Saving MySpace: Inside the Company's Plan for the Future

"You need to be a platform where your audience has a voice," even as culture constantly shifts and changes, said Hirschhorn. "I think a lot of people say 'content portal' — it isn't just about putting up channels that broadcast this stuff one-to-many. It's about putting up a platform that's totally accessible to anyone that creates content, whether it's big media or not."

Jones agrees that "going back to the roots of what made MySpace MySpace early on is important. "I think at some point it lost its way, and we're basically just tying it back to that. I don't think it's a decision of content site or social network — people are doing things that are very social within MySpace, and they're doing things that are social in other environments too. There's a type of user, there's a type of relationship that MySpace is really, really good at, there's a type of environment around discovery that we're really good at, and it's about embellishing that."

Chris DeWolfe
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Hirschhorn acknowledges that MySpace is "centered around pop culture topics" that resonate with the primarily 14-34- year-old demographic ("and a very sweet spot in the 18-24 demographic"), "So while you could share your thoughts about the elections in Iraq it might not be the place that you do that — but you'll certainly talk about what went on in The Hurt Locker and what dress Sandra Bullock wore, and that crazy lady who ran onto the stage during the Academy Awards. That is a part of the pop culture conversation that goes on every day, and also a place we feel we can win at."

Twitter and Facebook: Competitors or Coopetition?

We asked if the co-presidents saw social networks like Twitter and Facebook as competitors, or whether they thought there was room enough in the market to allow a multiplicity of sites to flourish.

Jones sees ample space for many social sites: "I think there's room for all the players. I think at the end of the day there's not going to be a direct overlap saying 'this is the exact behavior on MySpace or FB or Twitter' — there's always going to be some crossover. I don't think it's a winner take all because I don't think it's a singular behavior we're all trying to capture."

Hirschhorn agrees: "The reality is there are people on there with accounts on both. When you're as big as 100 million or 200 million users you seem to have a little bit of everybody." He says that after seeing commonalities with Twitter and doing a simple integration deal allowing MySpace users to sync the two accounts, "All of a sudden we started to see people back on MySpace we hadn't seen in a while."

He sees a certain level of platform agnosticity as being a necessary attitude when operating online: "I think that if you want to maintain a presence online, you have to think cross-carrier or cross-network. When you and I were coming up, SMS didn't take off until it was cross-carrier. To think that your audience is only going to be on one network is silly. It's very important for us to be cross-networked, and to make sure that if you're someone who is managing your presence on MySpace that you can also publish into Twitter, and you can go into Facebook, and if you're creating a playlist and you want to distribute it into Facebook, that's great."

Future Roadmap: Profile Changes

We were shown a number of elements from the upcoming re-imagination of the user interface, primary among them being changes to profile pages.

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