Russell Beattie’s post on Why MySpace Scares The Crap Out of Me made me laugh. I’m not sure if it was the title or just his honest admission that he doesn’t get it because he’s an older geek. Either way, it was a great example of making a blog post that creates emotion.
Regarding what he’s talking about, I think a lot of the over 30 generation probably doesn’t get Myspace. Being that I’m 29 years old I think I’m right on the border of whether I should be getting it or not. I think I do get it, I’ve used it and compared it to other social networking applications, and although it doesn’t seem to be that attractive or designed well, it works for it’s audience.
It’s not as pretty as some of it’s competitors, but it’s audience didn’t want pretty, it wanted the ability to easily customize their own page and do stuff like post music videos and ugly background images. Friendster didn’t allow that back when it was hot.
It also used a specific area (music) to grab a bigger foothold then if it was totally generic. Now it’s grown beyond music, but I think focusing there first allowed it to get a really loyal following that actually had utility for using the site. Friendster never had much use besides dating or meeting people. The initial core base of Myspace users were forming communities arounds bands, which built a strong core following.
They’ve done other things right, but I don’t think Myspace is going to last forever. I think there’s more of a future in vertical social networks where people have an easier time grouping around like-minded subjects in networks that are built with useful tools around those subjects. Myspace has had success being general with some music tools, but other hobbies and subjects could have sites built with tools to help their users while still having a social network.
Maybe Russell would get that?