The New Myspace has been launched with a decidedly under the radar approach. Many people believe that Myspace lost popularity due to Facebook but the reason may be a little more complicated. Trends in social media consumption suggest that users of Web 2.0 have multiple accounts on different sites which contradicts the belief that FB was responsible for the demise of Myspace. Perhaps it is more an instance of what happens when sites that are used to promote local independent culture are co-opted by multinationals and then used to further promote the careers of entertainers who already have media saturation.
A few stats on MySpace. It was created in 2003 and developed out of the local music scene in Los Angeles and was the largest social media site in the world from 2004-2008. It was purchased by News Corp in 2005 for $580m and sold to Specific Media, which is partially owned by Justin Timberlake for $35m in 2011.
Specific Media have demonstrated a deeper understanding of the site than previous owner Newscorp, as they realise that Myspace and Facebook do not offer the same user experience and instead of trying to compete with Facebook, have decided to focus on music, as this has always been the strength of the site. An official launch date for The New Myspace has not been announced as plans are to offer membership on a rolling basis by invitation, presumably taking the Gmail approach and trying to generate demand by limiting access and creating a sense of exclusivity. Invites to join the new site will be sent to Myspace loyalists, a necessary development, as login details from the old site are not recognised by the new site.
Potential users can also provide their email address to receive an invite to the new site. However, the invite is not immediately generated and after providing an email address, users are not granted any additional information as to when an invitation will be forthcoming. Alternatively, The New Myspace sign in page states that users can sign up for the new site through Twitter or Facebook, but based on personal experience, once the user provides permission for The New Myspace to access these accounts, entrance is not granted to the site and repeated attempts to connect result in a blank page pop up. Whether this is a programming error or a deliberate tactic, it does not bode well for building a positive relationship with potential users.
Barring access to previous members, even temporarily, does not seem like a viable tactic for building a sense of community. Nor does the practice of collecting email addresses or access privileges and then neglecting to offer any confirmation or means for follow-up. While The New Myspace has made several dynamic choices to differentiate itself from the Newscorp created virtual ghost town that Myspace has become, treating users in such a disposable fashion neglects to acknowledge the collective power of the online community, generated one click at a time.