Persisting Through Irrelevancy: A look at Myspace

I was too young to experience the hype surrounding Myspace during the early 2000s. I really only experience myspace through an ironic, joking lens. I actually probably couldn’t tell you the rhetorical purpose of myspace if you asked me right now. Is it a music sharing website? Is is a social networking site? Is it a place to post poetry about the dark spaces in your heart and your Naruto fanart?

I do know that, despite the confusing purpose of myspace, it continues to exist. Not only that, but it is still changing. There are graphic designers working to improve a website that, for the most part, is irrelevant. Why keep changing? Does this change help make poor old myspace hip again?


The New Myspace

We can glean a few things from this revamping. It would seem that myspace has clarified its purpose and narrowed its intended audience in recent years, gearing more towards musicians and music listeners. The site also functions more like a blog with social networking capabilities, instead of a site used primarily for social networking.

The evolution of myspace, however underhyped it may be, is a prime example of the flexibility of the digital rhetorical situation. The fluid nature of the Internet allows authors to readjust their purpose and exigence of their project with relative ease. On the flip side, once a project has been branded or established a certain reputation it is incredibly difficult to change/shed that image.

Emily Cotten

Emily Cotten is a sophomore Vocal Performance major at the University of Michigan. She hails from North Carolina and enjoys reading, writing, and blasting opera hits in her car while driving down the highway.

3 thoughts to “Persisting Through Irrelevancy: A look at Myspace”

  1. Emily,
    To be honest, it feels a little weird hearing about myspace without it being poked fun at; I’m so used to the comedic nature of the website that I have never considered analyzing it from the perspective of a writer. And as for why there is continuous development on the website, perhaps it is because they are hoping that hipsters make it trendy again in an ironic format. However, I do agree with you on how myspace has definitely changed from what it was originally intended to be when it was first incepted. I also believe what you saying about there being a duality with digital rhetoric. While it undoubtedly is more fluid and allows one to change with societal trends, it always has to deal with the reputation is initially given. While I feel that the latter is also true with other types of rhetoric, it is significantly harder to change the material of other types of rhetoric.

  2. Emily,
    It is funny that you bring this up because I too make so much fun of MySpace, but really could not tell you what it does. Analyzing the purpose of the revamping is a great idea. Like we discussed in class, an important part of digital rhetoric is that sense of branding. I think that is exactly what MySpace is doing, trying to establish it’s popularity along with narrowing its focus. Like you mentioned, image is difficult to change, however, MySpace seems to be making strides in rebranding.

  3. Hey Emily,
    Its funny to see how we all just about missed the boat on Myspace by a year or two, falling more in line with Facebook instead. Digital rhetoric is a powerful thing, with many older websites, whether currently popular or not, revamping their platform for a wider audience, like with redesigning their layout and Youtube as they introduce Youtube Red. Big online companies are sustained by their visitors, and will do whatever it takes to keep those visitors coming back, even if it means they must readjust their purpose.

Leave a Reply