Online social networking...

The social networking site was recently named the top single U.S. Web site in a report by the Internet traffic measurement firm Hitwise. The report states that MySpace accounted for 4.46 percent of all U.S. net traffic for the week ending July 8. The site reaches about 52 million unique visitors per month.

A lot of arts organizations are setting up MySpace pages, where they are able to post blog entries, upload photos, and develop friends lists that can be used for announcements about events, exhibitions and performances. With a very young user base, MySpace is the ideal place to connect with individuals years before they'll ever buy a ticket.

Another upside of MySpace is that it's completely free -- no strings attached. An organization can post schedules and streaming video previews at no cost, so it's almost senseless not to build a page and start cultivating your friends list just as you would a donor pool.

The only question about MySpace is its effectiveness. It's a relatively new concept for arts groups to use the site to build their audiences, so there isn't enough data available to prove that an organization can increase its attendance by X or Y percent.

Still, MySpace is free and easy to use, so there isn't much of a barrier to entry for arts managers that want to do their own evaluation.

For questions about setting up and updating your MySpace page, visit the MySpace help section.

For more information about customizing your MySpace page, visit, a site that features tutorials on everything from basic HTML to tweaking the MySpace layout.