Myspace is attempting a comeback.
Yes, you read that right. The former social media kingpin is looking to dust off its keyboards and become a player again in what has become an extremely competitive industry from when the company was originally founded in 2003.
Myspace, purchased for $35 million last year by a group that includes pop star Justin Timberlake, provided a preview of its new site with a video released earlier this week. First impressions: clean interface, lots of music-related goodies and an artistic vibe. This certainly isn’t Myspace of 2005, and it’s not a copycat of Facebook, either.
To get a better idea of what people think of Myspace, we headed to a place packed with social media users: the University of Washington campus. We showed students the Myspace promo ad and asked them if they thought Myspace could return to social media stardom.
Take a few minutes and listen to what the college kids had to say in the video above. They represent a key market for social media, and many had insightful — and funny —opinions on the whole matter. Most seemed to like the new Myspace, but some were wary of signing up for yet another social media platform.
We’ve also transcribed the thoughts below if you prefer text over video.
What about you? Will you give the new Myspace a chance?
“I think it’s really cool. The whole interface looks really nice, really aesthetically pleasing, hip-looking, modern and sleek. I do think that it’s going to be hard to get my generation — one that used Myspace and transitioned to Facebook — back to Myspace. But it seems like it will be very effective for new users — maybe a younger generation.”
“I never had Myspace in junior high and didn’t get Facebook until the end of senior year, but I think this looks pretty dope, I must say. It looks like it incorporates Pinterest and Tumblr all in one. I think Facebook people are getting fed up with all the changes — the whole Timeline thing, no one really likes that. This, to me, looks really clean. I’m a big fan of white space and it looks fresh and I think it could be really cool.”
Sean O’Hara, UW freshman
“The music aspect seems really organized and crisp. If you are really into music then I feel like that’s a good way to go. It looks really futuristic and professional. You can slide everything around, pick up songs, drag it down to where you want to play it — that’s really cool.”
“It is definitely interesting that Myspace is trying to rebrand itself and come back as something different. It looks a lot cleaner than the old Myspace and even Facboook. I like the interactive layout with everything moving around instead of being so static.”
Ian Fike, UW junior
“It shows that Myspace has shown a commitment to interaction design and recreating where they are coming from, but I don’t think that the sentiment will change. I think when you fall by the wayside as a social network, it’s really hard to regain investment in your service. What it comes down to at the end is that Facebook has such a wide audience and developed an audience at a level that Myspace was never even able to achieve. I don’t think that a social network anytime soon, unless it’s completely revolutionary, is going to be able to compete with that.”
Zoe Liebeskind, UW sophomore
“It looks like Myspace is a lot more aesthetically pleasing than it was before. It has more options. I just used it when it was popular and I switched to Facebook when it became popular. I just went with the flow.”
Dune Butler, UW junior, and Helen Aprikyan, recent UW grad
Dune: “Just a lot of pictures, not a lot of information. I was a big fan of the old Myspace and then everyone went to Facebook and there’s this huge learning curve. And now if everyone does the same thing, I’ll probably not go into the world of technology anymore. It’s too much, too much is changing. Too many things to learn how to do.”
Helen: “I thought it was well done, clean and professionally looking — a lot more like Facebook rather than what Myspace used to be.”
Roshan Sukumar, UW grad student
“The video is fine. There is nothing wrong with it and it’s sleek and fancy and all that, but I already have far too much social media in my life and I don’t really need another one. All of my friends are on Facebook and unless there is a huge revolution where everyone switches back to Myspace, I’m probably just going to stick with it.”
Gabriel Smith, UW junior
“I don’t know, I’m pretty happy with Facebook. Actually, you know what? I’m not even really happy with Facebook. I would like to remove social networking from my life. That would be my fantasy. It’s a very big time sink. Except the thing is, it does help keep in contact with people who are far away, but I would rather just use email. It sort of gives the illusion of being in contact because you don’t actually talk to them but you can see their activity. It makes you feel like you don’t need to do any work to be in contact with them, but you really do.”