? March 9, 2007

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Arto, Friendship, MySpace, Social Networking, Social networking sites.

Concurrently with social networking sites and services becoming increasingly popular the notion of ‘friendship’ is changing.2007-03-07_151952.png Many of the large social networking sites like MySpace, Bebo, Friendster, Facebook and Arto are using the friendship metaphor in relation to the contactvenner.jpg lists. This means that the word ‘friendship’ has a new meaning online and rings more hollow than in its original sense.

Even though you have to be accepted as a friend from the other part, it is quite easy to collect many friends (since almost everyone wants a high number of friends). As a result young people often have more than 100 ‘friends’ on their friend lists. Then, what do they do when they want to signal who their actual or ‘real’ friends are? (more…)

FakeYourSpace In Real Life Troubles March 7, 2007

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Fakers, Friendship, MySpace, Social Networking, Social networking sites.

It seems that FakeYourSpace – a website that provides fake friends for social networking sites – has shut down.
A blog on social networks reports today that the site has some legal problems:

FakeYourSpace Facing Very Real Problems

FakeYourSpace shut down today, citing “legal problems”. The specifics weren’t mentioned, but we know that iStockPhoto had contacted the company regarding the misuse of model’s images, and it also seemed that FakeYourSpace might be against the terms and conditions of those social networks.

It seems that the problem is that the models the site offers as fake friends are in fact real people 🙂 Read the rest of the post here.

I was wondering where the site had gone. A few days ago I noticed that it was no longer to be found on the URL www.fakeyourspace.com.

Fake your space with fake friends February 28, 2007

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Arto, Fakers, Friendship, MySpace, Social Networking, Web 2.0, Youth Culture.

Last year I read a post on Michael Zimmer’s blog about a new social networking service called Fake Your Space that offers purchase of fake and hot friends for MySpace profiles in order to seem popular. Yesterday the Danish online magazine Computerworld.dk spotted the website and wrote an article about it. Today I was interviewed by the Danish radio P3 (P3 Nyheder) and the newspaper dato about what I think of the service and why friends are so important on social networking sites.fakeyourspace.com

First of all, I think that the profiles the site offers are so clearly fake and model like that other users would probably be sceptical of the users who have bought the fakers and listed them as friends. Also, other people’s friend lists are often used to find new friends. What happens when someone tries to add one of the fakers to their own profile? (more…)

Social Networking Fatigue February 20, 2007

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in MySpace, Social Networking, Web 2.0.

Day by day more and more social networking sites are emerging and it can be really difficult to keep up with them all, not least to keep your different profiles and networks up-to-date. Recently, I stumbled across the term “social networking fatigue” which signifies the:

Mental exhaustion and stress caused by creating and maintaining an excessive number of accounts on social networking sites.

Read more about that term here.

However, it seems that there is now a solution to that problem. Yesterday my colleague Thomas Ryberg told me about a new kind of social networking service, Explode, that makes it possible to connect to all your friends without signing up to the many different sites that they use. Thomas writes about the service:

I guess one could call it a meta-social networking site – as it is not as such a social networking site itself, but can aggregate your friends across different sites and have them displayed anywhere you want […] – no more see my Myspace contacts here, see my bloglogcommunity here, see my 100 other networks here …I think that’s quite clever…

Read more about this at Thomas’ blog and explore Explode here.