Who Will Buy MySpace?

The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, and other sources are reporting that Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation is trying to sell MySpace.  The asking price is nothing less than $100,000,000.  Any bids below that amount will not be accepted (and apparently there are at least five interested parties out there who will make an offer by Friday).  Considering the heights that MySpace reached in the pre-Facebook era, that seems like a bargain for an established global brand, especially if social media are indeed here to stay and not just a passing fad.  Yet, as I asked in a previous essay when MySpace endeavored to redefine itself in the current New Media landscape, is the once mighty MySpace still relevant?

Who will step up and purchase the proud, one-time leading social network?  What will the buyer do with it once they have it?  More importantly, what will be the future of online communication and what roles will MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and all the rest play, if any?

We might be seeing the social media bubble on the fringe of bursting, as people start to think twice about their exposed personal cyberselves and begin to take a step back toward online anonymity with more selective content sharing. The invasion of marketing in the Internet's social sphere may also be somewhat responsible for the growing backlash as people are seeing their privacy compromised and consumerism creep into what had started out as a casual way to connect with friends, family, and long lost acquaintances.

Maybe a new owner of MySpace will recognize the still lucrative potential of social media and properly define the company's role in a world already brimming with countless online services begging for users' time.  When the majority of us eventually get fed up or overwhelmed by the electronic choices and 24-hour-a-day/7-day-a-week connectivity of what we call modern living and decide that real living might entail less time facing a screen and more time engaging others in the physical here-and-now, MySpace and others will have to find a way to justify their value and purpose in people's everyday lives.  The rewards for a potential new owner can be great, but the challenges ahead can also be very daunting.

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