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MySpace has web of uses

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The social networking site now attracts business owners, musicians

SIKESTON -- The Web site MySpace.com is used by people of all ages to network and keep in touch with friends and family.

Now, businesses and musicians are using the site to spread the word about what they offer and to share their tunes. Others use it to organize events such as class reunions.

For instance, Tiffany O'Neal set up a MySpace page for her business, Tanic Tan, around the same time she opened it last month.

"I just did it to reach high school students and people in area towns I may not know, but they have a MySpace page," she said.

The site has enabled O'Neal to post pictures of her salon and the products she offers.

"I've had a few people e-mail me on the site wanting my exact package prices," O'Neal said. "And people get their first 10 minutes free if they mention they see it on the site."

Earlier this year, Melissa Seiler, owner of Patti Simmons School of Dance, set up a page for the school, as well as one for herself.

"I set mine up because it's easier than setting a Web site up -- I'm not technologically inclined," Seiler said.

A lot of her students are into the site, and even some parents have profiles, Seiler said. "It's just good for me to keep in touch," she said. "I'll send them messages and remind them that they have practice."

Seiler also uses the site to catch up with former students who have moved away or dropped her classes. She said that some children who don't dance have even asked her questions on the site.

She can also post pictures of her dance team, as well as events they participate in. "It makes them feel important," she said. It also gives Seiler an idea of what is going on in her dancers' lives outside of class.

Bands use the music portion of the site to get their tunes heard, locally and on the music scene.

"We got tons of new fans, and we've got people that send the music and buy T-shirts," said Dylan Harris, who plays guitar in the New Madrid-based group Bare the Betrayal. "We've also gotten offers from venues all over the area to play shows and cover for bands."

The band signed up for the page about two years ago, when the site first got popular.

Zach Swift of Sikeston, who writes and records music, made a page on MySpace about a year and a half ago.

"I didn't do it for the music, I signed up just to network with friends at first," Swift said. "Then I saw the bands that were uploading their music so I just started to do it, too. It's really convenient."

It's rather simple to upload the songs and spread the word, the two agreed. "Once I get it recorded and copywritten, I can upload it and send out a bulletin to all my friends," Swift said.

And having the songs makes a big difference. "If someone ads your song to their profile, then all of their friends are going to hear your song when they view their profile," Swift said.

"It's just like a big chain reaction," Harris agreed.

Swift said if someone mentions a band he isn't familiar with, he'll always MySpace them to listen to the music. "If you've a band, you're going to have a MySpace," he said. Not only that, it lets his friends and family who don't live locally hear his music.

The music on MySpace is also of interest to Seiler as a dance instructor, especially what her students play. "They're in touch with the latest music more than I am," she said. If she sees a song on several pages, and doesn't include foul language, Seiler said she'd consider coming up with a routine to that song.

O'Neal said she also has a page on Facebook, another social networking site. "I think you can get a lot of coverage on the Internet," she said. "It seems like there's all ages on there now."