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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Whatever Happened to MySpace?

Not too long ago, you couldn't navigate the wide waters of the Internet without seeing a reference to MySpace or hearing about one of your friends' latest posts, someone else's latest post or something. Heck, not too long ago, I was OCD about Mobsters and a couple of other MySpace games.
My name is X and I was a Mobsters addict...

I needed an intervention.

The appeal of MySpace - at least for me - was that you could customize your profile with cool wallpaper, section it off to let your friends know your deep, dark secrets - at least what movies you liked and what books you read; you could even embed some cool music and take advantage of a few other neat features. It was the Internet equivalent of getting a tattoo. Deeply personal, in that, "Hey, look at me; I'm cool," sort of way. You've noticed by now that although I've highlighted MySpace, I haven't linked to it. Sorry, no can do...

After a couple of months, I started noticing something: although there were older people like me on MySpace, a lot of the people I played against or happened to chat with were young - a lot younger than me. And while it's cool to hang out with young people and vicariously relive that time in your life, conversations that begin with, "How old are you?" don't typically go very high on the intellect scale. I'm not an intellectual; I don't even play one on television. It's just that, for the most part, tastes in music, movies, life, and discussions about socially relevant topics don't come off very well on MySpace, especially when one of the conversants complains, "This is like arguing with my dad!"

Me leaving MySpace is probably the Internet equivalent of pulling your finger out of the ocean. The water quickly closes over the hole and there is no sign that your finger was ever in the water. I doubt anyone is sitting around, these several years later saying, "Gee, whatever happened to X; that guy was cool."

No; I'm not really cool. But this train of thought got me wondering. If I eventually found MySpace to be a bit of a bore, packing up and taking my social media presence to FaceBook (and Blogger), I wonder if anyone else did? In fact, I wondered if MySpace was still out there, chugging away on the Internet, signing up indie musicians, rebel teens and old folks looking to be hip just one more time.

The answer appears to be yes, and no.

According to a list I found on Wikipedia highlighting social networking sites with more than 100 million users, MySpace isn't cutting the mustard; it's not on the list at all. Unsurprisingly, FaceBook is king with a reported number of active users exceeding 800 million. That's pep. 800 million-plus active users. Not just people that signed up to see what all the fuss was about - people signing in and doing business.

The remainder of the list - which contains only thirteen sites - is made up of a few I've heard of like Windows Live, Twitter, LinkedIn, and the new kid on the block, Google+. The remainder are a complete blank to me. Has anyone checked their Vkontakte account lately? Apparently more than 140 million users have; at least as of October 2011.

Vkontakte - In contact is the loose translation - is considered to be a FaceBook clone popular in Russia and a few of the ex-Soviet republics.

                            From Russia, with like...

Take that, MySpace.

But don't be sad, according to one social networking survey I stumbled on, MySpace is still ranked a respectable number 2, behind FaceBook and ahead of several others that appear to have a more active subscriber base. So, at least according to TopTen Reviews, MySpace is still relevant for a segment of the population. It just appears that it's an ever-decreasing segment.

And if you link to the survey page, you'll even notice that, across the top of the page is the prompt:


I think that's a more telling statistic than the entire survey report ever will be...

What do you think about social networking? Where are you hanging out?


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