The subject of my MYSPACE came up on Facebook recently, and it got me thinking. I was on Myspace for around 5 years, from August 2005, until May 2010 when I DELETED MY MYSPACE ACCOUNT, Although I’d say I was barely on it for the last couple of years, having primarily switched to Facebook in August 2008 (after signing up to that a year earlier), so it’s more like 3 years of active involvement on Myspace, followed by one year of half-involvement, and then a final 2 years where I was barely involved, and just kept it up for the heck of it. I remember in the last few months I decided to try becoming what we used to call a “Friend-Whore” and just started sending out friend requests to as many people as I could, trying to see how many friends I could add. Bands and musicians were the best because most of them automatically accepted all friend requests. I think I got up to over 50,000 friends before I got tired of that, and that’s when I went ahead and deleted the profile.
A couple of years back when that new company and Justin Timberlake bought and relaunched MYSPACE, I signed up to it. I just figured, why not? It might become worthwhile again. And, at the very least, it was one more place to post links to my blog, which is what I did for a while. But that didn’t last long. I didn’t really like the new design, hardly anyone I knew was on it, and I just couldn’t find much use for it. It seemed to now be centered around following musicians and creating lists of songs, which I didn’t need. So I eventually deleted that profile, too. And that’s that.
But the thing is, looking back, MYSPACE was pretty good while it lasted. It’s easy for people to mock it now, and talk about how stupid and immature it was, and it certainly had its bad points, but it was still fun in many ways. I mean, most of my closest online friends that I have now, whom I communicate with on Facebook and Twitter, are people that I originally connected with through MYSPACE. I know a lot of people also mock the idea of “online friends”, but through the internet I have gotten to talk to and learn about people from all walks of life, from around the globe. People I never would have had a chance to meet in real life. And I think that’s a good thing. Giving me and others a chance to broaden our horizons, so to speak. And that mostly started with MYSPACE. Yeah, we had to put up with some annoying things, like people who would have so much graphics on their profiles that it would freeze your computer when you click on it, or have music that would automatically start blasting. And there were the frequent random blackouts, where you couldn’t get onto your own profile. But for the most part I think the good outweighed the bad.
It’s really a shame that MYSPACE ended up the way it did. NEWS CORP. really screwed up how they handled it after they bought it. They should have integrated MYSPACE with all of their other properties, like creating MYSPACE pages for all of the shows and reporters on Fox News, and connected the Fox News website to Myspace, so that people would have to create a MYSPACE profile in order to comment on news articles, the way a lot of sites let you comment with your FB profile today. Same thing with MYSPACE pages for their movie studio, and publishing. Make it seems like a necessary part of the corporation. But that never happened.
I think they also missed the boat with blogging. I first started blogging when I was on MYSPACE, and it was one of the most active features on it. By the time I was done, I was part of a while group of friends who were all regular bloggers, there was over 100 of us who all subscribed to each other’s blogs and comments on them. I got some really good discussions going back then. You’d log in, go the blog section, and all the blogs you subscribed to would be listed in order of the newest one posted, and it would show you which ones you hadn’t read yet, so you could click on a link and start reading. It was very efficient. And it’s something FB never really caught on, they have “NOTES”, but it’s not the same. They should have worked on making the Blogs a better feature on its own, like LiveJournal was and like WordPress and Blogspot are today. It needed to be easier to link to and share individual blog posts outside of MYSPACE. They could have offered Domain Mapping, for a fee, like WordPress does, so if you owned your own domain you could just use that url without “myspace.com” in it. They also should have made it easier to add pictures and videos to blogs.
Which brings up another thing MYSPACE screwed up. There’s no reason MYSPACE VIDEOS couldn’t have been as big as YouTube. Or when they bought Photobucket, make it an all-purpose photo-sharing site like Flickr. But the BIGGEST missed opportunity regarding MYSPACE is MUSIC. MYSPACE really was the best option for discovering new independent and unsigned bands. That’s how I discovered STACY CLARK, among many others. If MYSPACE would have created a feature were artist could sell downloads of their music (or give it away free, if they want) directly through MYSPACE, I think it could have rivaled iTunes. That’s also were the integration of their other services could help. Imagine if your some indie band, singer, rapper, whatever, and could record and sell your own music, along with recording and showing your own videos and updating your blog to promote upcoming shows, all on your own MYSPACE page. That would be a great option. I bet eventually you would have seen major artists opting out of signing with big labels and just selling their own music themselves through MYSPACE.
Well, that’s all moot now. I don’t know how much longer this “new myspace” is going to last, but I don’t see it gaining traction. I think Google Plus has a better (although still slim) chance of competing with Facebook someday. Speaking of which, today is the 10 year anniversary of the creation of Facebook. And yet it seems like every 6 months someone’s predicting that Facebook will disappear “in a few years”. They’ve been saying that ever since I joined Facebook in 2007. Some recent study predicted that Facebook would lose 80% of its users in 3 years. But I’m going to predict right now that 3 years from now Facebook will still be going strong. Mark my words.