Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Whose Space? My Space!

Melanie Lynne Hauser, writer buddy, just dropped me a note to let me know her publisher suggested she open a www.MySpace.com account.

Not wanting to be left out of a hot new trend that all the kids are doing and has been featured on TV, I signed up for an account of my own.

I quickly learned three very important things:
  1. There are a lot of people in the world with too much free time.
  2. Cyberstalking has become a whole lot easier.
  3. I have no friends.

Well, actually, I have two friends. One is Mel, and the other it Tom, the guy who invented MySpace.com. who automatically becomes your friend when you sign up.

Tom seemed nice, but I deleted him to make room for the hordes of JA Fans waiting to sign up to see my pictures and videos and read my MySpace Blog. It doesn't matter that the pictures and videos are already available on my website, or that my MySpace Blog is simply a link to this one. What matters is that there are 77 million people on MySpace, and I want a piece of that.

So I turn to you, my loyal blog readers. Do you want to be my MySpace Friend?

If you already have a MySpace account, visit my page at http://www.myspace.com/jakonrath and become my friend. Possibly even my Best Friend Forever. Then I'll do the same. Won't that be cool?

If you don't have a MySpace account, what the hell are you waiting for? It's free, takes about ten minutes to set up, and puts you in touch with like-minded people in a close, intimate way that doesn't involve actually ever meeting them in person.

This is the future, whether you like it or not. Get with the program, deadbeat, and make some damn friends.

While you're there, also become Mel's friend. She's lonely.


JA Konrath said...

On further reflection, I couldn't delete Tom.

Fake friends are better than no friends, right?

JA Konrath said...

I don't mean to be a braggart, but now I have FIVE friends. They are dear to me, and I'd gladly take a bullet for any of them.

I love my friends.

Even Tom.

Michelle Rowen said...

I had a My Space account for about five minutes until I found it really creepy and deleted it. It just had that singles bar vibe. And that's only good when I'm drinking heavily.

JA Konrath said...

Creepy? Really?

Are you saying I should ignore this friend invitation?


My question is: Do his parents know?

Christine said...

Yikes. I already have three blog accounts, two are mirrors and one is this one, where if you click on my name, you'll get a link to the other two.

Maybe once school lets out I'll do it.

Sandra Ruttan said...

What happened to just hanging out with the voices in your head?

But if I join myspace and you join myspace how can it be both our space? If it's myspace it can't be yourspace.

I'm confused. What else isn't new?

Mindy Tarquini said...

Okay, who can tell me how to change the email address? I'm finding MySpace creepy also and I realize I shouldn't have used my main email address. which is relatively spam free. As lovely people as I find Melanie and Joe, I may be going for the delete also and stick to blog links.

Um...why are we all doing this again?

thewriterslife said...

LOL, I haven't joined MySpace...it's the same as Blogspot, isn't it? I've got a lot invested in my blog on Blogspot, but will go check the other out. Oh hell, okay, I'll check it out...

Anonymous said...

I have no idea why I'm doing this, except that my editor was really eager for me to do so, citing some author of theirs who had, like, 600 friends or something, and whose book did very well. And they seem to think that My Space had something to do with it.

Personally, I'm skeptical that ANYTHING on the Internet can take the place of a publisher really going all out for a book. Like, you know - spending money & time to make sure readers & booksellers know about it. It seems to me that everyone in publishing is telling us to do these things - blogs, group blogs, mass blogs, Amazon plogs, My Space - because they don't want to take responsibility for books not reaching their audiences, due to the usual lack of marketing/publicity. Or perhaps, because they really don't know what works anymore, are faced with a dwindling readership, and are grasping at straws hoping SOMETHING will work.

But yeah, I'll keep trying it. Although since I'm going to be away from the Internet for a few days, perhaps today wasn't the best day to open the account!

Tom, though, is a little creepy.

Anonymous said...

M.G., you can change your email address by going to "account settings" on your profile.

JA Konrath said...

What I don't understand is how and why seven tweens with gangsta music on their pages invited me to be friends within the last hour.

Are they asking everybody? Or am I just lucky?

Or iz I da Evil, fashizzle?

Mindy Tarquini said...

NOBODY except you and Melanie have told me they are my friend,Joe. No invitations from anybody, although Melanie has a friend named Paul who has no photo and when I clicked to him I got a blank page with scary music.

Thanks, Melanie - I changed my email address. I guess I get the publisher's idea, especially if you're writing YA stuff. Ally Carter has a million friends, but she's also cracking her gum on her bio! So maybe it's a target market thing?

MySpace is that place where all the internet pedophilic predators hang out, or at least, the recent ones that have been busted.

Also - I changed my birth year to make myself even younger. It's too bizarre to have my age up there. I'm going to make myself 28 and skinny.

Anonymous said...

