No Place Like MySpace
In less than two years, MySpace.com has morphed from unadvertised haven for young bards to share their musical talents to a youth-oriented social networking phenomenon with upwards of 32 million registered hipster members. The insight into the young mind has never been so accessible.
|MySpace: The Online Hangout Destination of Choice|
Editor’s Note: Internet social networks make the Web a smaller, more manageable world for users. Youngsters, especially, are embracing the far-reaching arms of these networks as they arise. Will the success or insight provided by social networks like MySpace.com influence your e-business practices? Tell us about it at WebProWorld.
News Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch was quick to notice. After lambasting the traditional media’s reluctance to embrace online content, the media mogul led a $580 million News Corp. buyout of MySpace.com from parent company Intermix Media last July.
Though News Corp. vowed not to make any changes to this beloved online hangout, the move drew tremendous criticism not only from MySpace.com members, who feared corporate influence and monetization, but even from former Intermix CEO Brad Greenspan. Greenspan rallied a group of investors to offer Intermix $13.50 per share for MySpace, $1.50 per share more than News Corp.’s offer. The offer was rejected.
Tom Anderson created MySpace.com in late 2003 to offer up a place for aspiring musicians and bands to share their music and concert locations. By the end of summer 2005, 32 million socially networked users, most of whom are under 22, were logging in at an average of twice a week, with a peer network consisting of an average of 68 friends. MySpace.com is the fourth most visited domain on the Internet, trailing only Yahoo!, MSN, and eBay.
MySpace’s Dani Dudeck tells WebProNews that up to 130,000 new members join the site every day, totaling 3 million new members per month. Offering advertisers 9.5 billion page views in June, the site recently helped launch music album world premieres from bands like Nine Inch Nails, Weezer, Audioslave, and Black Eyed Peas. The Nine Inch Nails release alone resulted in a half million user streams in one week.
You can see why MySpace.com has garnered some attention. A new world has evolved providing nearly limitless insight into the motivations of one of the most profitable consumer groups as well as pulse reading for the future of online and tech trends.
MySpace.com has replaced the shopping mall, the CD store, the local Subway, as a hangout. The current generation of young people are turning to computer screens, cell phones, instant messaging, and online social networking for support and sharing common interests. In fact, it is reflective of a culture that doesn’t trust big media, big business, or authority. The youngsters throwing themselves into this online culture, simply put, trust each other.
The website has gotten even more attention recently due to the tragic murder of 17-year-old Taylor Behl. Behl, who regularly blogged about her life at her MySpace.com personal website, disappeared during her first week of college. Her community of online friends have wished her (spirit) and her family well in a string of comments after her last entry announcing her move to Richmond, Virginia, to begin college life.
While MySpace and sites like it are common knowledge to the world’s youth, today’s adults are as clueless about these realms as our parents were about Twisted Sister and Hammer pants. Even E-business pros are surprised at what the youth are telling them.
After last week’s Web 2.0 conference, a few bloggers have noted that one of the more interesting sessions involved a small panel of teens assembled for questioning to better understand “What Teens Want.”
The crowd was surprised to find out that while teens typically won’t pay for music, they will pay up to $50 per month for ringtones. This is consistent with information from a Guardian article reporting that teens spend about that much in the UK.
Teens are checking multiple news sources for information (a supposed reflection of an inherent distrust of sources), and are equally as vigilant when it comes to comparison shopping, often checking several sites before making a purchase decision.
These same teens may also be indicative of future trends. When asked about how they’d go about searching for CD player information, the blogger consensus on the matter is that these teens answered with blank faces.
“They looked at him in silent puzzlement, as if to say, why would we buy a CD player?'” recounts Jeffrey McManus. And this could be their way of saying that CD’s are going the way of the 8-track.
And then there’s a new tech-etiquette evolving. Did you know it was rude to phone a friend with something so mundane as a question about homework? It’s more socially acceptable to shoot an instant message-at least according to this telling list of teen tech-trends.
MySpace.com, and social networking sites like it that pop up, should be of extreme interest to e-marketers as they not only deliver the motivations and preferences of a hot demographic, but also serve as key indicators of growing trends, and future behaviors of whole consumer groups.