Last year when Myspace announced that it would be launching a redesign, I was very intrigued. Even more so when they released a video last September teasing what the new Myspace would look like. The design was good – very good, in fact. For months I was anxious, excited even, for the new Myspace to launch. For those who don’t know the history, the @NonprofitOrgs brand launched on Myspace in February 2005. It was my first first experience with online social networking and from that first “Friend Request” I was absolutely hooked – obsessed even – with the potential of social networking for social good. There was no doubt in my mind from day one on Myspace that online social networking was going change everything about how nonprofits and activists communicate, mobilize and fundraise online.
That said, launching the Nonprofit Organizations Myspace Page changed the entire trajectory of my life in positive ways that I never could have imagined, so I wanted to see the new Myspace succeed. Yet at the same time and even more so, the social media scientist in me wanted to experiment and study to see if a dormant online community could be brought back to life again. The new design was good enough to temp many of the old Myspacers back and Rupert Murdoch was out and Justin Timberlake was in. Maybe, just maybe, the old Nonprofit Organizations Myspace community could be revitalized.
So, on the day that I received the email that the new Myspace was live, I dropped everything and logged in – and was so disappointed to see that the new Myspace is completely separate from the old Myspace. The old Nonprofit Organizations Myspace Page could not be converted into the new Myspace design and essentially I would have to start over on the new Myspace. As a result, the 38,000+ friends of the old Nonprofit Organizations Myspace Page would continue to lie in dormancy – our connection further severed with the launch of the new Myspace. To me, this a colossal, baffling mistake on the part of Myspace. With all the new tools out there to experiment with, why would individuals and brands want to start over on site with a bad brand name and tainted history? The new Myspace missed an opportunity to allow people and brands who once loved Myspace to log back in and tap into an online community that they spent years building – and by default, become the new Myspace’s greatest advocates. Once again, Myspace old and new, misunderstood and underestimated the affection that Myspacers once had for this site.
So, does your nonprofit need to be on the new Myspace? Unfortunately, I can’t advocate for that right now except for nonprofits associated with the music industry. For them, it’s worth experimenting with. For most others, I think a better time investment would be Google+, Pinterest and Instagram. If in the future Myspace allowed old profiles to be converted into the new with friends in tact, I’d jump in. But until then, my time is already spread too thin. In my list of sites to prioritize, the new Myspace isn’t on it, but believe me, I wish it was. That doesn’t mean nothing is happening on the new Myspace. I am getting a trickle of new connections on the New Nonprofit Organizations Myspace Page, but right now I just don’t have it in me to start over on the new site.
That said, in the Acknowledgments section of Social Media for Social Good: A How-To Guide for Nonprofits, I mentioned and gave credit to the early adopters of Myspace and the Social Web. There were many, many skeptics back then about social media in general and being an early adopter was not easy. It’s these nonprofits that bravely took the leap:
Muchos kudos to the Myspace pioneers. They paved the way for all of us and their contribution to nonprofit history should be noted: To Write Love on Her Arms; Invisible Children; National Wildlife Federation; the Humane Society of the United States; Seacology; Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network; Americans for the Arts; Oxfam America; People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals; Genocide Intervention Network; Idealist.org; Sea Shepherd Conservation Society; Farm Sanctuary; Amazon CARES; Safe Kids USA; DoSomething.org; Invisible People; Earthworks; Marijuana Policy Project; NORML; Feeding America; Concern Worldwide; American Indian College Fund; Smiles Change Lives; Conscious Consuming; Children of Uganda; Saving Shelter Pets; ONE; Grassroots International; Surfrider; Wild Dolphin Foundation; Save Darfur Coalition; ACCION International; Love146; Rock the Vote; American Foundation for Children with AIDS; World Neighbors; Greenpeace; International Fund for Animal Welfare; International Rescue Committee; 1Sky; the Love Alliance; and many hundreds more.