7.31.2007

Reconsidering MySpace

For over a year now I've been a vocal advocate for all forms of new media. One of those areas I've advocated and written about on numerous occasions are social networking websites and MySpace in particular. The benefits of social networking sites are numerous. You can connect with people you wouldn't otherwise know and cultivate opportunities for ministry with those relationships. The downside, however, is that MySpace appears to be increasingly filled with provocative ads that, quite frankly, I don't need to see.

When I set up my MySpace account over a year ago I remember thinking that some of the ads were on the edge but didn't seem much beyond what you would find on television at any given time. Since then, however, MySpace ads have gotten worse. Some of the new ads are videos of women essentially calling out to you to click on their ad to visit the site they're promoting...which is usually a singles site.

Last week I recommended one of our clients change course from creating a MySpace ad for the first time. The client had been prepared to build a MySpace page based on a my recommendation several months ago but given my new concerns for the site I suggested they use some alternative social networking websites. They agreed and may actually go a step further by taking down existing MySpace pages they have.

I've said in the past that MySpace is a good ministry opportunity and I still believe there is a lot of ministry potential. Where there are people who don't know Christ, there are opportunities for ministry. Unfortunately, the purity hurdles that a Christian man will have to cross to begin to engage that community within MySpace are higher than I'm prepared to go. I don't know how to reconcile the spiritual needs within MySpace and my personal desire for purity so for now my solution to this problem is to leave MySpace.

A few years ago I switched from Hotmail in favor of Gmail for similar reasons and I've never looked back. If MySpace didn't target men with sexually provocative ads and could curb the regular solicitations from women who want me to check out their webcams I might come back to it but for now (and maybe forever) I'm leaving MySpace. I'm not going to shut down my account, but I'm not going to be active within it either. I'm moving my social networking completely over to Facebook and LinkedIn. You can find me there. If MySpace makes significant changes I may be back, but in the mean time it will have to be your space. It's not my space anymore.

5 comments:

Jason said...

Bill, I applaud your honesty and integrity. It's a shame that such a great tool for networking has made such a downward turn.

Jason Hayes
www.jasonhayesonline.com

Jim Walton said...

Bill, like you, I saw MySpace as a great place to reach people who needed Jesus and network. I was mostly curious about that world, so I got set up. I have found very little value there and my heart is not in a place to be evangelizing out there, nor do I have the time.

I think for the right church with the right heart, there is potential for real ministry, but it would take a big effort to make it effective, like a lifechurch.tv size effort.

Like you, I have pulled way back from MySpace, disappointed at the filth out there and at my inability to engage. I am liking Facebook a lot, though.

Jon Haarstad said...

There is a way to kill ALL the ads on MySpace which is the only reason I still utilize the service. The ads were/are beyond ridiculous for guys ... whereas women have considerably less provocative ads on their sites. So, while ladies maybe shaking their head saying "what's the big deal", guys know the filth we're subjected to.

Ok, here's the easily and foolproof solution. 1) Download Firefox browser [ click here ] which everyone should have anyways in my opinion, 2) Click here to download a Firefox plugin called Adblock Plus. The new version of this plugin comes with some pre-configured settings that will blast ALL the ads off your Myspace account (and a few others).

It's now strange for me to see someone login to Myspace and to see all the extra junk that I no longer have to be bombarded by.

Bill Seaver said...

Thanks for the comments guys. Jon, great tips on ad blocking. I'm a huge Firefox fan so this will be a great addition for me. I think I'll stay out of MySpace for now even with the ad blocker because there are still those terrible solicitations to be wary of. Great insight though. Thanks for the info!

Gary W. said...

There are a lot of "me too" social networking sites coming around, but one that I think has a lot of potential is www.lightstogether.com. It's run by the Christian pollster George Barna and is centered more around churches/ministries rather than individuals (like MySpace and Facebook).

They're still testing the site, but it should be fully operational by the end of September.