MySpace's Second Act: 'A Window For Youth Culture'

MySpaceIs 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…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: "GoPro does a great job appealing to my generation because they convince regular people that they are adventurous, like many college kids like to think of themselves." –Male, 22, MD

Facebook continues to evolve to keep up with social platform competitors attracting younger users. The site has announced changes to their standalone chat app Messenger that will transform it into a platform that third parties can develop content and services for, including games, hotel bookings, tickets, and peer-to-peer payments. The new Businesses on Messenger feature would allow users to chat with brands to make purchases and change orders, and could make shopping a more personal experience. Facebook will also be adding the ability to chat with memes and GIFs, features that have proved popular with young consumers on other chat apps. (re/code,Fast Company)

Millennials are wary of investments, and generally anxious about their finances, and some have turned to new services that let them take baby steps into the financial world. More traditional institutions have certainly taken notice. Northwestern Mutual recently acquired LearnVest, a startup that offers free and paid financial planning services including articles, advice, and access to an expert for guidance on spending and budgets. The purchase is the latest in a trend of financial tech companies being snapped up by older, less digitally savvy brands. (FortuneBusiness Insider)

While many startups and sites are working to combat cyberbullying, one app is receiving an enormous amount of backlash for fostering the behavior in high schools. Burnbook allows users to join communities, usually around a school, remain anonymous, and post on topics of their choice. Although the app encourages “jokes, fails, wins, shout outs, revelations, proclamations, and confessions,” posts have been used to target specific people and groups, and threats have been made to at least one school. Some parents and teens are trying to use the app to spread positivity, but those posts don’t seem to outweigh the “gruesome things.” (Mashable)

Toys “R” Us will begin to sell an experience alongside its products with the hope of regaining their footing in the toy industry. Discount options like Wal-Mart and Amazon have hurt the chain’s sales over the past few years, so new plans to revamp stores will add physical play areas and more technology for kids to interact with. The retailer wants to be a place “where kids want to go and play,” and their new prototype store will open later this year. (Bloomberg)

For better or for worse, technology is becoming an intrinsic part of childhood, but boys and girls might not be growing up with the same tech experiences. A new study of parents of kids ages two to nine found that in many cases, parents give their children different devices depending on their gender. Sons were more likely to be given smartphones or gaming devices while daughters received more tablets (73% vs. 65% for boys). Parents were also more likely to use tech to calm down sons, with 48% using a device to help soothe boys when they are upset, compared to 37% for girls. (Kidscreen)

That image at the bottom of our newsletter is a gateway to insights and expert commentary on current and future Millennial trends. Clicking on it takes readers to our daily insights article, available to Silver and Gold subscribers, which illuminates a facet of Millennial culture and helps subscribers to understand the "why" behind the "what." Drawing from our ongoing collection of proprietary data, our deep-dive desk research, and our 10-year history of studying this generation, we figure out what it all means for brands and marketers. (Ypulse)

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