Between all of the Influencers, complicated dance routines, hashtags, and viral videos, today’s social media is quite different from where it started. For most of us, social media started with MySpace. While MySpace is not the first social media platform to exist, it is definitely one of the most influential of all time. It also set the tone for all of the platforms that exist today.
What is Myspace?
If you don’t remember Myspace, you either lived under a rock, or you are too young to know anything about it. MySpace was the most complex and innovative social media platform of its time. Myspace allowed you to send a friend request to people all over the globe, whether you knew them or not, and your first friend was Tom Anderson.
Tom, who was the original holder of the number 1 spot on your Top 8 friends list, started the company along with Chris DeWolfe and Brad Greenspan back in 2003. The trio, impressed with some of the features they saw on Friendster, decided to create their own version, tweaking parts of Friendster they didn’t like or thought could be better.
How big did Myspace get?
From 2005 to 2008, the company rose quickly in popularity. First, it was acquired by News Corporation in 2005 for about $580 million. Then, in January 2006, one year after the acquisition, MySpace had 200,000 new users signing up per day. The year after that, the platform saw 320,000 unique users per day. Myspace became the most visited website in the USA, beating both Google and Yahoo. By late 2007 Myspace was considered the leading social networking site. The platform was valued at $12 Billion, and it consistently beat its main competitor Facebook in traffic volume.
What made Myspace so ionic?
In my opinion, there were a few things that made MySpace the number one platform of all time. First, Myspace was different because it was customizable; not one user had the same page.
Because of the customizable aspects of the platform, MySpace caused my generation to become HTML coding experts. You could customize everything on the platform, from the look of the comments you left to the effects you could add to your profile. If someone asked me to code a MySpace page right now, I’m sure I wouldn’t know where to start, but in 2006 I was coding my page and often coding pages for friends after they saw the cool new features I learned how to embed to my profile. I am confident that Myspace is responsible for at least half of the coders we have today.
Second, Myspace revolutionized the way we thought about taking photos. Myspace was the first platform whose whole ecosystem was built around the user, starting at the creation of your profile. Your profile included necessary information like your name, your birthday, and where you lived, but it also allowed users to upload multiple photos and store them in various albums to share with your friends.
It was because of this feature we got what we now acknowledge as the “selfie.” With most phones during this time including cameras and disposable cameras being replaced by digital ones, all you need to do was find a mirror, hold up the peace signs, or make duck lips to capture the perfect profile picture.
Third, MySpace monetized its site. Myspace was the first to allow advertisers to try behavioral targeting with users. Advertisers could select who saw their ads based on the massive amounts of data Myspace collected.
The End of An Era
As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end, which was ultimately the case for Myspace. Some blame the end of the platform on the $900 million advertising contract with Google because they believe it forced users off of the platform — which is ironic because there are ads on every platform we use today — while others blame it on the rise of Facebook’s popularity. While the platform as we knew it no longer exists, the core of what made Myspace work is remnant in the platforms we use today!