Hot New Facebook Alternative: MySpace?

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Sept. 25 2012 10:00 AM

Hot New Facebook Alternative: MySpace?

MySpace's latest redesign is actually drawing some positive attention to the long-ridiculed site.

Screenshot / MySpace

You know the story. The world's leading social network becomes littered with ads and marred by spam and privacy intrusions, eventually giving way to a cleaner, simpler, more aesthetically appealing alternative. Yes, Facebook had better watch out for a scrappy little upstart rival called MySpace.

OK, MySpace isn't actually going to be challenging Facebook for social-network supremacy anytime soon. But the mid-aughts relic is relaunching soon, with a visually arresting interface that makes Facebook look stodgy and dated by comparison. The redesigned site, which scrolls horizontally and seems to borrow liberally from the image-sharing network Pinterest, was unveiled Monday night in Los Angeles by co-owners Chris and Tim Vanderhook and new investor Justin Timberlake. The Vanderhooks bought the nearly moribund site in June 2011 from Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. for just $35 million, after News Corp. paid more than half a billion for it in 2005.


Its new incarnation moves a step further away from its roots as a one-stop social network for the masses. (Notably, it appears to ask users to log in via either Facebook or Twitter rather than building their own profiles from scratch.) Instead, it's going to focus more narrowly on becoming a social home for musicians, artists, celebrities—and their fans. Timberlake's role will be to promote the site not only to the public, but to his buddies in Hollywood, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

I'm skeptical that the world needs another way for celebrities to express themselves to their fans, and the fact that the new MySpace appears to emphasize a laptop/desktop experience as opposed to a mobile interface could hamper its growth. If nothing else, though, the attention it's getting is evidence that there's a growing appetite for a Facebook alternative, given the spotty privacy record and decreasing cool factor of Zuckerberg's site.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Will Oremus is Slate's senior technology writer.



More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?

The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.


Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

What to Do if You Literally Get a Bug in Your Ear

  News & Politics
Sept. 17 2014 10:36 AM MacArthur Fellow Alison Bechdel Recounts Telling Her Mother About Her Best-Selling Memoir MacArthur Fellow Alison Bechdel recounts telling her mother about her best-selling memoir.
Sept. 16 2014 2:35 PM Germany’s Nationwide Ban on Uber Lasted All of Two Weeks
The Vault
Sept. 16 2014 12:15 PM “Human Life Is Frightfully Cheap”: A 1900 Petition to Make Lynching a Federal Offense
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 9:03 AM My Father Was James Brown. I Watched Him Beat My Mother. And Then I Found Myself With Someone Like Dad.
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 8:27 AM Only Science Fiction Can Save Us! What sci-fi gets wrong about income inequality.
  Health & Science
Sept. 17 2014 10:20 AM White People Are Fine With Laws That Harm Blacks The futility of fighting criminal justice racism with statistics.
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 8:41 PM You’re Cut, Adrian Peterson Why fantasy football owners should release the Minnesota Vikings star.