Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The News of MySpace's Demise Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

I've been monitoring what's been going on with social networking sites {SNS} for quite some time.  Here's a June 2009 post on global usage.  Here's an update::

Anecdotally, I've heard from many people, including college students, that MySpace is deader than dead.  This past summer, danah boyd made a splash with her ongoing research on "white flight" on MySpace in the notes from her talk, "The Not-So-Hidden Politics of Class Online."  Falling users and whites vacating the MySpace cyberpremises can't be good, right?  Plus, in June there was a layoff of 30% of their workforce.

A MediaPostRaw article reported news from comScore's CEO, Magid Abraham::
"Facebook, which started by appealing to younger folks emanating from its college roots, has grown decidedly older, while MySpace remains the favorite among younger users. In fact, Abraham says MySpace’s share of the younger space has actually grown recently.  'A year ago, the largest component of Facebook was actually people who are below 24-years-old. Now the largest component is 35 to 49,' Abraham says. “When you look at MySpace on the other hand, MySpace is still very much dependent on younger audiences… the share of younger audiences is actually bigger."

Jon Miller, head of News Corporation's interactive operations since April freely admits that MySpace fell behind on the innovation front.  Miller states the obvious need to marry technological innovation and media and cites the success of the Hulu LLC online video portal joint venture {News Corp., Disney, & Universal} as a good example.  Miller also alludes to paid content, so I'm sure he's thinking of a "freemium" model, in addition to the sizeable revenue streams from online ads.  Additionally, MySpace is also poised {like TiVo} to capitalize on data mining for marketing research for big media, brand managers, and ad/PR firms, once the latter figure out they need this info. and start loosening their wallets to pay for it.

MySpace as a property of behemoth News Corporation is primed to be set up as a social portal with ties to entertainment content.  While Facebook numbers are compared to MySpace, the latter still gets about 55M monthly unique visitors, which isn't chopped liver.  I can see MySpace evolve as not a SNS but a media portal that serves as a platform for all forms of entertainment, building on MySpace Music and the MySpaceVideo-Hulu linkage.

My idea would be to create a social portal where users can search for professionally produced and high quality indie content and link them to their profiles and manage it with a good usability experience.  Allow users to interact with others on the basis of their [1] geographic proximities {e.g., Downtown Toronto, Eastbay, Williamsburg-Brooklyn, etc.} and [2] content-related affinities.

So, for music, I'm not a huge fan of Last.fm, but they do have the right idea for user experience::

I like the recommendations based on my favourites and the events recommended based on my geography.  If MySpace bought, integrated, or allowed access of third-parties in order to enrich the user experience in an environment chock full of entertainment content that can be searched in multiple ways {keyword, popularity, affinity, etc.} AND let users embed content or snippets of content {e.g., 30 seconds} on blogs, I'd so be there, as would many other users.

This could be for music, television, movie content, etc. Have a ton of free samples and streamed content available, but aggressively price digital content and make it easy and fast {better codecs, etc.} for the user to purchase premium content can be a path to cash that Facebook could only dream of as a social utility that tends to replicate finite existing social structures in real life {IRL}.  The key will be the user experience, both online and mobile, that would make MySpace once again relevant and a destination site.

Twitterversion:: News of #MySpace's death gr8ly exagrtd. A few ideas 4 a transition fr. SNS 2 sticky portal 4 ALL your entertainmnt needs. http://url.ie/2haa @Prof_K

Song:: One More Song For Your MySpace Page - A Heartwell Ending


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