By Shelcie Takenouchi
This month’s column is brought to you by Shelcie Takenouchi, an associate with Fujita & Miura Public Relations and student at USC pursuing a major in public relations.

One of the most popular websites in the country right now is an online social network called MySpace. You may not have heard of it, but today’s teens have become experts on using this site to create a nationwide social network. MySpace allows users to create their own web page and post personal information from hobbies to photos to phone numbers. Users accumulate a “friends” list composed of others from around the nation who have MySpace accounts. Then, friends can post comments on each other’s pages.

According to ABC News, “…more and more teens are leading high-tech lives connected through instant messaging, cell phones and the Internet for hours at a time… ‘Seventeen’ [magazine] has dubbed today’s teens ‘Generation Speed.’” The same story mentions a survey done by “Seventeen” magazine and Johns Hopkins University, which found that “40 percent of responding teenagers spend a week or longer online without ever logging off, and 90 percent are adapting to multi-tasking.”

Will this trend spread to the larger population? Probably. Neil Howe and William Strauss, authors of “Generations, The Fourth Turning and Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation” wrote for USA Weekend magazine, “The truth is, this generation is a trend-turner…They’re smart, teaming up, doing well — and volunteering at a level and intensity we haven’t seen since the 1940s. Millennials — America’s new ‘Junior Citizens’ — are destined to be a political powerhouse of a generation in our not-too-distant future.”

Already, musicians, artists, and entertainers are turning to MySpace to advertise their talents. Businesses too are beginning to use social networks like MySpace. Receiving millions of hits per day can be a great way to spread the word about products or services.

Recently however, the security of MySpace has been questioned. There have been reports of sex offenders using MySpace to lure children by posing as teenagers. On the business side, hackers are learning how to break into accounts and launch online attacks on businesses.

That said, social networking sites like MySpace can be useful if you know how to use them. Enlist the help of a technology specialist who can inform you of the perks and dangers of posting information online and take all the precautions necessary to protect your page and your business. Then, you can take a hint from the millennial generation and make MySpace your space.

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