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What I Learned From MySpace

I was not an early adopter to Facebook. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I had even heard of it. I was an avid MySpace user.

I’ll admit it. I used to LOVE MySpace.

I was obsessed with updating my profile and customizing it to my liking. For fear of wasting too much time online, I deleted my account at the end of my senior year. I shortly made a new one thinking I would go back. After creating a second account I then went off to college. The first day on campus, I learned it was “uncool” to be on MySpace, thus conformed to peer pressure and turned to Facebook.

I haven’t logged into my account for quite a while now but today, decided to take a peek at what I was or was not missing out on.

When I logged in, to my surprise, found that many of my high school friends and people from my hometown of Oak Harbor, Washington are still active users of the service.  I began to think about how I had ridiculed people for still using MySpace, but had forgotten to dig deeper into why they are still there and not on Facebook.

Even though an avid Facebook user now, MySpace taught me a lot about:

Class differences:

Facebook was originally for college students. This meant the service would spread first among the college educated and slowly move on to other networks. While Oak Harbor was a great place to grow up in, a large percentage of the city was not college educated. The Oak Harbor demographic latched onto the MySpace platform. It was rare for to go to Oak Harbor High School and not have a MySpace account. As a marketer, it is interesting to see the appeal of one service over the other, and how each service has reached different audiences. Looking back, I can more prominently see why someone from a different class would choose MySpace over Facebook.

HTML:

MySpace was my first baby step towards being a geek. Prior to having an account, I had never been interested in the Internet. MySpace helped me develop my HTML skills by allowing me hack away at my profile. The instant gratification of creating something visual appealing, spurred my interest in a variety of web related topics.

Alternative Creative Outlets: MySpace showed me how the Internet can be used a creative outlet. As a child, I never had the patience to learn an instrument, excel at a sport, or create art.  MySpace let me customize my page in a way that allowed me to show others who I was and what I was thinking. Even though now, I never shut up, in high school I was very shy and found it hard to express myself to others. MySpace let me display my creativity in such a way I felt comfortable sharing with others.

Blogging

My first blog was on MySpace. Being able to write what I was feeling or what I thought about a given subject was empowering and I liked it.

Viral Messages

Messages travel fast through online communities. I was intrigued by how a message could be spread around the Internet and a social group so quickly. It didn’t take more than few hours for teenage drama to be created and resolved through this medium alone. MySpace taught me a lot about word of mouth and the power of friend referrals. Even though many people may think this service should be ignored while implementing new marketing campaigns I still believe there is an active community of users that should be considered when trying to launch a new product or service. The MySpace community has a much different demographic than Facebook and while the service is still being utilized shouldn’t be forgotten.

 

3 comments

  1. Have you heard of danah boyd? She’s done a bunch of research on different social networks and has also made some claims about the class differences on myspace and facebook. She works for MS Research as of recently so I’m guessing she’s local-ish now, too.

  2. No I haven’t, but I’m following her now on Twitter. 😉 Thanks for the suggestion. Looks like she’s in Boston. I’ll go check out some of her work!

  3. Way to write down the things that you learned. I’m glad to say that I never caved into MySpace. In other words, I won’t friend you, simply because I can’t. LOL!

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