Do you have a MySpace account? Better question: Did you have a MySpace account? Most users who haunted MySpace in their early teen years secretly hope that a selective computer virus will someday gnaw away every crumb of their old profile – the glittery .gifs, the pop music embeds, the angst over parental rules that are “sooooo unfair.”
Once upon a time, MySpace was an ideal venue for young teens who needed a small corner of the Web in which to store their thoughts and images. Now, it’s regarded as a relic of early social networking, a has-been social media resource that’s hemorrhaging its user base. ReadWrit Web has an excellent write-up about the decline of MySpace. Simply put, MySpace’s target audience was outgrowing the site, even when the article was penned in 2009.
Here we are, barreling through 2011. Is there still a chance MySpace will be mentioned in the same breath as Facebook and Twitter, or should we simply turn away while it dies with whatever dignity it has left?
MySpace’s chances for survival, let alone recapturing its former popularity, are not so hot. Earlier in the month, Zynga announced that it’s pulling its hugely popular social game, Mafia Wars, from MySpace. Other social games companies, including RockYou and Playdom, have already removed all or most of their social offerings from the site that Tom built.
MySpace’s loss is Facebook’s gain. As long as social gaming remains popular, and as long as Zynga and Facebook remain paired up, the popularity of both should stay pretty secure. Facebook isn’t all about gaming, but its offer of thousands of free games is undeniably one of its strongest assets. MySpace’s inability to hang on to social game developers just makes the network seem all the more dated and ill. Rupert Murdoch has been trying to unload MySpace without much success, which is pretty telling.
Nevertheless, MySpace probably won’t darken forever, at least not in the near future. Currently, the site seems to be promoting itself as a celebrity showcase, which isn’t a bad idea given the large quantity of indie musicians who promote their work through the network. Rebranding is probably the only way MySpace will survive in any capacity: Given the mass exodus of users and games alike, direct competition with Facebook is out of the question.
As an aside, we’ll end with a bit of friendly advice to MySpace: Friend, drop the “My[_____]” moniker. It’s unattractive, to say the least. We know what it means, but we can’t help but read it as, “My Blank,” or, “My Square Bracket.”