This is the question that Dave Sirulnick is surely asking himself as he watches MySpace climb atop the newest media pedestal. Sirulnick, for those who don’t know, is the Executive Vice President of MTV News who has been a trend-setter at MTV since its inception. He can’t be happy about this new darling of the youth culture. MySpace poses a direct threat to his baby and is now under the control of his corporate overlord’s sworn enemy. Rupert Murdoch, with the gristly flesh of MySpace still stuck between his teeth, can’t wait to run into Sumner Redstone at the next meeting of the Illuminati, basking in the glory of his latest feeding, er, acquisition.
Back to the question at hand: is MySpace the future and if not, what is? Is it the giant-killer that can bring down the MTV Goliath? The answer to these questions is a resounding “maybe.” MySpace may be News Corp’s answer to Viacom’s dominance of youth culture, specifically youth news sources like MTV News and The Daily Show. Personally, MySpace is much more appealing to me than the thought of wading chest-high through a big, steaming pile of Laguna Beach during a commercial break, trying to find the next big band to break on the LA scene. But I have recently escaped MTV’s demographic, so my opinion is about as valid as, well, a big steaming pile of Laguna Beach.
Unfortunately, audience inertia is working against the kids on MySpace. Inertia, or indisposition to motion, exertion, or change, lends its power to television networks well before an Internet upstart. MTV clawed its way to the position of dominance in youth culture over the last three decades and is not likely to roll over now. If anything, MTV is likely to fire back with an incarnation of a MySpace-ish cyber-world.
Are you still reading this? I didn’t scare you off with my admission of demographic obsolescence or my reverence for the hard work of MTV producers over the years? Well, your tenacity has earned you a reward: my vision of youth news in the future. The youth of the industrialized world (Yes, all of them!) will have something akin to a Palm LifeDrive, with more of a tablet PC feel to it. On it, they will keep their schedules, music, games, etc., and will download all their news wirelessly via RSS feeds or whatever news collection technology the future brings with it onto the one-inch terabyte drive. Slide it all into their back pocket and off the kiddies will go, ready to face the world - or as much of it as can fit on a 2″ x 3″ screen.