I was just invited to join a dating/singles group. I wonder how my husband will feel about that? (And do they even read the profiles? Because I definitely said I was married on mine.)

I do think that more mothers - a demographic I hope will want to read my books - are joining, as a way to try to keep track of their teens. So perhaps I can figure out a way to reach them there.

Allison Brennan said...

Joe, Joe, Joe . . . I can't make myself open a MySpace account. I've done too much research on cyberstalking and sexual predators on-line. But I'm sure you'll have lots of friends soon :)

Rob Gregory Browne said...

Well, I was thinking about getting an account, but now I'm not so sure...

JA Konrath said...

It's too bizarre to have my age up there. I'm going to make myself 28 and skinny.

If you really want some male attention, make yourself 9.

I wouldn't let my kids have a MySpace account. I don't see any real benefits, but lots of possible problems.

That said, this has a cult vibe to it. I've been invited to be friends with 19 people so far, but I only know a handful of them. The rest seem to be just looking for attention.

The advantage to this could be that it's the most viral form of internetting I've ever seen.

I'm going to surf it a while, see where it leads.

Beth Ciotta said...

Sorry. I totally agree with Michelle Rowen. I signed on because two young fans/readers encouraged me to do so. All of a sudden weird, sexual ads/come-ons started to appear. Then I noticed the very intimate questions they asked in the profile section. Like Michelle, I got the singles bar vibe. No, thank you. DELETE. Call me un-hip, old-fashined, whatever. My Space isn't for me.

Jude Hardin said...

My son (13) has a myspace account. I don't approve, yet I don't see that forbidding it would solve anything. He's a great kid, makes good grades, and hasn't caused us any problems so far.

It's the age we live in, folks.

Our kids are much more sophisticated and knowledgeable of worldy matters than we were at their age. As long as they're level-headed and know to watch for the predators, I think it's okay for them to communicate in their own way.

The key is to openly communicate with your kids and make them aware of the dangers that lurk. That's the best we can do as parents.

I think myspace can be good if it opens channels to parents and their kids to discuss the creeps that live on the fringes of our society.

Our kids are going to sneak and do things we don't know about (didn't we all at that age?). But if we've taught them well, they'll know when to say NO; and, even the kids in the farthest rural areas will be streetwise to the scum.

I'm not saying you should allow your kids to have an account, Joe. That's your decision. The thing is, if they want one they'll probably go behind your back and have it anyway. Just make them aware that the Gingerbread Man is out there, and to avoid him at all costs.

Anonymous said...

I have a good friend that swears by MySpace. Then again, he's 39, divorced and now dating a 20 year old. (She says she's 20 anyway).

JA Konrath said...

I now have 15 friends, and I added some bumpin' music to my scene, dog.

As long as you talk with your kids, and have an idea what they're doing, I don't see any problems with MySpace.

But I do see a business opportunity here. Someone needs to hire himself out to parents to check to see how safe their children are online.

For example, Mom gives her child's info to a Net Detctive, and he engages the kid on MySpace, trying to get him to give up his address, meet in real life, etc.

That would be a pretty valuable service, and an interesting premise for a book.

On another note, I've decided to become a cyberstalker, because it seems a lot easier than actually getting out of the house and following someone around all day.

I haven't decided whom I'm stalking yet. All I know is it won't be Mindy, because according to her MySpace account she's waaaaaaay too old.

Mindy Tarquini said...

Heh. I'm lying on my MySpace account. I'm way older than that. I'm so damned old that I don't know what I'm doing with kids as young as they are.

I'm not getting invited to singles groups because I'm too old. I have to make myself younger to get any of that good porn/pervert action.

I visited your page, Joe, and got an MP3 downoaded for my trouble.

Buddy Gott said...

Joe, at the risk of not being able to become your friend, I'm going to pass on the whole My Space thing.

It's just too trendy for me. Plus, like everyone's saying, it seems to be mainly for kids and twentysomethings.

I'm hip enough to hang with them for awhile...but I know I'd lose cool points as soon as I started raving about things like all the Journey concerts I went to in the 80's.

I think you should start up your own similar site and call it JOE'S SPACE! (With the exclamation point. It would look extra-cool that way.)

I'd sign up for that one.

Mindy Tarquini said...

Okay, well, now I'm 31 and I have music. With that, I think my career at MySpace is finishedbecause... let's face it, the place is weird. How'd you get your template to change?

Back to work.

Anonymous said...

I have one and plan on doing some stuff with it as soon as I find some time, but then again my two books coming out this summer do have a sexual theme.

Like anything else, it can be a marketing tool. Think of it like a mini web- the same way you'd search the web looking for places/people to connect to - you roam MySpace.com.

Just one more thing to take us away from our main job - writing.

Naomi said...

