MySpace is a social networking website that boasted over 60 million users at its height of popularity, and was easily one of the largest websites of all time. The site was generally known as a meeting place for kids, a marketing venue for bands and celebrities, and a hunting ground for creeps. Thanks to that last one, it figured prominently into Dateline's To Catch a Predator series, as Perverted Justice used it to attract potential child molesters. It allowed anyone to make and customize a kind of mini-webpage about themselves, and though some users managed to make their pages sleek and interesting, others abused this creative freedom and their pages were plagued by eye-stabbing graphics◊ and loud MP3s. Naturally, the site became more famous for the poorly-constructed pages.
It was the most popular site around in the mid-2000s, and is arguably the primary vehicle for the rise of social networking in general, but despite its once-explosive popularity, the site has dwindled down to a barren wasteland as fickle users have almost completely abandoned it for its competitor, Facebook. Long gone are the days when Tom Anderson, founder and practically the mascot of MySpace, would automatically add new users. In fact, he was fired from the company in 2009. After a change in management in 2010, it attempted to reinvent itself as "Social Entertainment", with more of an emphasis on entertainment than social networking. It then massively overhauled its homepage and new profile layouts, changed its logo, and then attempted to force longtime users with original 1.0 profiles to upgrade. This was all done to try and attract more people to the site, which had steadily been losing traffic for a long time, though it ended up having the opposite effect, making its owners at the time, News Corp., quite agitated.
Most of the remaining users weren't too happy about the changes, not just because of the messy new layout that slowed down many computers, but also because users were then spammed by friend requests by "celebrities" as part of their new We're Still Relevant, Dammit!-style marketing approach. In December 2010 and for the next several months they allowed different celebrities to "hijack" the site in an effort to attract the celebrity's fans. After huge outcries of They Changed It, Now It Sucks!, MySpace agreed to allow users to get their 1.0 profiles back by "downgrading" (1.0 profiles always gave much more freedom to edit and personalize, when using the right layout codes, hence hardly anyone ever "upgraded" from them unless forced to). Some time after the site was sold they eventually did finally force the 3.0 upgrades on every profile, but by then there weren't very many people left to complain about it.
It still attracted a fair share of role players even long after the decline began, since the site was friendlier toward and more suited for RPing than Facebook (which, despite playing host to a small community of RPers, still tends to delete RP profiles when bought to their attention; in contrast, MySpace didn't seem to care). But even then, by early 2011 most of them had flocked to other sites like Roleplayer.me and OneWorldRolePlay, which more closely resemble the MySpace of 2006 and even support the same 1.0 profile layouts. The related Character Blog community was then inherited by Tumblr and Twitter.
After failing to bring in more traffic with its Retool, News Corp. finally sold the site in July 2011 to a company called Specific Media for a mere $35 million.note Justin Timberlake acquired a large stake in the site as well as a say in its creative direction, which for the next year or so seemed to be following the same "Social Entertainment" path it was already on. In late 2012, the new owners finally tried to revamp the site, calling it "The New MySpace", and basically copying Facebook's timeline feature (scrolling horizontally rather than vertically). Users have to make brand new profiles to access it though. "Classic" (as in post-2010) MySpace was still available for several months, but as with previous retools, it was little surprise that this was eventually discontinued and users were forced to make new profiles anyway. In a most controversial move, MySpace also deleted all the existing blogs, comments, and messages (or at least made them inaccessible) without any warning whatsoever, which did not amuse the remaining fanbase. In 2019, MySpace made headlines again by losing 12 years worth of music stored on the site during a server migration. It has been speculated that this was probably because they couldn't be bothered with the cost of saving millions of old MP3s, though the company claims it was an accident. This makes MySpace a case study for the "digital dark ages", a concept which postulates very little of today's history will be preserved for future generations due to data loss incidents such as this.
The modern MySpace is still a social networking website, but one with a heavy focus on music. On that front, some people seem to think that the new incarnation is actually pretty good for musicians. Time will tell if it ever makes a comeback.
Fourteen (and counting) Ways To Fit In With The Rest of MySpace
- Lie about your age. Join the growing trend of teenagers who are 69 years old!
- Grab a generic profile template off any of the random MySpace graphics sites available online! note
- List your income as over $250,000, and watch your friends squirm! (If you're called on it, make a joke about exchange rates!)
- Post a bulletin prompting other users to add "MySpace Legends"!
- Take a photo of yourself in the mirror holding a cameraphone!
- Take a photo of yourself holding your camera in your outstretched arm while you mug for the camera!
- And for triple bonus points, do a Fat Girl Angle Shot. Barring that, a standard Duckface maneuver will do. Just make sure that, if done in the bathroom, this isn't directly in front of the toilet, especially if you didn't flush yet.
- Use any combination of the following: massively large pictures that take 15 minutes to load, scrolling banners, event posters or automatic music players! Bonus points if the default song is a terribly-produced demo from a random emo-pop, post-hardcore, metalcore, or deathcore act that blasts the hapless viewer's ears as soon as they open your page while their browser struggles to load the rest before it eventually crashes!
- Create fake drama by pretending that your friend committed suicide!
- Add a fake celebrity or Tila Tequila as your friend!note
- For bonus edgy points, add a different, less mainstream porn star!
- Add Over Nine Thousand apps, and watch your bulletins overflow with app-generated bulletins!
- Constantly post chain letters!
- ...and of course, have a MySpace page that you haven't updated since sometime in 2008 (but with its old layout completely gone due to the upgrades, naturally).
This website provides examples of:
- Cap: Towards 2010, MySpace introduced an inbox that counted the number of unread messages, but only counted up to 999. People who had been careless with their messages for several years now had to go back and finally clean out their inboxes.
- Character Blog: Just about every fictional character ever could be found on the site.
- Defeat Means Friendship: MySpace eventually admitted defeat to Facebook, and allowed its users to sync their MySpace profiles with their Facebook profiles.
- MySpace creator Tom Anderson says he is quite fond of Facebook and he prefers Facebook nowadays since his leave in 2009.
- Dying Town: The Internet equivalent, if its Alexa score is anything to go by.
- Interface Screw: While good profile designs do exist, Sturgeon's Law dictates that bad profile designs (which have since been passed on to Tumblr users) will exist as well. And when they do, MySpace's site structure usually makes it so they will come off as this, as it allows potential profile builders to tinker a bit too much with the essential bits.
- Interface Spoiler: The "Smoke/Drink" section of a user's profile. The only way to hide the fact that you do one or the other was to not list either entry. Anyone who put down "N/A" for one entry and "Yes" or "No" for the other could be safely assumed to do the thing listed as "N/A".
- Implacable Man: Even if you unfriended Tom, he always came back on your friend list with no warning. It may have taken a bit, but he was never permanently gone.
- New Media Are Evil: It was once ground zero for pedophile hunters, and the media portrayed it as a sexual predator hotspot, mainly thanks to Dateline. Facebook, for some odd reason, has avoided this stigma, even though it has far more people than MySpace did at its height.
- Serious Business: On the old version of the site, serious drama arose over the placement of a friend in the "Top 8". If one of your best friends wasn't number one, or even on the Top 8, there could be hell to pay if they were petty enough to get mad over it (and many people were). And when you delete someone from your friends list, you might as well be punching them in the gut. Eventually, MySpace allowed users to make it a Top 12, 16, 20 or any increment of 4 up to 36, so you had much less of a problem (unless you had 37 friends with really thin skins), though some have argued that this made it less relevant.