Hot New Facebook Alternative: MySpace?

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

Hot New Facebook Alternative: MySpace?

myspace_relaunch
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.

Advertisement

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.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

I Am 25. I Don’t Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don’t Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.

Republicans Want the Government to Listen to the American Public on Ebola. That’s a Horrible Idea.

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Tom Hanks Has a Short Story in the New Yorker. It’s Not Good.

Brow Beat

Marvel’s Civil War Is a Far-Right Paranoid Fantasy

It’s also a mess. Can the movies do better?

Watching Netflix in Bed. Hanging Bananas. Is There Anything These Hooks Can’t Solve?

The Procedural Rule That Could Prevent Gay Marriage From Reaching SCOTUS Again

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Outward
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 20 2014 4:59 PM Canadian Town Cancels Outdoor Halloween Because Polar Bears
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.