Hot New Facebook Alternative: MySpace?

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

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 1:52 PM Julian Casablancas’ New Album Sounds Like the Furthest Thing From the Strokes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.