>Aristotle distinguished between friendships based on communal interests and those of soulmates who bonded out of mutual affection. The vast majority of people signed up for MySpace, Rupert Murdoch’s phenomenally successful networking site, fall into the former category. But on present showing that won’t stop its continuing expansion which, as the MySpace generation goes into employment, could eventually extend Murdoch’s influence in ways that would make his grip on satellite television seem parochial.
It was said at the time of purchase that if Murdoch tried to mess with MySpace’s “sharing” culture by commercialising it, punters would simply switch to one of the dozens of clones it has spawned from Bebo.com to the upwardly mobile Cyworld.com, which has taken South Korea by storm and is now taking the battle into MySpace’s backyard in the US. Cyworld points to research showing that MySpace is a “rites-of-passage” site that kids will grow out of while Cyworld is a “real you” experience. It is an interesting, almost Aristotelian, distinction but some argue it may already be too late for competitors to dislodge MySpace, except in niche markets.
John Barrett of TechNewsWorld claims that MySpace is well on the way to becoming what economists call a “natural monopoly”. Users have invested so much social capital in putting up data about themselves it is not worth their changing sites, especially since every new user that MySpace attracts adds to its value as a network of interacting people.