“Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you if you’re young at heart,” so croons Frank Sinatra. Maybe, but the very young are getting their hearts broken at MySpace!
It apparently is not an easy task to maintain over 175 million friendships, even if Friend in Chief is founding MySpacer Tom Anderson.
The latest it’s not really your space flap at MySpace is a doozy, but not an unexpected one.
"Users are in control” packs the same mythical punch as “every vote counts,” I said last October in MySpace, Facebook, NBC: Brands rule, not users, a very apt metaphor as it happens!
Users are in control? Of what? Are non-paying users in control of the multi-million dollar online infrastructures that host their MySpace, Facebook and YouTube accounts for free? Of course not.
Why then do MySpacers, Facebookers and YouTubers continue to believe in such a Web 2.0 fairy tale?
The latest MySpacer to have his easy come, very easy go, friendship backfire on him actually had his heart broken twice, by MySpace and the man he labored out of virtual and political friendship at MySpace for: Barack Obama.
The MySpacer in question is Joe Anthony. What’s the problem? According to Barack Obama’s Web chief, Joe Rospars:
When it comes to MySpace, I'm not sure if a campaign of this size has ever teamed-up with a grassroots volunteer on this scale, but we wanted to give it a try. Joe Anthony's great work was building community at the www.myspace.com/barackobama address, and so we contacted him.At that point, the profile had about 40,000 friends, and to our delight, Joe agreed to work with us. Indeed, he seemed relieved to have some help -- he gave us the password, and we began to exchange content, work together, and continue growing this community from the ground-up. We created images that he (and others online) could post, and began going through the process of preparing the profile to be "official" by combing through the content and establishing a plan to ensure that everyone who tried to contact the campaign through the profile received an answer. (People wrote messages and comments in huge numbers, virtually all addressed to Barack or the campaign -- "Will you come speak at my graduation?", "Where do you stand on issue X?", "How can I help locally?", etc.)
We started talking to Joe about formalizing the arrangement, preserving his work building the community, and talking through how to preserve his involvement in the direction and development of the profile.
For a time, both the campaign and Joe had mutual access. Soon after, MySpace launched a promotional campaign to direct traffic to the official candidate pages. The campaign allowed MySpace to promote this unofficial profile because, strictly speaking, there was no official presence. And so MySpace began featuring the profile in candidate promotions -- and the friends and workload grew.
And with more work, the we can all get along cheer began to dissipate. Bottom MySpace line? The interests of Joe and Barack diverged, big time, and corporate MySpace was called in. Not to mediate, however, to take control, of Joe’s page on behalf of Barack.
Rospars on how it went down:
It became clear that we needed to have MySpace point people at something we had at least basic access to -- immediately. In MySpace, politicians, musicians, and other public figures have the right to their own name (www.myspace.com/barackobama, www.myspace.com/hillaryclinton, etc.), and so we asked MySpace for use of that URL and to ensure that any promotion of "official" profiles for candidates be directed to the new profile our team created.
All is fair in love and war, AND politics!