What’s MySpace?

MySpaceA couple weeks ago, my wife and I were on a road trip through northern California when we decided to stop for lunch in a little town named Eureka. I couldn’t help but notice (and overhear) a few grandmas sitting in a booth across the way. They were very engaged in a lively conversation about sharing photos with daughters/grandkids.

One in particular was explaining how she preferred to use Facebook over MySpace because of her preference for how picture sharing works on Facebook.┬áBut then, one of the other grandmas interrupted and asked: “What’s MySpace?” Good question, I thought to myself, what is MySpace?

I haven’t been to MySpace in months (years?). I didn’t even join MySpace until after Facebook and Twitter. My main reason for joining was to see what I was missing. As it turns out, not much. I was first annoyed by how they sent my password over email followed shortly thereafter by my first friend request being spam. But then, just browsing profiles made me dizzy.

So what is MySpace again? The logo I’m using in this post (which I captured circa 2008) says “a place for friends”, though they’ve since dropped that apparently. I thought, then, what better place to figure out what MySpace is than MySpace itself. They’ve got to have an about page, right? Not that I could find. The closest thing to an about page seems to be only available after you click “Sign Up!” (something I rarely click before knowing what a website is).

When you click “Sign Up!”, you get a nice little “Why Signup for MySpace?” blurb. The first reason is in all caps and bolded with a smiley face: “It’s FREE!” You know, the most convincing argument made for why you should sign up for anything… in 1995.

The next three reasons appear to be more promising:

  • Share your photos albums & videos
  • Stay in touch with friends & family
  • Find old classmates & co-workers

But back to the grandma in the restaurant.┬áThe interesting thing there was what wasn’t said. You see, she knew what Facebook was and didn’t need to ask. (That was part of the discussion prior to MySpace coming up.) But as soon as MySpace came up, she needed an explanation. And what explanation does MySpace give? See above. For a grandma who’s never used it, it probably sounds a lot like a Facebook clone.

And therein lies the problem: MySpace is now a Facebook clone for those who’ve never used anything but Facebook for social networking. What’s worse, if this crowd were ever to get as far as to actually use MySpace, I’m betting they’d be pretty disappointed. MySpace probably does have something about it that makes it different or better in some way, but I couldn’t figure it out quickly enough to mention it here.

If anyone out there wants to let me — and the rest of the Facebook-using world — know why we should use MySpace, feel free to comment below. Otherwise, let’s all wave goodbye together.