I joined myspace in order to keep up with some university friends... then discovered an ex-boyfriend using a picture of me on his page with a very dubious caption underneath it. (The picture itself isn't dubious, thankfully).

gugon said...

Whoa, I'm creeped out just reading the comments here.

From what I've heard, many My Space users simply collect "friends" - the more friends you collect, the more status you have.

It's all I can do to keep up with my blog, and the few that I read regularly. The last thing I need is one more web place to maintain.

Can someone explain - since I'm a technology idiot - what exactly would be the benefit for people like us to have a MySpace account? Is it just basically an ad for your main blog?

So let's say you collect 500 friends. Are any of those gansta-metal-heads, sexual predators and body piercing enthusiasts actually going to come here and read your main blog? Once they add you to their friends list, are they ever going to look in your direction again?

I'm not being sarcastic or negative - if there is a true benefit, I would like for someone to explain exactly how it works (explain as if you're talking to a third grader please).

If it will somehow bring more traffic to my blog without sucking up too much time, I will sign up in a heartbeat.

Anonymous said...

It's funny - last year, before my book came out, it was all about the blog. I had to have a blog, my publisher told me. Blogs were the future.

A year later, now it's group blogs. You should start a group blog, my publisher told me. You know all these women's fiction authors - group blogs are the future. And, of course - My Space.

Wonder what it will be next year?

JA Konrath said...

Wonder what it will be next year?

Writing a good book.

JA Konrath said...

You'll be pleased to learn that I've picked my stalkeee, an it's... Tom, the guy who invented MySpace.

After a bit of snoopping, I've discovered that Tom has so many friends, he has automated repsonses for when they contact him. Innocuous stuff like, "I'm chillin', what's up with you?" and "Hey! What's going on?"

Like those old DOS computer counselling programs, which would simply ask you questions based on your last response.

"Interesting. So why do you want to break into my house and sniff all of my underwear?"

Maybe my stalkign will be just the publicity he needs to get this MySpace thing off the ground.

Anonymous said...

The criminal aspects of MySpace.com could make a great addition to one of your future novels. I know someone in law enforcement that does presentations to schools and parents' groups on the dangers of MySpace and the damage it can do to a young person's future. So, when some posts pictures of you in compromising positions and reveal the TRUE DARK SIDE of JA Konrath, you can just claim you were doing research.


JA Konrath said...

MP3s and templates: I deserve kudos for resisting the urge to have my MySpace page play "In Da Club" by 50 Cent instead of the Kill Bill theme.

Though I still reserve the right to party, like it's my birthday.

Embedding MP3s isn't hard. Templates are even easier, if you want to change your page look. Just Google the keywords "Myspace free templates"

Now back to my bottle full of bub...

JA Konrath said...

BTW-- I now have 24 friends, and only two of them a gangstas.

But I look at some other authors, and they have thousands of friends.

I burn with envy. Burn, I say.

On a positive note, I searched for myself, and found a few fans who read my books, so it was fun to invite them to be friends and have them go, "Wow! It's you! I loved Salem's Lot!"

Flood said...

So many people have MySpace accounts now, that news articles and obituaries are scanned for names to see if the deceased had one.

A whole website is dedicated to it.

Anonymous said...

I briefly looked into the MySpace thing, but - as some others have mentioned - it had sort of a dating scene vibe going on. Not my thing. Instead I set up a LiveJournal account (www.livejournal.com). Still has friends lists and all that stuff, but without the "hey, baby, what's your sign" feel to it.

**** Funny story along the Salem's Lot line: Michael Palin was hiking in a remote area, and crossed paths with a couple of middle-aged American women. Both fawned over him for a few minutes, then the groups went their separate ways. Palin heard one whisper to the other, "Wow, that was Eric Idle!"

Mindy Tarquini said...

Whoa. Flood. I checked out the death blog and clicked through to the most recent death. His myspace said he was online now.
That is one very sad site.

Flood said...

It's something to keep in mind as you post on MySpace, I guess. If some misfortune befalls you, you would hate to have your last entry reading,
"Yeah, so then we TOTALLY kicked it with 17 bongs AND some crystal meth. I got so #@$%ed up I couldn't see! LOLROFLBBQ Good times, yo! My heart feel kinda funny tho, for realz. ps. My mom just want to KILL the party. Don't she know I am all up in the CRUNK and shit? LOLLMAOIBM"

JA Konrath said...

You gotta delete Tom. Only losers have Tom in their top eight.

How dare you say that about my close personal best friend Tom! He's stood by me through it all, and has always been there for me.

I'll never abandon him! Never!

Jude Hardin said...

Tom likes me WAY better than he likes you, Ja.

Mindy Tarquini said...

I'm with Joe. Tom made me feel wanted and welcome for that whole 30 minutes before Joe and Melanie added me. You can't BUY that kind of friendship.

