Today, Facebook and MySpace announced a collaboration. MySpace users can now log in using Facebook and leverage their collection of Facebook "Likes" to instantly create a highly personalized entertainment experience on MySpace. On the one hand, this is hardly earth-shattering news: MySpace already announced and launched its new entertainment-focused mission, and Facebook has been integrated into more than 1 million Web sites. But that doesn't mean there isn't anything interesting about today's news:
- MySpace is reinvigorated and innovating rapidly. For a site that hadn't changed much in years, MySpace is suddenly looking awfully innovative. Of course, it needs to be; News Corp. has made it clear that MySpace quickly must demonstrate success, and MySpace is taking this challenge very seriously. In the past three weeks, MySpace has announced its new format, launched it and already rolled out its first major innovation with a partner.
- MySpace gets a boost. MySpace's announcement that it was shifting from a general purpose social network to an entertainment media hub was met with quite a bit of skepticism. It's not that the purpose isn't a great one — entertainment topics have been the driver of "water cooler" discussions for decades — but many seemed to doubt MySpace could overcome the brand baggage it has collected over recent years. Today's announcement helps it to do so in two ways: First, MySpace has again become a talkable brand based on the buzz I'm witnessing today on Twitter. Second, MySpace will live or die based on how quickly new and old users alike will see the value of personalized entertainment content; the Facebook integration allows users to bypass the onerous task of defining their preferences and favorites. The quicker people can experience their own version of MySpace, the better the chances they'll stick around and return.
- Facebook says your data is yours. Facebook has been facing some criticism in recent weeks over the openness of its data, with Google pressing Facebook for greater reciprocity. Today's announcement won't put that debate to rest, but it has given Facebook the opportunity to demonstrate that your data is, in fact, your data. There is little evident in today's announcement that helps to drive more engagement, page views, ad impressions or revenue for Facebook; instead, Facebook is reinforcing its role as the collector and distributor of people's most personal data. And if this furnishes former competitor MySpace with a greater chance at success, c'est la vie.
- No, this isn't MySpace waving a white flag of surrender. Much is being made in the media of today's announcement being an unconditional surrender on the part of MySpace to Facebook. That's rubbish — MySpace flew that white flag years ago when, as Facebook powered its way past MySpace, it took no action to reverse the trend. Last month's announcement of a new vision for MySpace was the concession speech. And today's joint announcement was the political equivalent of Obama naming Clinton as his Secretary of State. The battle has long since been fought and won, and the former enemies are now partners — MySpace has friended Facebook and is happy to do so.
Have you checked out the new MySpace? Did you use Facebook to personalize your experience? If so, please share your thoughts — will MySpace succeed in achieving its new vision?