I was in grade 10 when MySpace first kicked off big with my friends and I. It was such a completely new and exciting thing. MySpace not only marked the first time I really established a virtual identity, but the fist time I began to really voice critique of the world around me. If you went to see a new movie in theatres, or began listening to a new musician, it seemed like your relationship with that film or artist was never official until it was posted in your likes or dislikes on your MySpace page.
I guess Facebook has now officially taken over the social networking world, but it amazed me to think that with MySpace as such a huge part in my highschool’s social life that this bond with this particular virtual social world would ever end. And I began to ask why on earth did everyone leave?
In reading OurSpace by Christine Harold, her insight as to why MySpace killed itself began help me connect this phenomena with McLuhan’s statement that “World War III will be a guerilla information war, with no division between military and civilian participation”. I always often wondered what McLuhan had meant by that and often wondered when would I begin to see the emergence of such a prophecy.
Harold quite simply explains the end of MySpace was due it’s purchase and switch of control of power by Ruport Murdoch, who bought the site for $580 million. Murdoch’s purchase of MySpace began to stir great anger and concerns with the once utopia of social networking. The beauty of MySpace pre-Murdoch was the feeling of no commercial constraint. Homepages were not littered with corporate messages, and users could interact freely with real users and real users only. The indie and alternative aspect to MySpace was completely erased when the corporate giant stamped his footprint down hard on the site. In Harold’s book she quotes Msypace users which say it all, “Democracy depends on media capable of performing without having people like Murdoch interjecting his personal political views (Harold, p. 15).”
Though MySpace offered the ability to interact, which I have been stating over and over in recent blogs as the key to a medium’s success, it failed to adhere to the other golden rule in maintaining a successful interactive medium, and this is the ability for everyone connected in the global village to have un-interfered and uncensored opinions. The second a corporation changes the rules of such a networking tool, then he users’ themselves begin to feel like their messages are being parodied by the corporation. MySapce users began to see the negative affects when commercial pop ups began to be displayed as the centre of attention on people’s homepages. Other factors include the using of a user’s name without consent appearing on another’s page that their friend uses a particular product so they should too. This form of advertising is a tricky way of corporations adhering to the effectiveness of guerilla media and marketing to attempt to reclaim the newly turned public space, so it will once again become CorporateSpace.