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Keller @ Large: What Happened To MySpace? Is Facebook Next?

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(Photo credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

420x316-grad-keller2 Jon Keller
Veteran Boston political commentator Jon Keller is heard every weekday...
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BOSTON (CBS) – Once upon a time, not so very long ago, the social networking site MySpace was king.

In 2005 Rupert Murdoch, one of the world’s smartest businessmen, paid $580 million for it. If you see Rupert on the street today and wonder why he isn’t wearing a shirt, it’s because he lost it on MySpace, which is reportedly on the verge of being sold for something south of $30 million.

What happened to MySpace, which once had one of the world’s largest potential markets cornered? Competition happened.

According to one analysis by Fortune Magazine, “MySpace…wasn’t sure what would make a social network click. So it let its members figure it out, [inviting] them to design their own pages with widgets, songs, videos, and whatever design they pleased. The result was a wasteland of cluttered and annoying pages.”

Along came Facebook with a cleaner, simpler design, and that was it for MySpace, which now joins eight-track tapes and Betamax cassettes in the junkyard of modern-day technology.

But I hope they save some room in there for Facebook, which will surely be joining them sooner or later.

Why? Because social technology can never be an adequate substitute for real social interaction. It’s not that it isn’t fun to keep up with distant acquaintances or share gossip about your favorite band online, it IS fun. But it’s a transient pleasure, a gimmick that can’t ever fully substitute for actual human conversation or real human relationships.

Listen: Keller @ Large: What Happened To Myspace?

Social media is a great marketing tool, and checking your Twitter feed can be a great way to waste time, if wasting time is your goal. But it’s cotton candy technology, junk food for the soul, as the short-shelf life of each new revolutionary innovation demonstrates.

If you disagree, by all means, let me know. You can reach me on my MySpace page – not.

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