Myspace – the hot social media website of 2003 – is back. But you won’t find Myspace Tom popping up as your default first friend any more – he’s too busy posting pics on Instagram.
There aren’t many second acts in the digital world, but Myspace seems to be making a comeback. In the US, Myspace now has more monthly users than Vice, Snapchat and Vine. According to internet analytics company comScore, the site grew 469% between 2013 and 2014, with 40 million unique visitors per month.
New Myspace looks pretty different to the 2003 version. It’s dropped the clunky interface, glittery backgrounds, HTML code spilling onto profile pages and mind-boggling load errors.
And instead of a long list of bands you’ve never heard of, the slick-looking pages are filled with tracks from Drake, Iggy Azalea, Coldplay, Calvin Harris and Nicki Minaj. Whether it’ll manage to guide a mainstream audience back into its grips remains to be seen; Myspace was never good at attracting the older demographic that Facebook has continued to thrive on.
2015’s Myspace emphasises Spotify-style streaming, “radio stations” (indie, country, pop hits, EDM, Christian), user-generated playlists and embedded videos. But there’s one glaring omission: Tom, everyone’s first ever and very favourite Myspace buddy. The emblematic Myspace founder Tom Anderson stepped down as president of the company in 2009, and sadly, by 2010, he was no longer a default friend for new users. So, if Tom doesn’t have time to be friends any more, what’s he up to?
Since his departure from Myspace, Tom has been living the good life. He sold the social network to Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp for a tidy $580m in 2005, and now spends his days travelling the world and posting glossy National Geographic-style landscapes on Instagram.
He’s still going by the classic “Myspace Tom” moniker – complete with that profile picture: the one with the white T-shirt and the big goofy smile . Over the past year, he’s travelled across China, the Philippines, Iceland and the US, posting ridiculously stunning landscapes – a rainbow at sea in Hawaii, a blood moon in Vegas, a lightning storm over the Great Wall of China. Sometimes he posts photos of himself taking photos. Sometimes he offers up insightful captions like: “Another ice cave adventure in Iceland. I visited three different caves while there. Amazing how blue and thick the ice is underground :-)”. What it is to be Myspace Tom.
You’ll also find him on Twitter – @myspacetom – where his bio indicates that he’s “enjoying being retired”. Myspace Tom, 44, seems to spend a lot of his Twitter life tweeting celebrities (“Unfortunately I’m going to have to hold it against you Brit. You’re still my girl @britneyspears”). They don’t usually reply, but he has managed to rack up 227K non-celeb followers. Still, not quite the 40 million digital friends he had back in Myspace’s heyday.