MySpace is Moving in the Wrong Direction

The other day in the wake of all the stories, introductory videos and conversations about the (8th?) relaunch of MySpace, this time with the backing of superstar Justin Timberlake I finally coalesced my thoughts on Twitter. 

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I didn’t want to hate on it just for the sake of doing so or in some sort of attempt to seem too cool for old school or anything like that. The comment came from a legitimate concern that the kind of user MySpace seems to be targeting simply doesn’t exist anymore. 

Look at the results of a recent Pew study about behavior on social networks: 

Pew’s study showed a shift in the way people use social media. Posting original photos and videos online ranked slightly ahead of sharing content from other people, with 46 percent of respondents who said they had created content and 41 percent who said they had curated it.

There’s clearly a trend line that shows there’s more curation happening on social network, with production of original material declining as a result. But the new MySpace seems to be specifically built around the idea that people are producing tons of flashy videos and photos. So while a professionally produced music video may look super in that environment, someone’s photos from a frat party that’s been busted up by the cops will look just as trashy there as anywhere else. 

(Incidentally, I saw more than one person say something along the lines of “The new MySpace design makes Facebook look like MS-DOS,” an analogy that I’m not sure anyone either network is trying to attract would even recognize. People born the year Windows 95 came out started driving last year.)

More than that, though, I’m just not sure what the real incentive is for people to go over and join/rejoin MySpace. If you’re signing in with MySpace then you may be able to pull all your friends over there but what’s the point? Why not just stick with Facebook? If someone isn’t a rich media producer there’s little, if any, “there” there. 

Time, as always, will tell if I’m wrong. But my first impression is that MySpace is chasing an audience that increasingly doesn’t exist with no strong pull on people to change their existing behaviors. 

By Chris Thilk

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist with over 15 years of experience in online strategy and content marketing. He lives in the Chicago suburbs.