Talking tech since 2003

Just a matter of years ago, MySpace was the place to be on the Internet.  Anyone who was anybody had an account, and the social network seemed to grow with each passing day.  However after the mainstream takeoff of Facebook, MySpace was soon left in the dust – much like Friendster, the social network that was dominant in the pre-MySpace era.  In fact, News Corp., the company that purchased MySpace in 2005, laid off about a quarter of its workforce just a matter of months ago, and more recently publicized the fact that they would be willing to sell off the social networking site altogether.  However, MySpace has undergone significant changes in recent days; changes that are obviously focused on keeping MySpace “hip” and maintaining (if not increasing) their user-base and ultimately the site’s value.  As part of this modernization process, MySpace has put a significant emphasis on an industry that is near and dear to just about everyone.  The mobile web.

You see, in October, MySpace began the process of re-branding themselves and completely overhauled their website.  While an effort to improve the website was definitely a wise move in trying to salvage the site, a recent announcement that one-third of MySpace visits are conducted via mobile Internet gave the company the justification to begin expanding their mobile reach.

What this means is that as of yesterday, MySpace has a completely redesigned mobile website.  This website will give users the ability to stay in touch with fellow MySpace users whilst on the go, all from their mobile web browsers.  In the near future, MySpace also plans on having a new iPhone app in the App Store, making it that much easier for users to communicate and stay in touch.

From a business perspective, I think that MySpace has made the best possible decision in revamping their mobile workings.  Having said this, it’s pretty much universally understood now that the mobile industry is expanding at exponential rates and will continue to do so.  So by getting themselves in the mobile playing field at the right time, MySpace will not only be able to prevent users from flocking away from the site, but will also stand to gain more users in the ever-growing  mobile industry.

While I think that the promise of an improved iPhone application is definitely a good start to creating a more modernized community and will force many users to give MySpace a second glance, I think that the company needs to continue expanding its horizons.  In doing so, I hope that MySpace will opt to develop an application for the Android OS as well, as well as ponder how they could potentially take advantage of the steadily growing tablet market in order to innovate instead of simply trying to catch up.

However, MySpace has hit a fork in the crossroad in a sense.  While it seems that the company has been especially active with the music and media scene (including industry news), I highly doubt that they will be able to focus on both media and mobile communications at the same time, because even though these two fields can go together does not mean that they will or should.  It’s actually gotten to the point where it seems that MySpace is grasping at strings in a desperate effort to find something that will continue to keep the network relevant.

While News Corp. seems to be doing their best to maintain MySpace, I honestly feel that their reasons for doing so are the similar to that of why people maintain cars; resale value.  At this point, it really looks like News Corp. is trying to plump up the once prestigious social networking site in order to sell it down the road.  This honestly saddens me, as this action would essentially make MySpace’s loyal user-base nothing more than a field of chess pieces, all being used to increase the site’s value and lead to a sellout.

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