IS THE FIRST SOCIAL NETWORK FINALLY DEAD?

Is the first social network finally dead?
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IS THE FIRST SOCIAL NETWORK FINALLY DEAD?



Written by James Read
05 Wednesday 05th January 2011

The real reason why no one suspected Gabrielle Giffords shooter? He was posting his murderous conspiracy rants on Myspace, which is now so thinned of active users we could probably call it a private diary. Following reports that Newscorp will be cutting 50% of the Myspace workforce, is the social network that started it all finally dead? Are you still using it? Looking across a growing moat of unupdated profiles filled with spammy wallposts surrounding a shrinking bastion of camwhores and bored single mothers, I don't imagine you are. Its recent redesign has seen a shift from the previous nostalgic, disco, Internet Explorer 6 feel. But while the site has been updated, its users' profiles remain increasingly dusty and untouched, like some kind of internet Atlantis.

Where are you now Tila?

Once a glittering citadel of slick, unique pages, a helping hand to give users their first taste of online presence. Way back in 2006, when people talked about Myspace 'celebrities' like Tila Tequila (who hasn't logged in for a month, but updated Twitter less than twelve hours ago). Back when there were Myspace celebrities.

The burgeoning social network was acquired by Murdoch's Newscorp in 2005 - a fiercely misguided attempt by Rupert to get in on the Web 2.0 wagon after finally opening one of the "you have been tagged" emails from his grandchildren. Lately, realising his online investments haven't been paying off as quickly as he'd like, he's been selling off golden goose internet ventures (like the successful and eminentally ad-appropriate movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes) possibly to fund the abysmally short-sighted Times paywall.

Tom from Myspace sports enormous balls along with this ironic t-shirt

Having constantly fumbled at creating an easily accessible advertising network to rival the quick and simple FacebookAds, they have finally outsourced to Google, who is to bring the site into their ad network.   

Newscorp planned to promote the creation of 'corporate profiles' so that companies could become 'friends' with their consumers. Unfortunately this creepy prospect was gazumped by the far more successful Facebook's 'Fan Pages' as business buddies and DJ promo pages overtook genuine users on Myspace.


With the buyout, there was a firm decision that changes had to be made to keep the flabby network afloat. The new logo cleverly dubs the company my[____], and has dropped the cluttered human figures and 'a place for friends' tagline (a telling admission?) for a more serious and simplistic hard-edged look, like... facebook. Looking to more successful friends, we see more than a hint of Zuckerberg in the sitewide design consistency, and of Twitter in the 'stream' that replaces 'news'. The ability to update Facebook from Myspace which was rolled out last August seemed pretty confused - surely it would've made more sense to be able to update the dead Myspace profile from the FB one you were actually using, rather than vice-versa?

Sadly, in trimming the site down and tidying it up, they've lost much of the 'customisability' that in concept made it appealing and personal. Although in reality it has long become a dwindling rope bridge between horrifically coded Geocities homepages and the modern streamlined data mine that is Facebook.

However, while the site still brings in decent coin (about $347 million in ad sales last year), that evidently isn't enough to justify over a thousand staffers.

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Comments

  • Guest: matt
    Mon 10 - Jan - 2011, 23:25
    MySpace has been dying on its heals since it was over taken by Facebook, in part due to the lack of innovation at MySpace, and Facebook appealing more towards the whole Family, unlike MySpace that seem to draw in just teenagers and musicians. But these days not even that. In April 2009, CEO and co-founder Chris DeWolfe was replaced by Owen Van Natta, whilst co-founder and former President of MySpace Tom Anderson, was sidetracked to become Strategic Adviser, in other words kept on as the public face of MySpace only. He even was removed as a new users default friend, a telling sign if ever there was one, of the relationship between News Corps MySpace and its former founder. Coupled with the 420 people laid off in 2009 (30% of the then workforce), plus the closure of regional offices and the recent layoff's, it does appear MySpace will be up for sale soon. The launch of the new look and branding has come too late, yet MySpace is trying to position itself as a content company, rather than a social network, a move that should but the final nail in the coffin of this once giant of social networking. Still I can't complain, I'm developing my own project :)

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