I get a bit cross when basic standards of social networking aren’t adhered to, particularly when it comes to companies-who-should-know-better. Such as MySpace.

Plus I’m always in trouble. I just muddle on, minding my own business, and whammo, I’m in deep doo-doos. Here’s my MySpace problem.

See my age? Well it’s in ELF years. Part of my “grumpy elf with attitude” roleplaying thingie I’ve got going on. You don’t have to understand, like, or agree with it, but heigh ho, it’s the way I rolled it…

Anyway, I checked my MySpace page the other day and noticed a message from September last year. Here’s the heading:

Uhoh. I’m a bit miffed. And intrigued. Who is this MySpace.c… and why can’t I see his complete name? Anyway, let’s read the message:

MySpace has special privacy and safety settings for users under the age of 18. We would like to remind you that you may not pretend to be older than 18 to get around these safety measures. We are providing you a two week amnesty period to accurately portray your age. Please take this time to update your profile and set it to your real age to avoid deletion. Thanks! (September 2006)

Thanks but No! . But aren’t we (June 2007) past that by now? And I still can’t see the full name of who sent the message. For all I know, it’s one of my ditzy ‘friends’ being an ass. And this boys and girls is the key issue. Which we will elaborate on shortly. So let’s go find out who MySpace.c.. is. And it better bloody well not be my ‘friend’ ‘Tom’.

I click on MySpace.c.. and it flashes something then takes me to a contact MySpace page. Huh? So I screenshot the page as it flashes by and here it is in all it’s glory: Sooooo MySpace.com Contact huh? And he’s 107 years old? Well I’m glad I’m not the only one telling whopping great big fibs on MySpace. But it gets me thinking – how do I know this is really a MySpace authorised person? Identity is a big challenge on the net. This is an issue we have grappled with for years in various virtual worlds and online communities I have worked with. I pretty well have it down pat now, but it’s interesting to see other networks figuring it out. Unfortunately MySpace haven’t. Let me show you just how badly they haven’t figured it out…

I created a new account called Admin Moderator. I took the homepage of

http://www.myspace.com/officialadmin and this is what I wrote on my blog there:

The trouble with my name…

… is that I am not really an admin or a mod.

When setting up a social network, ensure you can lock out admin, mod and the variations such as adm1n and m0d.

The last thing you want is a

“Hi, i’m the official admin from MySpace and one of our more famous music bands have approached us about your page. They saw your fotos and want to use you in their next music video clip! and you’ll be paid $5000! Only, as you are only 14, do you have any fotos of yourself a little older, perhaps looking sexier? for the video audition you understand…” (fill in the rest yourself)

Yuck, seriously yuck. When setting up an online community do NOT allow your members to hijack names like Admin. There’s about 3 other things that need to be done with admins on boards too. Contact me for more details. laurel at world.com.au if interested.

If anyone does contact me, I’ll probably make them sit through one of my courses. Heh. Anyway, next steps – anyone got a crystal ball? Please vote:

  1. MySpace contacts the lovely SilkCharm (me!) and tell her they have removed Admin Moderator and the “officialadmin” homepage. Plus they are banning her accounts, IP range and MAC addresses. And the lawyers will be in touch. (I’m sure I broke one of their Terms of Use or Terms of Service which I never read). Oh and she’ll be spanked with a wooden paddle. See its not all bad. šŸ˜›
  2. MySpace contacts the lovely SilkCharm and tells her that she has two weeks to fix her birthdate. (Bots have a place but this probably isn’t one of them)
  3. SilkCharm never hears from MySpace for the rest of her days and she continues to use her Admin Moderator (officialadmin) account for dastardly nefarious deeds. (a friend who shalll remain nameless (ok, it’s Ben) told me to email as many MySpacers as I can, insisting they link to Goatse. Which I will not explain, go wiki it or something.

What’s your vote? Will MySpace respond? will SilkCharm be smacked? Will her evil wicked ways be ignored? Stay tuned, same bat, same bat channel. (BTW who should I send this to at Myspace? ) Anyone been following the story of the Rookwood Goth paedophile? Well, that is what is left of his MySpace page. (For my non-Aussie readers, Rookwood is a cemetery here in Sydney). Anyway, long story short, make sure as a host, you lock out pretend-Admins on your social network. Or else. Your community will work to protect the kids themselves (see here) but you have to help them. You can join all the panels and discussion groups and set up safety courses and go to schools with campaigns, and educate, and invest funding that you want, but take care of basics right there – in your social network. Oh and make sure your safety tips links work, Tom!

Edit: Thought I’d add some other MySpace ‘admins’
www.myspace.com/phrenic is Canada MySpace Admin
www.myspace.com/tearsadmin is teary admin (gosh, I know the feeling)

… except there are 650 of ’em. And I’m pretty sure the one with Fuck You in the headline and the other one with My Willys Is Bigger than Yours are not real admins. But hey, I can’t exactly play the righteous indignation moral higher ground thing, y’know?