The more I read about media and advertising, the more I’m interested in it’s ability to manipulate people’s minds and the de-humanizing effects it may have on us one day. For example, I joined Myspace.com because so many of my real-world friends were using it and, frankly, I didn’t want to exacerbate my image as an out-of-touch luddite. And the result has been predictable: now much of the more intimate interactions I would have had with these friends (e.g. emails, telephone calls, and personal converstaions) has now been supplanted with frivolous, often impersonal interactions (e.g. the “bulletin”) on Myspace.
It’s not that I think these Myspace interactions are bad; but I think these interactions are to some extent replacing more meaningful interactions. Real interaction is hard. It costs time and it costs effort. Myspace interaction is easy. It’s a shortcut to real interaction, but it’s not the real deal.
And now that Myspace has successful begun detaching me from my real-world friends, the website, according to this article, is ready to perniciously introduce me to new “commercial” friends:
To expand ad sales, [MySpace] … wants to … turn advertisers into members of the MySpace community, with their own profiles, like the teenagers’ — so that the young people who often spend hours each day on MySpace can become “friends” with movies, cellphone companies and even deodorants. Young people can link to the profiles set up for these goods and services, as they would to real friends, and these commercial “friends” can even send them messages — ads, really, but of a whole new kind.
If these continue down this path, I will be as close to my real friends as I am to, say, Nokia brand cell phones.