Today I had the great pleasure of speaking to a college class at The University of Akron about the business of e-marketing....

Can you believe they're teaching e-marketing in college now? To those of us who learned it "on the fly" as it grew, it's hard to believe it's a "real" curriculum now, right? Or maybe I'm just an old Internet geek who's out of touch. Probably.
As I made my drive to the class this morning, I thought of questions to ask the students for my own curious benefit. I wanted to gain some knowledge from the trip by tapping into the minds of the demographic that was once me (10+ years ago), but before the Internet.
So I started asking questions. I asked if they had blogs, about 2 of them did. I asked if they knew what Google Adwords or Adsense was, none did. I asked if they knew how people made money online. One said, "spamming." Ok, he's right, some do I explained, but it's wrong to do that and here's why.
Then I asked how many had MySpace profiles.
Half of the 20 person class raised their hands gleefully as if to say to me, "MySpace is great."
Great I thought, now I have their interest. Let me tell them some more.

  • I told them about how MySpace has 61+ million registered users and is growing at a pace of about 220,000 per day
  • I told them that MySpace is 50.2% male, 49.8% female
  • I told them it was the second largest destination on the entire Web
  • I told them that MySpace earns about $750,000 per day in ad revenue

All true facts, and they seemed to love MySpace even more than a few minutes ago.
Until... I asked them a few more questions.
"Did you know that everything you post at MySpace is currently being recorded, and spidered by search engines such as Google? In other words, do you realize that everything you say on your MySpace blog can be easily read by anyone who really wants to find it?"
The smiles began to fade. Another question from me.
"Did you know that right now all human resource professionals not only Google your name when they're checking up on you, but they also use tools to look inside MySpace to see if they can find information about you? You know what you're writing on your profiles, do you think that information is going to help you get a job with that HR person, or hurt you?"
No more smiles. I could see the wheels turning in their heads. "Should I have written about passing out in the kitchen last night after doing 15 Jello shots? Hmm, probably not."
No, probably not.
MySpace is a neat product. But when you really think about it, the demographic that primarily uses it is setting themselves up for a big fall down the road as they grow up and enter the "real world." Think about it. Would you like someone to be able read about all the things you did back in high school and college your parents never knew about?
Imagine a scenario like this in the years to come.
Political: "Excuse me Senator, but your re-election campaign is going to fail. It seems that someone dug in the archives and pulled up your MySpace profile from 2005 when you were in college that shows a photo of you mooning some nuns off the roof of a moving car. But that's not the worst part. Did you really build a bong out of mailbox?"

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