via NY Times
The challenge for Owen Van Natta and his boss Jonathan Miller is outlined in an article in Monday’s Times, summarized neatly by this chart showing that the country’s leading social networking service is now losing users.
The article points out that Mr. Van Natta, a former executive of Amazon and Facebook, has only six friends on MySpace. And in my experience in talking to technology executives, journalists and suburban parents, Facebook comes up frequently and MySpace never does. The only exceptions are my friends in the music industry, where every band still seems to have a MySpace page.
Clearly, my social set is hardly representative. ComScore finds MySpace has younger users with lower incomes than Facebook. When I spoke last fall at Ferris State University in western Michigan, a school that focuses on career training, the students I asked were split about evenly between Facebook and MySpace. (No one used Twitter.)
When I reread the article I wrote in 2006 about the high hopes News Corporation had for MySpace, I see a litany of ideas that didn’t pan out. The company wanted to make the site a portal for its own video; Hulu fills that need. It wanted to create a marketplace for person-to-person commerce, a more social eBay. There’s little sign of that outside of some music sales. And it’s not so clear that the site has continued to weave itself into the communications patterns of people.
So let’s bring the Bits readers into a bit of crowdsourced reporting. Do you use MySpace? Do you know anyone who does? Why? Please post your experience in the comments below.
We asked a similar question about AOL in September, and we learned that the service has quite a following, but the biggest reason is that people don’t want to change their e-mail addresses. “Inertia Rocks,” one reader wrote.
Clearly there is some inertia in social networking. You’ll be lonely if you are the first one of your friends to move to a new site (unless you live within 20 miles of University Avenue in Palo Alto, Calif., in which case you might be cool). But MySpace always had a bit of a disco feel to it, and I wonder if it is simply vulnerable to changing fashion. Three years ago, I quoted Heather Candella, a college student from Sloatsburg, N.Y., saying “When you meet someone, the question is not ‘What’s your number? It’s ‘What’s your MySpace?’ ”
Do any of you ask people any more “What’s your MySpace?”
Update | 2:11 p.m.
We’re up to 20 comments so far. The themes so far are:
- Most of my friends have moved to Facebook.
- MySpace is still great for finding new music.
Is there anyone who likes MySpace for a reason other than music?
Those of you who do use MySpace for music, tell us a little about what you do. Are you getting recommendations from friends about what to listen to? Or are you just looking up band pages? How do you find new bands on MySpace?
Update | 4:31 p.m.
There are some people who say that MySpace is a good place for meeting new people. Can anyone out there talk about how that is working. How do you use the site to find friends? Is it as good a way to do that as it was a year or two ago?