Searching for Myspace with John Battelle

John Battelle is the web's best "search watcher" and he's posted a great summary of recent events in search HERE at Searchblog.

I would note though that he does not address the significance and growth velocity of the Myspace phenomenon, which I'd suggest is the best, and crappiest, website in history.

Myspace proves that much of the Web 2.0 dialog is misguided, still emphasizing technology improvements over human considerations which lie at the heart of the "new" web and at the heart of the ugly but overwhelmingly successful Myspace.

In many ways I'm a big fan of Myspace as I think it's passes many of the tests that other sites fail – easy to join, navigate, and participate. It passed the critical mass of users long ago and continues to grow wildly – now with 66 million online. Myspace is a prime study in "mass appeal". It's ugly because people, on average, aren't very artistic or clever or well-organized. This aspect of the human condition leads to the web's largest collection of junky pages, and to the web's largest community of super active users.

My personal jury is still out on the "evil" side of myspace with the potential for stalking and young people mingling with unsavory or dangerous kids and adults. The user base is now so huge one must be very cautious in the interpretation of recent criminal activity at the site. Whenever you have a collection of 66 million people you'll get crime.

That said, Myspace probably has a greater community responsibility than it currently acknowledges or deals with proactively – this is certainly the case with the web at large where most onliners maintain that companies have few responsibilities outside of policing outrageous abuses of their services.

For the good of the entire online and offline community this must change, and it will change.

2 thoughts on “Searching for Myspace with John Battelle

  1. You say Myspace is popular because the average Joe (different from Joeduck) is not very artistic or clever. The same is true for TV’s American Idol. It has mass appeal because many enjoy people like themselves performing who have little ability.

  2. I didn’t mean to imply that our lack of ability makes Myapace popular – that’s what makes it crappy and makes American Idol so “cheesy” when they are showing off the bad singers in the early shows.

    I think the popularity (and some of the crime risks) come from being a simple, well designed and open environment that came along at the “right time” for regular people who were spending increasingly time online.

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