Before Project Economic Refugee appearedÂ anywhere else online, it was on a MySpace page.Â Â Back in 2007, the project started with aÂ very simple goal: to encourage people to use the term “economic refugee” when discussing immigration policy.Â For this reason, MySpace always had a special place in my heart.Â Even as Facebook grew in popularity, IÂ kept on beingÂ a bit of a sentimental for MySpace.Â My preference for MySpaceÂ continued even after ultra-conservative Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp bought it.Â In case you were wondering, Mr. Murdoch actually happens to be a supporter of comprehensive immigration reform andÂ is rumored toÂ not like the way his own conservative news network, Fox News, demonizes immigrants.Â Murdoch’s personal views on immigration are, of course, meaningless in the face of just how much damage Fox News’Â right-wing propagandaÂ does to the immigrant community.Â
Independently of who owned MySpace, it seemed to reach an audience that was otherwise not being reached by Facebook, displaying a clear and interestingÂ division along class linesÂ between the twoÂ and was a factorÂ in Project Economic Refugee’s focus.Â Frankly, IÂ thought that audienceÂ was being overlooked byÂ every otherÂ major progressive organization that wasÂ starting to rev up online organizing at the time.Â MySpace also just seemed to me as allowing far more freedom to be creative, allowing you to manipulate HTML code-in fact, it was through interacting withÂ this social network siteÂ that I first learnt what HTML code even was.Â
In terms of immigration advocacy, MySpace could be said to have been part of the first generation of online organizingÂ on thatÂ issue: when the immigration rights marches first exploded across major cities in the United States, most young peopleÂ would tell you that they heard of the time and location of a local march near themÂ from their MySpace friends.Â It seemed however that MySpace never really adapted to how its users were interacting with its site andÂ instead tried toÂ stick to rigid plans that focused on meeting revenue and traffic targets.Â As a special report from Reuters recently revealed, innovation and adaptability quickly suffered, resulting inÂ Facebook completelyÂ overshadowing MySpace on that regard:
[Founder of Facebook] Zuckerberg’s great strength, say his one-time rivals from Myspace, was that he and his team were focused on product development and innovation while Myspace had become too concerned with revenue and meeting traffic targets of its Google deal.
“The technology fell behind and it just shows that even when you have a massive user base you still need to offer something new to keep people engaged,” said BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield.
Sadly, the same can be said to be true ofÂ adaptability to accomodateÂ advocacy pages like Project Economic Refugee’s.Â If anything, MySpace did the opposite: at one pointÂ going as far as banning PER from posting comments and blogs on its site.Â
The last death blowÂ to MySpace I have to say came lastÂ October 2010 when MySpaceÂ did a re-launch, re-marketing itself as an “entertainment social site”.Â If seeemed to me that part of the reasonÂ people fled MySpaceÂ in the first place was because they were tired of only interacting with distant cold commercial bands and artists, rather than interacting with actual people thatÂ had genuine human interests and passions.Â Why MySpace chose toÂ base itsÂ entireÂ re-launchÂ on doing the veryÂ same thing that droveÂ many people away in the first place, is just beyond me.
Anyway,Â R.I.P. MySpace; it was a fun ride while it lasted … and to allÂ my MySpace friends, please stay in touch: you can follow Project Economic RefugeeÂ now on FacebookÂ as well, just click hereÂ to access the page.
So why do you think MySpace failed?Â Â Did youÂ ever had a MySpace page?Â Â What was the last straw that broke the camel’s back for you with them?
Update: is it me or MySpace was also riddledÂ with viruses?Â Starting from rogue pop ups that stole your login password, to invading your computer with malware when you clicked on certain buttons on a person’s profile…
Update # 2: [June 28, 2011] NewsCorps to sell off MySpace for a mere $20 million.