This week I will be talking about social networks, specifically the social network MySpace. While this platform is not nearly as popular as it was in 2006, I am interested in researching and discussing its history and reason for its decline.
Before I delve into MySpace, I will specify the definition of a social network, and how it functions in our society.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
In short, a social network is any service or site which allows an individual to interact, on a long or short term basis, with another individual. The popular social networks we use today include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. While these social networks can be used for professional or personal reasons, there are social networks such as LinkedIn which allow its users to connect solely on a professional level. This shows the flexibility and variety of social networks we use on a day-to-day basis.
MySpace is an interesting social networking site because of its peak and decline. According to a CBS News article, MySpace was created in August 2003 by several eUniverse employees, an Internet marketing firm . It was bought from the original founders, Brad Greenspan, Chris DeWolfe, Jos Berman and Tom Anderson, in 2005 by News Corporation for $580 million. In 2006, it was the number 1 website and by 2007, was valued at $12 billion.
It was highly known for bands’ pages customizable profiles, and soon enough it was a popular networking site to have and included features such as the Top 8, which would allow someone to rank their best friends openly on their page. According to an article on The Startup Bros, from 2005 until early 2008, MySpace was the most visited social networking site in the world. In it’s 2008 peak, it attracted 75.9 million unique visitors a month .
Below is an example of what an individual’s page looked like for MySpace.
However, the peak of MySpace did not last long. Facebook was founded in 2004, and by 2008 took the title of the number 1 social network site on the Internet. MySpace reached its lowest point of membership in 2010 in which they lost half of their monthly visitors in just one year . News Corporation made several attempts to save the networking site with several re-design attempts, however it could not outdo Facebook.
In June 2011, MySpace was jointly sold for $35 million to the advertising firm, Specific Media Group and pop-star Justin Timberlake.
MySpace is now regarded to either as a joke, or in regards to “simpler times.”
However, the website is trying to make a comeback. Rather than attempting to be similar to Facebook, they are rebranding their website focusing mainly on music, games and videos . The site has been generating around 20 million visitors a month. While it is unlikely that the website will ever regain the same popularity it once had, it is nice to see they are offering a more niche online experience to users.
In terms of why MySpace failed, I think it got unlucky especially with the launch of Facebook. Had Facebook never been launched, it could be argued that MySpace would still be as popular as it was in 2006.