MySpace may tout itself as “a place for friends,” but it is very cavalier on the meaning of friendship.
Co-founder Tom Anderson’s desired “friendship” with every single MySpace profile holder (whether the profile holder be man, woman, product, beast…) may mark him the most “friendly” individual on the planet, but it also reflects the crass speciousness imbued within the “place for friends.”
Fortune Magazine’s September 4 cover story on the “MySpace Cowboys” says Anderson and co-founder Chris DeWolfe “founded a business based on friendship.” Anderson is quoted on his notion of a competitive advantage provided by the MySpace “open-ended” view of friendship vs. the “purity” of Friendster’s approach:
They had no room for fakesters. If a dog or a city or an idea had a page, they would delete it. Could anything better have happened to us? People said. ‘I’m going to MySpace because I can do what I want there.’
Who, rather what, is currently showcased on Tom’s MySpace home profile page as one of his 100,000,000 friends”? “cheeseburger.” What does a visit to cheeseburger yield?:
"About me: so yeah im a cheesurger ppl love to eat me...
Who I'd like to meet: my eaters!"
Who, and what, is in “cheeseburger’s Friend’s space”:
Tom “Cowboy” Anderson, luvysara “Sexybacks, add me so we can chat,” “Wendys “Old Fashioned Hamburgers”, Rock Bottom “Get Your Bottom Rocked” Album.
Is an everyone, and everything, friendship stance a good thing, for all? Tom’s penchant for instant friendship has spurred a MySpace friendship backlash. “Tom is NOT my friend” tee shirts are a hot item and Tom has had to add a “don’t want to be my friend?” option to his profile:
I may have been on your friend list when you signed up. If you don't want me to be, click "Edit Friends" and remove me!
The bottom line on friendship for MySpace corporate ownership, however, is: Are MySpace friends bankable?
MySpace’s inability to fully monetize its 100 million personally branded “friends” has been the albatross of News Corp since it acquired the social networking star.