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.”