By Robin Swire •

How Myspace Influenced Modern Social Networking

This week, MySpace (now Myspace) have been trying some cheeky tactics as a way to encourage users to login to the once popular social network. In an effort to gather more visitors, Myspace have been emailing former users old pictures that they had once posted on their profile.

Calling it “Your Photos, Redelivered – The good, the rad and the what were you thinking…”, Myspace have unearthed the embarrassing, emo-fringed selfies that you thought had disappeared into an internet black hole and brought them back to life. Whilst much of the content including blogs have been removed (thank goodness people can’t see the emotional drivel that was plastered all over the site in Myspace’s glory days), many of the photos are well and truly alive. Many of those users that had just abandoned their accounts rather than deleting them will find that they may have some cringeworthy photos kicking around.

If you’ve moved on from your Myspace days, let’s face it, who hasn’t – it’s probably worth heading over there to take a look and remove those photos once and for all. In truth, it’s a pretty decent publicity stunt (or perhaps blackmail?) from Myspace to get you to check it out.

What happened to Myspace?

Let’s take a brief look at how the Myspace story has developed over the past few years. Myspace originally exploded in popularity after launching in 2003 and helped to define a generation. As one of the most visited websites on the internet, Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp bought Myspace for $580m in 2005, however its popularity waned over the course of the decade due to the rise in popularity of Facebook. Students began abandoning Myspace to connect with each other on Facebook and it didn’t take long for the rest of the user base to follow. It was eventually sold several years later for $35m.

After being left as pretty much a virtual ghost town by 2011, Myspace has lived on in a much smaller way, focussing on new music. New music was what attracted an investment group to purchase, reimagine and relaunch it, spearheaded by the one and only Justin Timberlake. Myspace now boasts over 53 million songs and an impressive 14.2 million artist-profile pages.

MySpace has heavily influenced today’s social networking habits, some of its features were incredibly innovative. Here are a few things that we enjoyed:

You could customise your profile

You could have some real fun with your Myspace profile. As well as simply changing the template, you could get really stuck in and mess around with the HTML. Many people learned basic HTML skills adapting their profiles and changing font size, image layout, and much more became the norm.

Not only that, you could add songs to your profile. You could really sit down and pick a track that channelled your inner emotional self for anybody landing on your page (probably included Taking Back Sunday, My Chemical Romance or Jimmy Eat World). Cool right?

Let’s not get even started on the Top 8 friends drama…

It made blogging easy

Every Myspace account had its own blog. Here you could share your deep thoughts and feelings, fill out a random survey that told your friends about how cool you were, or even stick a YouTube video in there. Your friends could then comment on it. MySpace also featured the iconic ‘bulletin board’ too where users could share inane stories and updates, paving way for the creation of the Facebook Timeline.

It brought the selfie to the masses

One of Myspace’s most ridiculous fads was the selfies that were taken from bizarre angles or in front of a mirror. Whilst today we mock some of the hilarious poses that people used to do, these images were the inspiration for the modern day selfie.

It was all about the music

Looking past some of the cringeworthy behaviour that was rife all over Myspace, it had an incredibly powerful music accessibility feature. In the early to mid 00’s, Myspace was THE place to find new music and had a buzzing community. It allowed you to hear songs from your favourite bands, receive their updates, and connect with them – all within social media. Myspace provided a platform for artists to upload and promote their music themselves and launched the career of many of today’s most popular bands including Arctic Monkeys, Fall Out Boy and Bring Me The Horizon.

Tom

Love him or loathe him, he was always your mate on Myspace. Whatever happens to Myspace in the future, he made a lot of money out of it. According to his Twitter, he’s enjoying retirement

Myspace really was one of the first revolutionary social networking websites. It defined a generation and will always be remembered across the internet. It influence how we communicate and use social media today on everything from Facebook to Twitter.

Whether this latest PR stunt will bring it some well needed traffic is unknown at this stage. Whatever happens we’ll be keeping an eye on it.

What do you think about Myspace trying this tactic? Do you use it or did you not bother with the relaunch? Get in touch with Parallax on Twitter or leave a comment below.