First, Greg Yardley tells an anecdote of his subway ride with teen girls talking about Myspace and how common it seemed to them. I can share Greg’s experience since a couple of days ago I was in a public library and when I walked through the young adult section all four available computers were filled with teenagers playing on Myspace, and none of them appeared to know each other or be friends. It struck me that I’ve never seen such ubiquitous use of one site when I’ve walked by a set of computers before in a public place, and I was also glad my tax dollars were allowing teens to do some important social networking.
The next post is from Jim Kurkal at Revenews. He predicts Myspace will fail within 3 years or less. Three years is a lot in internet time, so he’s definitely allowing for enough time for social networking to run it’s course or have a competitor take the lead. It’d be a gutsier prediction if it was a year or two, but still a bit of a gutsy prediction. Is he right? Well, it’s impossible to know, but I do disagree with some of his points.
1. Janet’s boob, part II.
Jim says something bad will happen on Myspace like a murder of a teen or sexual assault. If I’m not mistaken, this has already happened. I wouldn’t be surprised if Myspace did have to tighten the membership requirements in some way as he suggests. Will this kill it or take the fun out of it? I don’t really think it will. People will jump through hoops to use something they want to use.
2. Everyone grows up eventually.
True, but won’t younger teens also get older? I’m sure the current Myspace generation may move on to more business-oriented sites like Jim mentions, but there are also new teenagers every day. Perhaps there will be a better social networking site by then, tough to know for sure. Of course, Google Search was the hot thing with the cool geeks years ago and people were predicting that a new search engine would come along and take over. Or that the new generation of the web would use something else. Well, people are still using Google. I think one thing people aren’t considering is what if Myspace improves? Nobody seems to think that they could actually change/improve their service, or offer more useful features.
3. It’s lame. Sorry, but it is boring and lame. I’m 34-years-old, and I think Myspace is lame.
Well, that’s good. Jim isn’t really Myspace’s target audience. Obviously there are millions of users who don’t think it’s lame. So, I’m not really sure people older than it’s audience thinking it’s lame is a reason it will fail. My dad thinks eBay is too confusing, but I think eBay is doing just fine without him.
4. Better options will become available.
This could definitely happen. But not only does it have to be better, it has to get the userbase to make it useful. I’d argue there are already BETTER options. They just don’t have the momentum and audience, and when it comes to social networking, you have to be where your friends are.
5. The narcs will move in.
They are and it will continue. But for the majority of users, I’m not sure this matters. I’m sure it will cause headaches for the Myspace team, but unless it causes them to dramatically change the way the service works, it might not be a problem.
In summary, I don’t think Jim is necessarily wrong in his prediction. There are a lot of things that could happen that would cause Myspace to fail, but by no means do I think it’s a sure thing.