Three Ways The New MySpace Could Challenge Facebook

Here is a demo of the new MySpace, which was tweeted about by Justin Timberlake a few days ago. It’s pretty compelling. According to Chris and Tim Vanderhook, who bought the company in July 2011, MySpace’s new design now focuses on emerging artists who hope to be discovered. The Vanderhooks bought MySpace from News Corp. for just $35 million, after News Corp. paid more than ten times that for it in 2005.

I think it has the potential to do an end-run around Facebook for a few big reasons:

It’s clear that the designers and developers have been paying very close attention to what social networks are good at and what people use them for–sharing their life in pictures, connections and music.

First thing you notice is the prominent role music plays in the site. The musician in me loves this. It’s like you can create a soundtrack of events that can be tied to the images and posts you create. Very cool. The timeline is horizontal and everything in is a visual mash that ties posts, video, audio, connections and photos together around those events. It’s loose, slick, and sexy, and seems to borrow a lot from Path and Pinterest. If nothing else, it mimics how we act as expressive people and provides a refreshing antidote to the stodgy Facebook vanilla. It even lets you log in using competing network profiles.

It Appears to Be Anti-Grownup.

This demo looks like my daughter acts. She will sit in her room with music going while she texts friends, adds photos, connects music to pages, teases her Facebook friends, and does homework. The new Myspace seems designed to be immersive for teens. Good call, since their parents (and grandparents) have taken over Facebook. According to Will Oremus over at Slate.com,  ”it’s going to focus more narrowly on becoming a social home for musicians, artists, celebrities—and their fans.”

Privacy Will be Paramount

Myspace got in a lot of hot water for their privacy violations a few years back and as a result they are on a pretty tight leash. That actually plays to their advantage right now, as Facebook users start to rebel against the shameless exploitation of their data by Zuck’s public company needs. It also maps closely to teens’ desire to get away from their parents in the digital spaces they are forced to share.

I have yet to see any mobile demo or vision, which they absolutely MUST deliver to have a chance to really succeed. But they are presenting a pretty impressive alternative to a suddenly tired Facebook, especially for the younger and more artistic set.

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