Myspace-July2013

What’s left of the Myspace page I had

In the blink of an eye, without warning, MySpace wiped out almost all the content of its Classic users on June 12, 2013. Not a chance to save nary a thing  – email, comment, blog, photo, or other content. There was, of course, an outcry of injustice:

For immediate release: User betrayal on the most massive scale in internet history. On June 12 this year, the owners of Myspace rolled out their shiny new platform, accompanied by carefully orchestrated media fanfare and a $20million ad campaign. But there was a small detail they neglected to share with the world at large: the upgrade also deleted almost all Classic user content. Most stupefying is the fact this took place without giving users of the Classic format any warning or opportunity to back up their content elsewhere beforehand. Only the management of Myspace knows exactly how many thousands of users lost blogs, emails, games, conversations with friends, comments from their fans and myriad other memories. But the Myspace help forum is ablaze with outrage: at the time of writing, there are approximately 10,000 individual posts of complaint and despair on this subject. The most shocking of these concern lost correspondence from loved ones who have died, and from users who have had up to 10 years’ worth of regular blog entries summarily deleted. This digital genocide not only shows an absolute disregard for the user community, but also a complete ignorance of basic business principles and an astounding lack of common sense. If the head office is full of people who ‘live and breathe Myspace’, the fact it didn’t occur to anyone that destroying years of people’s online life might anger a lot of faithful users, suggests they are living and breathing something more exotic and potent as well. One would think that in the face of an outcry on this scale, the first thing a management team should do if they have any brains at all is to give users some kind of option to recover their lost data. But that’s not the Myspace way, apparently. When the help department was inundated by this livid backlash, there were initially some cursory (albeit cheerful) attempts by Myspace staff to help people migrate their pictures — peppered with awkward murmurs such as ‘Blogs have not been moved to the new Myspace.’ Note the lack of even a symbolic apology there. This failed to placate users who had, in some cases, lost millions of words, so instead the moderators began deleting strings they found particularly unsavory, and marking problems ‘solved’ when they were nothing of the kind. One user, distraught at having lost seven years’ worth of email correspondence with the love of her life, was so vocal about trying to retrieve her content that Myspace banned her from the site for 50 days. Her posts were neither threatening nor abusive, just numerous. For a supposedly social site in the 21st century to use such fascist tactics is outright chilling — not to mention, a blaring indictment of its hypocrisy, when the slogan is being bandied around that ‘We built the site with one thing in mind: you.’ Nothing could be further from the truth.It is hoped that sufficient media exposure and public awareness of this matter will motivate someone at 407 North Maple Drive to reunite countless thousands of users with their personal content. At least long enough for them to back it up elsewhere before leaving Myspace in the dust — where it belongs. For more information, please visit: (www.facebook.com/down.with.myspace).

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Web search interest of Myspace from 2004 – 2013 (from google trends)

There is little chance now it seems that users will get an opportunity to backup their content. I am not worried about it personally since I always save backups of my online content and have done so for some years now, but I feel for those who trusted and believed the content would always be there. Or in the very least they would be given an opportunity to save it. Such Draconian measures by Myspace to re-create themselves is a cautionary tale not to trust social media sites to be guardians of your content. The headline photo I posted at the top of this blog illustrates how it is – like Myspace took away your home and moved you to a cabin in the woods while you were sleeping. Quite the shock on waking up to find everything in familiar surroundings was gone. Well, maybe that’s a bit over dramatic, but there is a sentiment to it and social media is a fabric of life today that people rely on to be there. It shouldn’t have been a surprise that change was coming, but it’s not what Myspace did and rather how they did it. They have essentially betrayed millions of people around the world in removing their content and alienated the very core base of people who made them thrive in the first place. Maybe that was their intent – to start fresh! A good many members had since moved on anyway.

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Myspace Tom

Remember Myspace Tom who was everyone’s friend, and even Tom moved on long ago. As one of the co-founders of Myspace, Tom Anderson is a rich guy now as the company was sold for $580 million dollars to News Corp. in 2005. Myspace continued flying high in those days until it was knocked out of the sky by Facebook in 2008. Those early days of social media, when security and privacy were not foremost on the minds of people embracing the new wave of social media, seem sort of innocent now. People who had no professional web design experience were allowed to create their own pages and express themselves as they wished. A great concept that was poorly maintained. As the internet developed,  it was inevitable that security became a liability for Myspace. The platform was not flexible enough and Myspace was slow to respond to the new security demands too. People began to see it as an unsafe place. Today we live in a world where terrorists, computer thieves and other degenerates control the behavior of the majority as a small minority of society. As the saying goes, it only takes a few bad apples to spoil the whole bunch, yes? Nevertheless, we’ve created a world today where fantasy and reality are blurred and security is a necessity. There is an old online video called “The Parlor” that was made in 2001 that illustrates this well. It’s clearly based on America Online (AOL) chatrooms going back to the 1990’s. Yes, I was one of those who hung out on AOL for many years too, before going to Myspace around 2005.

I enjoyed Myspace for what it was over the years I used it. You could individualize your page using html script and a bit of creativity. There were alot of interesting pages to look at for people expressing themselves in creative ways. A stark contrast to Facebook, where there is uniformity across the site. Ultimately people wanted the social interaction more than the ability to create inventive pages. I offer a snapshot of what my page looked like when the Myspace site was still operational. I provide a link to a site where my page was crawled by the Internet Archive in 2011. Not fully functional, but you’ll get the idea if you feel nostalgic and want to take a look. To link to the page from the Wayback Machine click here: spocklogic’s Myspace page

spocklogic-myspace-2011

spocklogic’s MySpace page (gone but not forgotten)

So, Myspace classic is gone for good it seems – Maybe a blessing for many who forgot their passwords long ago or just stopped visiting and forgot all about it.  Here’s a couple of links for further reading if you are interested:

Forbes Magazine piece: Four Morals From Myspace’s Fall

Some humor from Mashable: Top 8 Things You’ll Miss About Classic Myspace

The New Myspace is going forward and trying to reinvent itself, leaving those millions of classic profiles in the dust. Oh, the pages are all still there, but just mostly empty space now. The new site apparently lets you import content from Facebook (no surprise there), but will be heavily focused on Music (no surprise there either) as it is partly owned by Justin Timberlake, who bought an ownership stake in the company in September 2012.

Rolling Stone piece: Myspace Relaunches, But Does It Have a Chance?

Well, I don’t want to over analyze this topic too much more here, but only to say, as AOL went south back in the day, so followed Myspace and Facebook’s fate is probably written on the Wall, or rather their Timeline has an ending too. That’s life in the digital age of social media. Maybe I can Tweet that in 140 characters or less for posterity!

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