Up until now I have put off talking about the popular friend network as the whole idea of what seemed to amount to nothing more than an online popularity contest didn’t really appeal to me.After being hassled by a couple of people to sign up I have now made the leap and created my own profile and so far have found the whole experience pretty rewarding!

Unless you have had your head well and truly buried in the sand it is unlikely you haven’t already heard of MySpace as Alexa are currently ranking it as the fifth most popular site on the Internet.You may well be like me however and be in need a little push to actually set up an account.

The idea behind MySpace is simple; you create a profile describing yourself and your interests and then go off in search of any of your other friends who also have MySpace profiles.Once you’ve found someone you know you simply request that they add you as a friend and they will then appear in your ‘my friend space’ on your MySpace profile.This has the knock on effect that by locating one friend you instantly have the ability to add any of their existing friends so you can quickly network by adding any mutual friends to your friend space.

To speed up the process of locating one another you can also specify schools and colleges that you attended as well as various employments that you have undertaken in your life along with the dates applicable.This makes the system very much like Friends Reunited in the way that it allows people to quickly network but has the added advantage that it is completely free of charge.I have already had a couple of old school friends and work colleagues locate me thanks to MySpace which has allowed me to catch up with people that I possibly wouldn’t have ever been in contact with otherwise.

Of course MySpace doesn’t have to be used just to locate existing friends, you can also specify a search based on location, interests, age or sex in order to locate new people although the whole idea of having a ‘friend’ you’ll probably never meet doesn’t really appeal to me.

User profiles generally consist of a combination of a text description, photos, music and videos but you may also wish to add a blog (essentially a diary) or various flash games and quizzes.The large range of elements that can be incorporated in to a profile has lead to them becoming popular with groups such as bands which find a MySpace profile is a good way of bringing fans together and allowing them to preview their songs and music videos.

I’ll admit that on paper MySpace doesn’t sound particularly exciting but you would be surprised at how addictive it can be and when you bear in mind that the site is completely free of charge then it may be worthwhile spending just a few minutes setting up a profile.The most benefit is derived from MySpace if you actively search for friends but otherwise you may well be surprised how many old friends will get in contact with next to no effort put in on your part.

About the Author – Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.