(May 2003 - March 2007.) Tama's thoughts on the blogosphere, podcasting, popular culture, digital media and citizen journalism posted from a laptop computer somewhere in Perth's isolated, miniature, urban jungle ...

STM on MySpace, DOPA and Australia

Sunday, August 27, 2006
As Hourann mentions, there was an article in today's Sunday Times Magazine (STM) by Pete Kempshall looking at the growth and successful strategies of MySpace, particularly in Australia. I was interviewed for this piece and quoted fairly extensively. Although MySpace owners New Corp also own the Sunday Times, I think the piece was pretty balanced. I was particularly pleased that the article presented an opportunity to talk about issues of youth privacy, safe myspacing and DOPA -- the misguided US Deleting Online Predators Act -- before any such legislation is put on the table in Australia. (If you're unfamiliar with DOPA, check out danah boyd and Henry Jenkins' thoughts on the many problems with the act .) Sadly, the STM Magazine doesn't put its articles online (a point there for the citizen-journalism driven PerthNorg over News Corp-owned PerthNow). However, I've scanned an image of the 'breakout box' which looks at DOPA and thought I'd post it here:

To read the text clearly, you may just need to look at the large-sized image.

If anyone has any thoughts about the future of MySpace in Australia, and whether the Australian government might be looking into a DOPA-like arrangement, I'd be interested to hear your comments.

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At 8/28/2006 01:50:00 am, Blogger Lara said...

I'd much rather see something like the class that has been implemented at UC Berkeley. Freshers are allowed to use the university computer network after they've attended a mandatory "social networking workshop" - learning about not just safety online, but also thinking before you type, especially as regarding your potential audience both now and in the future.

It's starting a good few years too late for most kids, and the emphasis seems more on shaping good little employees than on harnessing the power of the internet for Good, but it's a start.

Lara (self.net)

At 8/28/2006 07:47:00 am, Blogger Tama said...

Hi Lara,

I agree education is the key - but I also think (as you say) that we need such education embedded a lot earlier! I think primary schools should really be the place where these questions are first raised. Stranger danger is both online and offline now and we need to address both scenarios meaningfully through our schools in order to equip young people with the skills needed to successfully navigate their everyday lives!

At 8/28/2006 11:14:00 am, Anonymous Simone said...

Great article Tama, and totally agree education needs to start at primary school, and early on in primary school at that!
I don't buy the Sunday Times, so have to see if one of my colleagues can bring in the STM!
Another step on the way to West Australians becoming more familiar with social networking/blogging even if it is myspace! :D

Btw, hope to see you at the next bloggers meetup!

At 8/28/2006 12:35:00 pm, Anonymous Bronwen Clune said...

I think you will find the issue of safety online is being addressed at a very young age. I was asked to sign a consent form for my sons in PP and Year 2 respectively, giving them access to the internet. Part of the condition of consent was that I explain to them the dangers of communicating with strangers online.
I'd love the debate to brought up on PerthNorg ;)

At 8/28/2006 07:36:00 pm, Blogger azza-bazoo said...

On the future of MySpace: I've been following discussion on this topic on Web 2.0 blogs like Techcrunch and Mashable. The thing that strikes me is how so many folks there are convinced that teenagers are fickle and that MySpace will die as quickly as it grew. The argument is that if anyone else manages to tap the teenage zeitgeist they'll experience equally rapid growth-because-all-my-friends-are-here. This'd be easier in Australia where IMHO the "MySpace generation" seems to be fragmented across a few sites apart from MySpace.

That said, your argument about News Corp using its other properties to hook in and keep new users is quite plausible -- I imagine Rupert Murdoch himself is schemeing along those lines or he wouldn't have paid as much as he did for the site. The network effects whereby popular kids brought all their friends onto MySpace are said to have been started when the site was made cool by certain band profiles, and they're starting to push Australian music on the site ... so maybe they will grow explosively in Australia after all.

At 8/29/2006 01:35:00 pm, Blogger marianne said...

Great article, Tama. I agree, of course, with education being the key to ensuring kids have some sense of what they are doing when they're online.
As amusing as Ted Steven's "the internet is a series of tubes" analysis of web was, I hope our own polies come up with something a little more sensible when debating social networking and predatorial behaviour!


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