BusinessWeek continues its attention to the unfolding online world with a cover story titled The MySpace Generation. MySpace is the most successful social networking site, boasting 40 million members, and serving an extraordinary 10% of all online ads viewed in October, according to BusinessWeek. People who have grown up in an online world want to socialise in an online world, tapping the immense power of mutual visibility, sharing, and multi-channel communication (of course without supplanting “meat” world interactions!).
Rupert Murdoch demonstrated he was finally a convert to the online world when he paid $580 million for MySpace’s owner Intermix Media in July. Under 25s have little interest in traditional media. Circulation figures for teen publications are plummeting. The only way to capture their attention is to get into the interstices of their immensely rich social interactions. Statistically and anecdotally, far more teens and young adults use MySpace or other social networks than have blogs. The reality is that the individual spaces on MySpace are much like blogs, yet within a bounded domain, and with specific tools to share music and other entertainment, the glue that binds together youth culture. I don’t believe that social networks such as MySpace are overhyped. We are just now getting to a stage where the technology allows easy, media-rich online interaction that supports offline socialising. As social network technologies shrink and enrich our personal degrees of separation, the next generation’s natural habitat is being born.