I didn't know how to start this piece, or why I even attempted to write it. I guess it was the big news that Facebook had purchased Instagram for $1 billion dollars that sparked my mind to go in this direction. With the world of social media soaring at an all time high, I felt obligated to go back and visit the original bad boy of the Internet, MySpace.
When I was a sophomore in high school, MySpace was the shit. Facebook was just starting to pick up some steam, but it was nowhere near the popularity of MySpace. I never had an account and to be blunt I always thought just slutty girls and guys who wanted to see pictures of slutty girls were the only ones used the site. That year, it felt like everywhere you turned, someone was going on and on about MySpace and how “fucking awesome” it was. You could put your favorite music on your profile, comment on peoples shit, and try to build some useless connection base of followers and friends all with the click of your mouse. MySpace was a new concept for me, and I wasn't really trying to embrace it. I was 2 years removed from my Counter Strike and Diablo binge and was burnt out on the Internet. Everyday after middle school, I would come home and get on AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) with my friends and play CS. So when high school started, I backed off the web and tried to focus on my social life (hello drinking). My Friday nights would consist of drinking beers in a friends house behind their parents back, and talking about girls. Like me, at the time most of my friends didn't have a MySpace account. In drunken discussions, we kind of realized why we didn't. We adamantly believed that MySpace felt really cheap and disgusting. I can't really explain it in great detail, but it just gave off this shady classless vibe. So while we drank beers, got into all sorts of mischief, and enjoyed our first two years of freedom, the rest of the school got addicted to this new wave of social media.
Critics and journalists generally agree that the death of MySpace occurred on April 19th, 2008, when Facebook finally overtook them in the Alexa traffic rankings. The war Zuckerberg and his band of brothers waged on the MySpace regime were just too much for them to handle. The best way I can compare MySpace and Facebook is by referencing the recent Blackberry vs. iPhone war. Let me explain.
BlackBerry was “it” for people who wanted smart phones. It was the device that business people handled, they looked sexy, yet professional, and all the kids who had them felt important. If you didn't have a BlackBerry, you were basically a piece of shit. Then came the iPhone 3. It was unique looking, new, and had this reputation at first for being more of a toy then a phone. No one wanted to give up their “business persona” that the BlackBerry gave them
when the iPhone first hit shelves. About a year later you could feel the change slowly start to take place. The iPhone became cool. People who said they would never switch to a virtual keyboard, started migrating over, one by one. The end of BlackBerry's reign on top came officially was over when the iPhone 4 was released. Apple's design, advancement in technology, and the explosion of apps sealed BlackBerry's fate. After the dust settled, BlackBerry became the MySpace of the mobile world. Dull, old school and limited. Apple and Android now reign supreme, just like Facebook.
You can look up reports, crunch numbers and try to come up with all sorts of reasons why MySpace failed. Revenue, ad sales, the deal with Google, you name it. But for me, I have just have one theory that I think ultimately is the reason for the its downfall. I go back to the drunken conversation I had all those years back about the site. How it had no class, and just felt cheap. When Facebook came out, it was clean and upscale. There was no music bullshit element to it, and you couldn't see flashing pictures on people’s profile that said “princess”, or “fuck the world”. It was a place where people who wanted to get connected the right way came. While MySpace was flooded with loud music, blurry self-portraits, and pictures of hopped up Mazda’s; Facebook was connecting people minus the bullshit.
As the accounts started to jump ship, and head for Facebook, you could see the writing on the wall. MySpace was about to die a slow, painful, deserving death. Today I visit the “social entertainment” version of MySpace and can't help but feel creeped out. Browsing old abandoned profiles is like walking through a social media Chernobyl. I can still hear “A Milli” playing, and see pictures of Juelz Santana smoking a blunt, to remind me of a forgotten time. And while Facebook has expanded and tested the waters with timeline, apps and other platforms, we can all safely say, they will never ever be the next MySpace. The only remains of the loyal MySpace army left are the occasional Facebook straggler who just can't seem to let go of their flashing banners, and shitty music player.
The Death of MySpace
- Founded in 2003
- July 2005- NewsCorp purchases MySpace for $580 million
- August 9th,2006- MySpace's 100th million account was opened
- November 2007- MySpace joins Google's OpenSocial alliance
- 2007- MySpace at it's peak was valued at $12 billion
- April 19th, 2008- Facebook passes MySpace in the Alexa rankings
- June 2009- MySpace lays off 30% of its work force
- February 2011- It's reported that Advertisers stopped committing to long term contracts with MySpace
- February 2011- NewsCorp puts MySpace up for sale after major losses
- June 2011- MySpace is sold to Justin Timberlake and Specific Media for $35 Million