Will Justin Timberlake Bring Myspace Back?
I am proud to say that I am excited for Justin Timberlake’s Myspace revamp. Normally I have qualms about celebrities trying to make an impact on the world outside of their respective field, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger taking over the world's seventh largest economy. However, since playing the role of Napster creator Sean Parker in 2010's The Social Network, Timberlake seems to have adopted Parker’s entrepreneurial zeal for shaking up the Internet. I would also like to think that Timberlake has developed a guilt complex about the decline of other social network websites after channeling Parker, but that’s purely for my own Freudian entertainment.
Ironically, Timberlake played the very character who helped Mark Zuckerberg expand Facebook's network and overtake Mypace as the most popular social networking site, and now he may be instrumental in bringing Myspace back. As a user of both Myspace and Facebook, I would like to provide readers with insight as to why Myspace really lost users and how Timberlake's grand plan will save it. Consider this as a supplement to The Social Network, except the Winklevoss twins are absent and JT plays himself.
Shortly before Facebook came on the scene the coolest social networking site was Myspace. Back in 2005, when I first entered high school, I created a Myspace to keep in touch with my friends. A month into school I also created a Facebook page, but I rarely logged on because I didn’t know many other people who had one. Besides, I liked Myspace better. Though my primary reason for using Myspace was to communicate with friends, what was even more fun for me was the ability to customize my profile page.
Myspace was all about personalization and individuality, while everything on Facebook was conspicuously uniform and standard. I would spend hours encoding HTML, choosing the perfect color combination for the borders of the feature boxes to contrast with the background, ensuring every letter was in Comic Sans MS. I could upload eight pictures of myself, and I selected mine with precisely what I wanted my profile viewers to think of me in mind. I scoffed at pictures that were snapped in front of a mirror with a glare from the flash, or obviously taken with the camera held above their heads to make their face look skinny. These two poses were coined “Myspace pictures," which became synonymous with the trashy and the desperate.
About six months into school, I heard some of my friends talking about Facebook and realized more people had an account than I'd thought. I “friended” all my new friends and started logging on more often. Around that time, I began getting messages from strangers that made me feel uncomfortable. On MySpace there was more access to other people’s profiles and the privacy settings were never strict enough. I quickly learned that a lot of my friends were experiencing the same thing, so we all made the shift to Facebook, hoping that by ignoring our stalkers they would just go away.
I missed being able to express myself through a personally designed profile, but by the end of my freshman year, I decided having a glitzy and glamorous page with a leopard-print background was kind of juvenile. Facebook had better applications, like uploading 30-picture albums to share with friends. I continued to go on Myspace every once in a while to download free music and listen to artists that I liked, but I never logged into my account because I didn’t want to know what was waiting for me in my inbox. The bottom line was that Myspace had a creepy aura, whereas Facebook made me feel protected.
More and more free listening websites have emerged in the past six years, leaving Myspace in the dust. Myspace has always been a great place for emerging bands trying to catch a break, and I'm hoping it has weeded out all the creepers who stalk prepubescent teens. With Timberlake's name added to the brand, the focus on new music could give Myspace the jump it needs — even if JT doesn't have the same brain as Parker.