What’s your My Space?Posted: April 23, 2006
A NY Times article this morning covered the My Space phenomena. The funniest note in the article is young people are now as likely to ask one another for a My Space address (eg. “What’s your My Space?”) versus a phone number.
There were lots of interesting tidbits in the article. Chris DeWolfe, the founder, is a busdev type. Before he founded My Space he sold some Chinese made E-scotter under the My Space domain. Pre bubble, he had a site where you downloaded computer cursors in exchange for getting spyware installed on your machine. Nice. He refocused the My Space domain when he saw the incredibly fast rise of Friendster. His value add over other social networking sites was the ability for members to create their own home pages. Amazing how one simple idea and the right timing kicked off a site that now has 70 million users in only three years.
Wired recently covered My Space and claimed it had more page views that Google. “No way” I thought. NY Times said the same thing. Hmm, Alexa doesn’t confirm this. Well I guess if you count users using My Space as a instant messaging (IM) platform, then I suppose I can believe it. But somehow the technology needed to deliver a search in under 100 milliseconds and “organizing the world’s information” versus dispatching text messages for web based chat aren’t analogous page views in my book.
With a staff of about 250, it doesn’t look like there are many software engineers. Interestingly, the article was pretty sizable and there wasn’t one message about any of the technical challenges they face sans scaling. There was lots of talk about selling ads on the site and building up the sales staff. But nothing about technical direction. Nothing about changing the world in some positive way with technology. Just a bunch of business people trying to figure out how to leverage teens and college students. Disappointing.
I’ve never been impressed with My Space. I haven’t yet seen a page on that site which doesn’t look like trash. But I’m certainly not the target demographic. Admittedly, if I were 16 I could believe I’d create a My Space page given all my other friends would probably be doing the same. I’m sure my page would look like trash too. But today if I tried to design my own house, it too would look like trash. That’s why we use architects–professionals that have been trained in design and construction engineering to help us build the perfect house the right way. Here’s to some professionals to create a My Space for grown ups.