If the whole replacement refs debacle didn’t have you flabbergasted on Monday night (and even if it did), you might have noticed an interesting bit of social media news start flying around the networks.
Oh yes. MySpace is making a comeback.
Justin Timberlake, along with Chris and Tim Vanderhook, purchased the once-giant social media site last year, whereupon Timberlake announced that he was going to devote some serious time to brainstorming ideas for the site’s future.
Then, on Monday, Timberlake just tossed a tweet out there , linking to a video. “THIS IS MYSPACE.”
So there are some interesting things happening here. We all probably remember MySpace exactly how we left it back around 2006: full of clunky boxes and, toward the end, loud, glittering, animated .gifs. The design was really awful. Those were the early days of Facebook, too, and it was still a much sleeker platform by comparison.
But now, looking at the new face of MySpace in this video, it’s hardly recognizable as the site we once knew and loved. And that’s the point: this MySpace could potentially compete in a league of social platforms focused on visual appeal. To me, a lot of the screen shots and captures in the video were more than just vaguely reminiscent of Pinterest. And why wouldn’t they be? That’s been the social network of 2012.
But visual, while clearly a focus, isn’t the focus. This new MySpace is reportedly placing most of its efforts on the creative community, connecting artists with their fans. Specifically, the new MySpace is a place for music fans to come together, share playlists and interact with their favorite artists and bands. Much of the content will be music-based. Those same fans can also be featured on the artists’ pages from time to time, as well.
On paper, this new MySpace sounds pretty cool, but could nostalgia be more at play here than we might first realize? From reboots of old television shows and movies to programming and content aimed at bringing back the originals, much of the entertainment industry lately has hinged upon our collective nostalgia.
Timberlake, himself, invokes a certain sense of nostalgia, doesn’t he? Plenty of us still remember him as the singer with the mop of curly hair in the massively popular boy band N’SYNC. For many of us in our 20s and 30s, we took an interest in his acting and solo music career because he reminded us of our youth.
But he’s also been very successful in that transition, so some might say he’s the perfect person for such an undertaking as this.
We haven’t seen this nostalgia factor happen with social media quite so much yet, but social platforms – at least as we currently know them – are so new that it’s only a matter of time.
Maybe this is the time. Maybe we’re getting excited because someone is taking something old, something that we used to love, and making it new again. And we’re just far enough removed from MySpace to remember only the good times, so we’re excited to see what lies ahead.
MySpace could have a very successful run, but ultimately, once that need to indulge in nostalgia is met, will the novelty wear off? After all, the site is still going to be competing against Facebook, which was largely responsible for MySpace’s all-but-disappearance. And now it’s also got Twitter, Google+, YouTube, and others to count among its worthy competitors. Social sites are much more prevalent than they were the last time we really saw MySpace.
What’s more, artists are already connecting with their fans on current platforms. Twitter is perhaps the most popular means of breaking down that wall that stands between the artists and the fans, but many of them are interacting on Facebook and other sites, as well. MySpace is really going to have to offer something revolutionary – something that will not only keep the fans going there exclusively to get their fix, but something that will also lead the artists away from the sites they’re currently using.
And then there’s Spotify. In addition to a number of other music-based social sites and programs, Spotify has really taken the world of social music by storm in the last year. One of the new MySpace’s advertising points is the ability to share artists and playlists with your friends, but this is something we’ve been able to do on Spotify for a while. What will be the draw to abandon the musical bubble you’ve created for yourself on Spotify or Pandora and run back to MySpace?
So much remains to be seen, and developments will certainly be revealed as they become available. Will MySpace come back with a vengeance? Or will it start off strong and fade back into oblivion once the novelty wears off?
Are you excited for the new MySpace? Tired of too many social networks to keep track of? Please feel free to sound off in the comments. We’d love to hear your thoughts!