Does lonelygirl15 mean anything to you? Well it may not but this 16 year old girl who posted a few personal video diaries on the Internet would grow so big that in 2006 she was hired by the UN to fight global poverty. The story is a little bit more detailed than that but essentially this small video became so popular over the space of a year all over the world that media outlets as respectable as the New York Times were using their extensive resources and best investigative journalist to uncover the true story behind this seemingly sheltered girl. All of this was incidentally played by a teenager from New Zealand. Why am I telling you this story? I am showing what the new media can do for a humble person and how a nobody can be a somebody to people worldwide in the matter of a few months and seen to be so influential that the UN would consider them worthy of hiring.
What does this have to do with you? Well Australian are travelling far and wide around the globe, with some putting the number well above the million mark, are finding ways to communicate and stay in touch with loved ones back home that their parents could only dream about. Some of these methods of communication almost give the illusion that you really haven’t even left at all! Of course email which has been in mainstream culture for at least 10 years has and continues been a great way to update loved ones back home of your travels or new life away and was definitely an improvement on the much slower mail or postcard. It is funny not so long ago we happily accepted hearing news via these slower mediums knowing they could be sometimes up to a month out of date. However the humble email now even seems rather boring and old fashioned with today’s tools.
MySpace, which a couple of years was bought by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. for about $600 million dollars, now seen by Industry Analysts as one of the greatest bargains of all time as it could have sold 3 or 4 times that, is one of these modern tools. It is not just a way that people away keep in touch with loved ones as friends and family who live 5 minutes from each other and see each other all the time keep in touch this way as well! MySpace is basically a simple way for to have your own webpage which you can put anything on and update at any time without needing any technical knowledge at all. Some people even resemble it to their fridge door at home with heaps of photos, letters, calendars, contacts and everything else stuck on there. That is basically MySpace, except you can organise your photos into nifty little slide shows, add an interactive diary which people can comment on, add videos and design in the colours, theme and background music of your choice. Then if you get sick of it you can change it in a heartbeat! You can make your fridge door open to the world or just people you choose.
If you talk to someone under the age of 20 you can almost guarantee they have a MySpace page and so do all their friends. In fact Blockbuster Movies, Groups and Singers, Business and even Product Launches all setup MySpace as a direct way to engage with fans, consumers and the public and to give people an interactive taste of their offering and their own personal behind the scenes tour. Additionally people feel special when they can count one of their friends as their favourite band. It is also the way that people are making friends from all over the world from a very young age. I think it can form the seeds of a society where global understanding and peace is at least possible because we are becoming exposed and humanised to the world at this early age which is a great way to prevent hatred. Suddenly email really does seem rather boring.
So I ask if you see the interactivity of a place like MySpace or You Tube and the like and the realism of the people, are you or your loved ones ever really gone?
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