Puzzling Over MySpace

February 12th, 2007 · 1 Comment
by Kassia Krozser

We woke today with grand plans to execute a post with brilliance and wit, but now we’re, well, thinking about the MySpace thing and, as always, remain puzzled by the media’s insistence that it’s going to save the world (when we all know that fate rests on the fragile shoulders of Peter Petrelli). While we’re all for going where the action is and whatnot, the truth of the matter is that MySpace is a train wreck disguised as a useful tool.

On the surface, MySpace is the bee’s knees. It’s blogging, it’s tagging, it’s social networking. You have sound, words, and images. You have drunk frat boys and serious poets. You have a world based on popularity. You have all the elements of a city without the soul.

And, yes, you have success. Independent musicians were the first to discover the power of MySpace, and some managed to find pretty decent followings, not an easy thing to do in today’s world. To be a band without a MySpace page is to be a band that is going nowhere fast. Actors, models, authors, politicians, and major media companies soon decided they needed to be part of the MySpace gravy train as well. It’s like seeing your parents at a Sufjan Stevens concert. Do you really want to see your dad getting his inner emo on?

No good can come from that.

It is a generally acknowledged rule that all writers must have MySpace pages. So you go to these pages and you see that it’s a bit of a bizarre love triangle. Or maybe it’s like preaching to the choir. Or one of those weird cults where everybody loves each other, expressing adoration with lots of exclamation points. It’s like high school in all its ugly glory.

But is it a worthwhile tool for authors? Sure, on one level. You might connect with new readers. Indie publishers are using the service to reach new readers, to try new things. To be successful in MySpace, you must work MySpace. Learning HTML is only the first challenge (the second, we have been informed, is breaking MySpace; someone had to do it, you know). Now comes the hard work.

Yes, the HTML was the easy part. Now you must, sigh, network. And, horrors!, find friends. Ask people to be your friends. Yes, ask people to be your friends. Risk rejection. Though some will automatically want to be your new best friends.

Then there are the blog updates, while you’re thinking, “Do I really need to write something original or can I copy stuff from my real blog/” You have to post photos (or maybe not). Write blurbs — we don’t understand blurbs, they seem bizarre, but also required. You must have interests. You must declare your sexual orientation, your marital status, your interests. Your zodiac sign.

All harmless stuff, but all of it time sucking. It’s like a 24-hour networking party with really cheap wine. You wonder if you’ll ever finish saying goodbye, if you’ll ever go home. And when you do escape and head back to the real world, those very same people are there, commenting on your blog, responding to your email loop.

We don’t know if MySpace really matters to authors. We hear stories about increased sales, new readers, new opportunities. There is no harm in having a presence on the site, but we tend to see a lot of grand experiments left behind (it is our right and privilege to make fun of Jill, even though she’s deathly ill and all that). Having a MySpace page simply isn’t enough. To make it a success, you must put forth a lot of effort.

Which leads to our final thought: are you reaching the right audience with your MySpace presence? Time will tell. As for us, we still don’t get it.

File Under: Marketing For Introverts

1 response so far ↓

  • Brenda Coulter // Feb 12, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    I use my MySpace page to draw traffic to my blog and website. It works great.

    When someone becomes my “friend,” I put both a clickable image and a text link in the Comments section of that person’s MySpace page. The links go to my blog. So not only are people clicking to my blog from my MySpace page, they’re clicking there from scores of other pages.

    It took some time to get everything set up the way I wanted it, after making my first 100 friends, I stopped going out to hunt for more. People have been spotting my images on other MySpace pages and approaching me. Lately I’ve been accepting 8-10 friends a week. (I don’t accept everyone who asks–there are a lot of weird people out there!)

    I usually look in twice during the week and spend perhaps fifteen minutes accepting new friends (going over to their pages and leaving my little images and links) and returning a message or two. It’s painless, once you get set up. But unless one enjoys all the tweaking and twiddling it takes to get started, a MySpace page is probably more trouble than it’s worth.

    If anybody’s interested, my page is here.