A realtor in Arizona just asked to be my friend. He'd like me to use him if I buy a home, or sell a home, or if I just want to buy land, or an apartment building. Brings a tear to my eye to know how selflessly he searched me out, concerned about all my real estate investment needs.

I've just never had anybody CARE quite so much.

s.w. vaughn said...

I love my friend Tom too. He's my only friend because I can't figure out how to invite friends.

So if you want to be my MySpace friend and have me take bullets for you, you're gonna have to invite me. My brain is not MySpace friendly.

I am SW Vaughn everywhere, even on MySpace. Waiting for my bullet. :-)

s.w. vaughn said...

P.S. I like creepy.

Anonymous said...

I would join except that I hate crowds (77 million? the thought makes me gasp for air) and it scares me. Its one redeeming quality is that it makes me relieved I don't have children. Parenting is a seriously scary prospect these days. If I were one I think I'd have to become Amish.

You're researching your next novel, right? ;)

William G. said...

Good luck with your MySpace conquest! And thanks for adding me as a friend. Now, if I could just get on Chely Wright's friend list...

Bernita said...


anne frasier said...

my daughter told me i needed a myspace account about a year or so ago. for a long time i had


and that was tom.

Peter L. Winkler said...

MySpace will soon go the way of Friendster, ehich is now moribund.

Allison Brennan said...

Melanie, no one has told me I HAD to have a blog, or a newsletter, or anything. I'm doing the blog, and it's the best hit page of my website. I blog once a week, on Mondays. I'm gearing it to readers (I hope) . . . I'm getting a lot of comments from readers, not on the content but just about liking my books, so I think it's simply another method of contact (like email or message boards).

I know several stories of young women (14-18) with MySpace or similar accounts meeting with people they met on-line and getting killed. My daughters will not have an account. Yes, it's the next generation but there's safer venues on-line.

I have a friend who has a "perfect" son on the surface. Until it was uncovered he had a very, very dark MySpace account where he used extensive profanity, talked about killing people, using drugs, and drinking after school. The kid is 13. Blowing smoke? Maybe. Maybe not.

Anonymous said...

I don't see any harm in it unless you go crazy and start adding creepy pervs and stalkers.

The problem being (once you discount the clueless -- and probably harmless, albeit irritating -- hornytoads whose opening line is "a/s/l?"), few true pervs and stalkers introduce themselves as such or reveal themselves as such from the git-go. I can't recall any evidence that Ted Bundy got much mileage using the line, "Hi, I'm Ted Bundy and I'm going to kill you."

gugon said...

Notice how Joe's blog posting frequency had dropped since he started this MySpace thing?

I have a bad feeling about this. I think Joe may be sinking into the MySpace quicksand: obsessively collecting friends like a junky chasing his next fix.

Aw, hell. I'm thinking about signing up myself.

Jude Hardin said...

I made sure my son knows that, on myspace, or anywhere else on the internet, a sixteen year old cheerleader might very well be a hairy sweaty middle-aged ex-con with lots of bad tattoos and a few teeth missing.

Teach your kids. Knowledge is the best defense. Prohibition only spawns rebellion. When you get down to it, you can't control another human being, even if it's your kid. Those who think they can are only fooling themselves.

JA Konrath said...

...obsessively collecting friends like a junky chasing his next fix.

Don't be dissing my friend, Gugon. These are real, lasting friendships that I'll have for the rest of my life.

I deeply love all of my 38 friends. Especially the porn star.

Anonymous said...

When I read your original post, I thought... hey why not check it out... so I started the sign up process. Then I clicked on the Terms of Service (yes, I do read those things all the way through) and when I came to this section:

"Proprietary Rights in Content on MySpace.com.
By displaying or publishing ("posting") any Content, messages, text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, profiles, works of authorship, or any other materials (collectively, "Content") on or through the Services, you hereby grant to MySpace.com, a non-exclusive, fully-paid and royalty-free, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense through unlimited levels of sublicensees) to use, copy, modify, adapt, translate, publicly perform, publicly display, store, reproduce, transmit, and distribute such Content on and through the Services. This license will terminate at the time you remove such Content from the Services. You represent and warrant that: (i) you own the Content posted by you on or through the Services or otherwise have the right to grant the license set forth in this section, and (ii) the posting of your Content on or through the Services does not violate the privacy rights, publicity rights, copyrights, contract rights or any other rights of any person. You agree to pay for all royalties, fees, and any other monies owing any person by reason of any Content posted by you to or through the Services."

It was that part... "any other materials (collectively, "Content") on or through the Services,"... that stopped me short. It just a little too all emcompassing in my view, so I decided just to pass on MySpace.

Anonymous said...

You're hilarious! Love your "5 friends" comment. Tom is a genius.

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