Once upon a time not that long ago, there was a social media site that ruled the land called MySpace. Founded ten years ago, MySpace was the space for social networking. In 2006 they surpassed Google as the number one most visited website in the world. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. purchased MySpace for $580 million in 2005. In June 2011 Specific Media Group with entertainer Justin Timberlake purchased the once venerable site for a mere $35 million.
You read correctly – the once venerable site. The party didn’t last. By 2006 fickle teens began migrating to another site called Facebook. Today, according to Wikipedia, MySpace lists 50 million active users and Facebook has over a billion active users. Alexa, the web information company which ranks websites lists MySpace at #739 and Facebook’s at #2, just behind Google. An interesting sidebar, back in 2005 before MySpace was bought by News Corp., MySpace placed an unsuccessful offer to buy a smaller competitor – Facebook, for $75 million.
Looking back, it seems 2006 was a pivotal year for MySpace, because as I noted earlier, that was the year they surpassed Google as the number one website in the world and teens started to leave.
Should Facebook be worried? Fickle teens are once again feeling the urge to fleet – this time Facebook is in their rearview mirror. MySpace was at the top of the world when teens started to leave them. Yes, it will take a lot to whittle-down a billion users. But history has shown us, it doesn’t take much these days to watch a company worth billions of dollars go from hero to zero in record time.
Small businesses will most likely be able to float with the ebbe and flow of social media’s current waves and flavours. But what about bigger corporations and especially government? Will they be able to quickly change course as members switch from one network to another? Should they change?
The take-away lesson for social media practitioners is the importance to always pay attention to where your audience is and where they are going.