MySpace's Second Act: 'A Window For Youth Culture'
- July 22nd, 2009
- 9 Comments
Is it me or does it feel as if everyone has written off MySpace as the next Friendster. With all of the media fawning over Facebook and Twitter, and the reality that MySpace has been struggling and going through changes (losing users, founders leaving, widespread layoffs), my sense is that many people in the tech/media world aren’t very optimistic about MySpace’s prospects. Granted, I haven’t logged in for months and primarily use Facebook, but I’m also 37. I’m going to play the contrarian and argue that everything I’ve read lately about how MySpace is planning to reposition itself makes me optimistic that the site could emerge stronger than ever by literally going back to its roots of being a hub for young tastemakers. Or as this MySpace insider shared with the UK Telegraph:
Moving forward, the network will focus on being a window for youth culture to reflect all their creative talents. Facebook has won the social networking war and now MySpace needs to focus on what it can bring to the table.
While I agree with danah boyd’s thesis that there has been a degree of “white flight” among youth from MySpace to Facebook, I also believe that growing youth Facebook fatigue, combined with a new and improved MySpace could bring some younger Facebook users, especially those who are creative, or who are tired of reading their parents’ status updates, back to MySpace.
While Facebook has made it clear they want to be for the masses, MySpace is sending their own “moon man” with a a new flag reasserting itself as a “window for youth culture.” They are building on their early days as a community populated largely by twentysomething musicians, artists and other creative tastemakers/self promoters in L.A., but on a much larger scale. I think MySpace has a shot at becoming the number one music/entertainment community for youth if Owen Van Natta can:
- apply what he learned from Facebook and improve the user experience on MySpace (and control the spam)
- streamline and simplify while offering templates flexible enough for creative types to still make the space their own, and easily find likeminded “friends” and “fans” based on their creative interests/entertainment tastes
- continue to offer exclusive content nobody else has first (New Moon trailer, youth focused webisodes)
- leverage their planned “data-focused features” as a part of MySpace music, “publish[ing] trends, track[ing] influencers and creat[ing] lists of top-played and playlisted content of not only major bands and artists but also of all the independent work on millions of MySpace artist pages”
With a clear demographic, they will also beat Facebook by giving advertisers a targeted audience of youth 16-30. MySpace should also invest in building a non-traditional advertising department that can work with together with their audience to really push these brands to go beyond the banner and create/experiment with programs that add value for its users (as well as making the site feel less like a giant billboard).
What do you think? Have you written off MySpace?