Is MySpace losing its edge? A piece in the Washington Post entitled “In Teens’ Web World, MySpace is So Last Year” seems to suggest that it is. Teens say the social networking site is old news, and they are moving on to other things. Ironically, some of them seem to be moving to Facebook now that the formerly restricted site has opened itself up — something that critics said might lead to a loss of users (for what it’s worth, my 17-year-old daughter and all her friends have signed up with Facebook, and so have I).


This question of whether MySpace might fade in popularity has been going around for some time now. My friend Scott Karp wrote about it back in May, and coincidentally enough I wrote about it back then too, including a column in the Globe and Mail in which I compared social networks for teens to nightclubs, in the sense that there’s always a new one coming along (Cynthia Brumfield chooses a different metaphor that is just as apt: the TV show). Here’s what I wrote then, which is now behind a pay wall:

In the end, [Friendster] may simply have been a victim of the shifting enthusiasms of its young audience, who grew up and moved on. In many ways, social networking sites are like hot nightclubs — they become popular and then flame out as the hip crowd moves on, and they are very difficult to manufacture.

My friend Rob Hyndman has also written about MySpace and the social networking phenomenon, and wonders whether it isn’t time to question the received wisdom about how smart Rupert Murdoch’s acquisition of MySpace was. Maybe MySpace just isn’t cool because so many mainstream media outlets and unhip dads like myself are writing about it, or because it’s so popular. As Yogi Berra said about one of his favourite restaurants: “It’s so crowded no one goes there any more.”

About the author

Mathew 2430 posts

I'm a Toronto-based senior writer with Fortune magazine, and my favorite things to write about are social technology, media and the evolution of online behavior

28 Responses to “MySpace — so popular no one goes there”
  1. What’s scarier then electronic voting machines? * PayPerPost Is Now Officially Absurd * iPod -> Folder * Most Extreme Superyacht * Looking out for number one * ‘Antiwar’ and Other Fighting Words * MySpace — so popular no one goes there

  2. MySpace — so popular no one goes there via Mathew Ingram: mathewingram.com/work October 29th, 2006 at 17:29

  3. People are noticing a Washington Post report that the kids might be getting bored with MySpace and moving on. Imagine that, teenagers with short attention spans.

  4. members and interaction. Oh, and then there are metrics like revenue and ROI, but why should we worry about those, right? The difference today is that businesses care less about stickiness and more about the bottom line, and that’s a good thing. Mathew Ingram has posted some good commentary as well as a bunch of links to others discussing the issue. And for a blast from the past, check out Scott Karp’s post on the subject earlier this year when he wrote that he has “

  5. old blog*spot plus accounts, those of us stupid enough to pay $180/year for hosting back in 02 when the web was all “e” and sheep were nervous. Now they about pay you, what with the hoodie i got not too long ago. And I hear the washington post says myspace is losing it’s cool factor. Well let’s see, they haven’t actually DONE anything with MySpace yet, so I think that assessment might be a little early, and maybe when they DO actually do something that, you know, makes the site work, we might be surprised how hip it gets.

  6. subsonscious, and had me dreaming various assorted terrifying events. Sure, daylight savings time didn’t help either, but still. Why couldn’t I have read something generic about youtube? Or Something equally safe, like Matthew Ingram’s thoughts on the Un-coolness of MySpace? Tonight. Something reasonable. technorati tags:al-Quaeda, Canada, Daylight Savings Time

  7. [IMG] MySpace – so popular no one goes there

  8. […] There’s some interesting discussion about it as well. But in spite of the title of the article “In Teens Web World, MySpace is So Last Year”, the most fascinating part of the article isn’t MySpace. Its how it talks about how most social networks haven’t lasted; how one begets another, which begets yet another. […]

