Rex (rapp81) wrote,

The latest online craze of 2006: Flaming suspects of high profile crimes via their MySpace profiles

MySpace has been around for about three years now.  However it's evergrowing popularity has been skyrocketing for the past year and a half.  The initial cause was mainly due to MySpace's predecessor, Friendster, encountering major server issues that prevented users from successfully accessing the original social networking website.

Since the early days of MySpace, the fastest-growing social networking website has saturated the internet world with easier access to people's personal lives.  It used to be that blogs were the easy point of entry.  A year ago, I was taking a lower-division GE media class (yeah, in my final undergrad semester, I know...) and in it, we had a lengthy discussion about the pros and cons of blogging.  MySpace wasn't much on the spectrum in comparision to blogging back then, when it came to the media's coverage of the internet trends.  Now a year later, MySpace has overshadowed blogging, mainly with the negative effects on young children.

With the now constant coverage of MySpace this, and MySpace that in the media, everyone who is internet savvy, can come to the conclusion that there is a high probability that somebody at random can be found on MySpace.

Case in point: Back in February, a teenager by the name of Jason Robida, allegedily went into a gay bar in suburban Boston, and attacked the patrons by shooting and using a hatchet.  What was my first instinct after reading and watching the newstories?  Clicking the Search link on MySpace and typing his name in.  Lo and behold, the suspect had a profile, and a disturbing one at that.  While looking at his profile, I noticed that people were flaming him via commenting on his blog entries.

Now I know in this country, we are to presume innocent until proven guilty, but when you've got a lot of hardcore evidence being reported in the news, it's hard not too.  I, personally, did not contribute to the online fire, however, I already did form an opinion that he did commit the crime.

Another case in point: Today, I was checking out and came across a list of artciles about a slained 10-year-old girl in OK, who was sexually assulted after she died, then was planned on being eatened by the 26-year-old suspect, Kevin Underwood.  So what did I do this time around?  Of course, checked to see if he was on MySpace.  Indeed he was, but his profile was "under maintenance".  However, his blog and pics were available.  Other than the flaming on his latest blog post, I noticed that there was a chick from Redwood City that was one of the suspects MySpace friends.  Apparently it was a random add, they chatted back and forth, but never met in person, nor did she know until after the fact the crime he committed.

So what is the lesson to be learned in all of this boys and girls?  First off, if you are suspected of a crime that hits the newswaves, be prepared to be flamed on MySpace.  Second, be cautious to the random adds you receive on MySpace.  Personally, I check the whole profile and try to determine if it's not a fake one... checking to see if comments posted on the page are from legitimate friends of the person (versus just seeing "thanks for the add!" one right after the other) and such.

And yes folks, I had nothing else better to do on Easter Sunday!  Hope you guys had a great one :)

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