Social networking giant MySpace offers access to over 200 Million profiles (also known as ” friends” ) and is by far the most dominant social network available today. While it started with teens and younger adults, older professionals have joined the network including me (despite the groans from my three children).

For many, MySpace functions as their main electronic communication tool. For instance, my 14 year old daughter uses a combination of MySpace and instant messaging in lieu of email; this is true for many in her demographic. Traditional e-mail is so last century! Others use MySpace as a secondary tool to traditional email; this true for many of the “twenty and thirty somethings”; it provides a good way to share photos and express themselves.

My motivation for joining MySpace is purely commercial. I recognize that a large number of my readers and potential customers use this networking tool. I also understand the trend of more professionals like myself waking up to the potential value of MySpace.

In a nutshell, MySpace allows you to set up a personalized website with some basic information about yourself such as a screen name, pictures, videos, movie and music preferences, and a personal profile.

Your site can be private or public; if your site is for personal use only, privacy may be a big issue. You can provide access to “friends” on an invitation only basis. This helps you avoid MySpace spam and hackers.

For a business person like me, a public site is the way go. I maintain a blog which republishes this blog’s contents and I use my real name as a screen name. My book cover functions as the welcome page for my guests instead of my photo. I do include photos of family, my horse, my car, and me. So, my site has some personal elements, but my motivations remain purely capitalistic. My book website link is prominently displayed.

After a couple of weeks I have added 80 “friends”. Some of these people I knew already but most are new. My goal is to add hundreds if not thousands of friends. Comedian Dane Cook is shooting for 2 million friends and he attributes his comedic success to this grass roots support from MySpace. I should be so lucky.

After you are up and running, the next task is the data mining of the websites of your friends by inviting their friends into your network. You can then communicate to them individually with MySpace email messages or broadcast to all with bulletins. Add a blog and you are in business.

I will update you again in a few months and let you know how this is working for me.

John Bradley Jackson
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