To those of us who qualify as grizzled veterans of the web, MySpace (myspace.com) is something of a mystery.
We find it astonishing that a site so packed with garish, browser-slowing pages crammed with mostly nonsensical ramblings by teenagers should be so incredibly popular. Of course, the rambling teenagers think differently.
For them, MySpace is the online equivalent of hanging out.
It's not supposed to be about interesting content, the whole point of it is simply to be there.
That's why most of the pages aren't, in themselves, very interesting. All they show is that their creator has a presence on MySpace, and therefore is doing the fashionable thing.
Millions of people have signed up for MySpace accounts, so quickly that traditional media couldn't just watch them do it.
Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation was quick to step in with a purchase offer, hoping that owning MySpace would grant it citizenship among this new generation of media purchasers - young people who rarely glance at newspapers, care little about magazines, but spend a lot of time in front of their computers.
The advertising industry has made the same observation and is throwing money at popular websites and services in an effort to make some impact on these precious young eyeballs.
The eyeballs, though, are moving.
Some observers argue that simply by having been purchased by a global media company, MySpace has already lost its "cool" factor.
While it doesn't seem to have stopped people signing up every day in their thousands, the word is starting to spread about other, similar virtual hangouts.
And the one attracting most attention right now is called Bebo (www.bebo.com).
The basic idea is exactly the same. You sign up to Bebo mainly so that you can be on Bebo; your friends will all be there too, and together you can leave rude messages on each other's web pages, draw silly pictures on each other's online whiteboards, and browse your friends' friends.
As with MySpace, anyone can add anyone else as a "friend". If your favourite band or a famous author has a Bebo page, they can become your friend in a click.
Making friends is good; having lots of them shows you are an active Bebo user. Popular people will get connected to more new people, and therefore become more popular. It's addictive.
To the grizzled internet veterans, Bebo is lesser of the two evils, not because it isn't owned by a global media company (no doubt it soon will be), but because the web pages it produces are not nearly so offensive to the senses.
MySpace pages are, frankly, a mess. It's like the 1990s all over again, when people stuffed their primitive home pages with flashing text and pointless animated graphics.
Only now, it's embedded pop videos and Flash music players that start playing whether you want them to or not.
Page designs are frequently painful to the eyes, a mess of colour and content all jumbled together. Bebo pages can include the same things, but on the whole tend to be a little quieter.
Blame broadband. Back in the 90s, all this flashy stuff was frowned on because bandwidth was limited, and going online expensive. Every second cost pennies.
Now, with "free broadband for life" offers and ADSL modems being given away with every new mobile phone, there's no respect for bandwidth any more.
The kids take it for granted, assume that it's endless, and fill it with their ramblings.
We grizzlies moan, but other than the affront to our eye for page design ("It were all blue links on a grey background back then."), we've no real need to.
* You should always be wary of suspicious emails, but during World Cup season you should be more wary than ever.
A new worm called Sixem-A is doing the rounds, pretending to be an image in an email. Open it up and it will try to disable any antivirus software you have installed, then attempt to download further nasties from the net without your knowledge. Be careful out there. ..SUPL: