Bloggers Chat About 'Teen Buzz'

Teenager uses cell phone
With millions of sites floating through the blogosphere, who really has time to peek at even a fraction of them? Blogophile reads them for you and presents a weekly roundup of the buzz on must-read blogs. Blogophile appears new each Wednesday, and is written by's Melissa P. McNamara.

Teens may be gaining ground over their parents and teachers with a cell phone ringtone only they can hear. Find out what's behind the high-pitched buzz. And, how careful are you about posting risqué photos or stories about yourself online? If employers were reading your MySpace profile, would you rush to change your profile? Some bloggers are worried. And find out why Las Vegas is big news among liberal bloggers.

Can You Hear It Now?

In the age-old battle between teenagers and adults, teens may be gaining least when it comes to cell phones. In what sounds like every teacher's and parent's nightmare, a new ring tone has been created that many adults over 40 are simply unable to hear.

The ring tone is a spin-off of technology that was originally meant to repel teenagers. A Welsh security company developed the tone to help shopkeepers disperse young people loitering in front of their stores while leaving adults unaffected. The company called their product the "Mosquito." (Think dog whistle, with a twist.) The ring, named Teen Buzz, is a high-pitched sound, based on the fact that most adults lose the ability to hear high-pitched sounds. It has spread like wildfire over the Internet.

As one blogger warns, "If you're an adult who feels disadvantaged over the fact that teenagers know more than you about technology, here's a story to make you feel over-the-hill."

And teens are vouching for its success. "Yep, works quite well. I just made a more customized version of their ringtone. Tested it on some family members that are older and works great," John S. writes at the Metro.

But is this just a fancy trick or an urban legend, some bloggers question? "This is either a magnificent hoax or just plain magnificent," Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing writes.

"Why schoolkids can't be content with silent/vibrate mode we will never know, there's always one rebel though!," Gadget Spy writes.

Predictably, adults aren't thrilled with the news, especially the ones who can hear it. "If I were in high school, and some kid had this sound as a ringtone, I would have to hit them in the face hard with a textbook. Seriously. Why can't they just put the phone on vibrate, like everyone else?" Djkibblesnbits writes at The Coffee Break, after listening to the tone. And Chad at Independent Sources asks, "What's next, porn adults can't see?"

"I guess it was just a matter of time before someone said, 'Hey, that sound is giving me a headache I bet it would make a great ringtone,'" Chad adds.

Now if only they could silence teens chatting loudly on those cell phones!

About those Spring Break photos...

Perhaps you should think twice before posting your favorite Spring Break photo on to your Facebook profile. At least if you're looking for a job.

Many companies that recruit on college campuses have been using search engines like Google and Yahoo to conduct background checks on seniors looking for their first job, according to The New York Times. And now, they're taking it a step further. Some are exploring applicants on social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Xanga and Friendster, where college students and teens often post provocative comments about and photos of drinking, drug use and sexual exploits. What they mistakenly consider private isn't. It is public, and increasingly, potential employers are checking it out.

As one company president told the Times, "A lot of it makes me think, what kind of judgment does this person have? Why are you allowing this to be viewed publicly, effectively, or semipublicly?"

And Michael Sciola, director of Wesleyan University's career resource center told the newspaper, "It's a growing phenomenon. There are lots of employers that Google. Now they've taken the next step."

The issue has some bloggers worried. "I occasionally post pictures of beautiful women, I wonder if a feminist recruiter would take offense to my 'Too Sexy' comments? Objectifying women? Oops. Maybe I should be more careful," Jim Mathies writes.


Ali Bryant thinks the blurring of the private and public line is an interesting phenomenon on social networking sites. "People know when they post to these sites that the information is public. That is part of the point - to put yourself "out there" so that you can meet new people," she writes on Centrality. "But by couching these relationships in terms of a network, a sense of familiarity, closeness, or privacy is somehow invoked."

And Chris Albon wonder what effect risqué Facebook profiles will have on politics years from now. "The issue I am tackling is what happens ten-fifteen years from now when the 'Google Generation' enters politics," he writes on Techpolitik. "Will the 'Facebook Effect' add a new level of character debates in American politics or will we finally acknowledge that a candidate's personal life and political career are disparate?"

But perhaps the issue transcends online profiles. Jules offers bloggers a friendly reminder, regardless of whether they are posting online or presenting themselves in person. "Finally people are starting to realize, with the internet, as with everything in life, you have to accurately portray yourself, or face the consequences," she writes on Floobergeist.

But Aunk may have the best advice worth heeding. "Don't put anything in email or on-line that you do not want to see on the front page of the New York Times because you will probably see it there. It's a new world; keep your antenna up and radars on," he writes on The Cultural and Political Health 101 Club.

Bloggers Take Vegas

Nearly a thousand bloggers turned out for the YearlyKos, a three-day liberal political convention of sorts named after, the popular blog. The event was unique because it united both the often-anonymous liberal blogosphere with mainstream political figures by putting them in the same room, face-to-face.

And liberal bloggers can't stop talking about the event, elevating it to the most cited news story in the blogosphere Monday.

Markos Moulitsas, Daily Kos' founder, kicked off the conference, praising the Internet-based progressive movement as going from the fringes of politics to its center in just four years.

"The blogosphere may be the only place where people from all corners of the party's ideological spectrum can get together and fight over the details, before we come together on Election Day to fight for our Big Tent Party," he said in his keynote address. "Popular movements are rarely as practical as ours."

And, apparently, politicians are taking notice. Mark Warner, the former governor of Virginia and a likely candidate for president in 2008, DNC Chair Howard Dean, Gen. Wesley Clark, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson were among some of the Democratic Party hot shots in attendance. And, while it wasn't all smooth sailing, as Adam Nagourney at the New York Times writes, "If any more proof were needed of the rising influence of bloggers — at least for the Democratic Party — it could be found here on Friday on the Las Vegas Strip, where the old and new worlds of American politics engaged in a slightly awkward if mostly entertaining clash of a meeting."

Many liberal bloggers considered it noteworthy that politicians took the time to attend, and cheered the development. "What a milestone. Here we finally have bloggers out of their pajamas and visible in the public. Not only are Bloggers visible but they are being courted by politicians and reporters," Daniella at American Pink Collar writes.

Jeff Jarvis of BuzzMachine agreed that the conference demonstrated, again, that bloggers are influencing politics. But questioned what it all means. "So is this a party? A caucus of the party? A splinter from the party? A new party? A gathering of bloggers or media? A gathering of media or activists? A candy mint or a breath mint? Life is so confusing now," he blogged.

Liberal bloggers left the conference inspired. "It is clear that we've started to make a difference, and we need to do more because we have a daunting task: after all we still have to take back our country," Mary at Pacific Views writes.

But not everyone was convinced the politics will change as a result. "Perhaps I'm being too cynical but the power elite is too entrenched in the Washington elite and perhaps bloggers will get the attention of a select few but I don't see blogging (kinda sick of that word after watching the YearlyKos on CSPAN) having any major effect," the Sexy Professors blogs. "The only different effect it will have on the political process is the raising of small sums of money, slacktivism."

But Will Bardwell cautions fellow liberals, "...we as grassroots Democrats can't just keep whining about things. We've got to take on the responsibility of demanding more."

Blogophile RSS Feed

By Melissa McNamara