  9. […] Second, like TV producers do, the trick for the News Corps of the world “is figuring out where they go from here. They can’t just sit back and expect to rake in the dough, hoping that their hit sites stay hot. They have to move forward and leverage their hits to create the next big thing.” That’s an interesting idea, although I suspect that the process of ‘innovating’ (if that’s what it is) from a “Cheers” to a “Frasier” is considerably easier than innovating from a Web 1.0 hit to a 2.0 hit, or from a Web 2.0 hit to a 2.1 hit. After all, the notion of taking a popular actor (to use the Kelsey Grammar example) or story line (to use the Dick Wolf example), from one hit show to create another seems pretty darned obvious (very TV 1.0), and is more akin to merely knowing that if people dig peach-scented shampoo, they might also dig apple-scented shampoo. It’s not that hard to do if you already know how to make shampoo. And with the exception of a few serial entrepreneurs (who often move serially through quite unrelated ventures) I can’t think of one successful effort by anyone to parlay one hit web phenom into another – at least not on a notable scale. I may be wrong here, but if I’m not, I think it’s because the second kind of innovation (the web) is much harder than the first (related TV shows), and also because fundamentally the web audience – or at least this web audience – is just not portable in that way. For example, when Flickr breathes its last breath, where will its successor come from – the bowels of Yahoo!, or the basement of a 20-something who has very creatively – perhaps even Darwinianly from among the 50 other people who have also been trying to improve upon Flickr since it was released – happened upon ‘the next great thing’? As my friend Mathew notes, at least with social networking sites, success is very difficult to manufacture. […]

  10. They got their money out though. Problem is they may have messed this up for everybody.

  11. This trend also may support the case that online branding is almost an oxymoron, and we’ll see success and failure from innovation or the lack of it rather than keen marketing. Wouldn’t that be nice?

  12. That would be nice, Joe. I wouldn’t hold my breath though :-)

  13. Rupert Murdoch’s brightness can’t really be questioned here; he made his profit from the Google deal, and that’s all that was required to make the acquisition a success.

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  15. I suppose you’re right, Logan, except for the fact that Rupert hasn’t really made anything at all yet. The deal with Google was contingent on MySpace hitting various performance criteria.

  16. Wow, maybe this is why I got so many bizarre friend requests when I signed up for MySpace! The results were so funny I had to post them to my humor blog Say No to Crack tonight. I guess I should be moving to where all the cool kids go ;)

  17. […] MySpace — so popular no one goes there […]

  18. Mathew, I love your Yogi Berra quote applied to MySpace…”its so popular no one goes there anymore.” That is the problem with making huge long term investments in fad businesses…they may not stay popular long enough to earn back your investment.

    Google paid $1.65B for YouTube…which will require generating $150M in profits every year FOREVER just to break even. That translates into about $500M in annula revenues to generate the required $150M in profits. Forever is a very long time.

    Don Dodge

  19. […] The Washington Post headline warns "In Teens Web World, MySpace Is So Last Year".  That is the problem with businesses built on fashion and fads…they change so quickly you can be left heavily invested and suddenly out of favor.  Mathew Ingram puts a Yogi Berra spin on this saying "MySpace so popular – no one goes there anymore". […]

  20. […] MySpace — so popular no one goes there » Mathew Ingram: mathewingram.com/work (tags: myspace facebook popular teens trends fads) […]

  21. I think there’s a distinction between what’s hip and hot and what’s massively popular. MySpace is the #6 most popular website on the Internet, according to Alexa.

    That said, I think there’s absolutely a hunger for something newer and hipper and less gorged by the corporate beast, and there are dozens of start-ups falling all over themeselves trying to meet that need.

  22. Anyone else having bother with myspace or is it just my pc?
    Last couple of days it seems it wont let me download any song from anywhere.
    Anyone having same bother – or anyone how to sort it?

  23. Myspace si so boring i don’t even go on any more i go on facebook or my e-mail to see if i have any comment ao friend request whenever i go on myspace i change my background



  26. Bored with MySpace? Get active with Cinnaminta.

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