Home MySpace To Make Run at Professional Networking Crowd?

MySpace To Make Run at Professional Networking Crowd?

At the Reuters Media Summit today Fox Interactive Media President Peter Levinsohn said that Fox is planning some additions to MySpace in the next few weeks aimed squarely at Facebook. One of the most compelling, is the site’s plan to let users create more than one profile to keep their contacts separate — for example, friends, family, and business. The additional profiles will let you “express yourself in all those different segments,” said Levinsohn.

Though Levinsohn tempered his remarks by indicating that he thinks there exists space for more than one social network (he even admitted to having a Facebook profile, saying, “Facebook I use more to communicate with people at work… Frankly I find MySpace substantially more entertaining.”), it appears as though MySpace may be after the business social networking crowd — in spite of Levinsohn’s comments about using Facebook more at work.

MySpace parent company New Corp. has recently been rumored to be interested in acquiring LinkedIn, but as we’ve written, business networking is still a relatively untapped market. One of the main reasons people cite for not utilizing mainstream social networks like Facebook for professional networking is that there is no way to group contacts — you can’t easily keep your business profile separate from your personal profile, and no one wants their boss snooping at their vacation photos (we’ve all heard the tales of employees busted for goofing off on Facebook or being fired for naughty photos on MySpace).

By allowing users to segment their profiles — especially if they could be controlled from a single access point — MySpace would take a step toward becoming a viable platform for more serious networking. Further, college-aged MySpace users would likely be happy to be able to share their lives with their families without having to share the party photos they want only their friends to see.

Of course, what makes any social network tick is users, and I’m skeptical that anyone would ever use MySpace for serious business networking (anyone other than a musical act, that is). As Bernard Lunn said last month, LinkedIn is already looking “like a winner.” It’s hard for me to believe that the frenetic, media-oriented experience of MySpace would ever translate well for business networking. If competition for LinkedIn, Xing, Plaxo, etc. is going to materialize from the mainstream social networks, I think Facebook is probably the best candidate given their cleaner, more professional look (application clutter notwithstanding).

That said, there is certainly the possibility that my speculation is off and that MySpace is not looking to move in that direction, and is making these changes purely for their current audience to be able to keep party photos away from mom. Or, that News Corporation really is interested in buying LinkedIn as a backdoor way into the business networking space and this development is unrelated to that space. Another interpretation is that MySpace is trying to capitalize on Facebook’s recent privacy woes by giving their users at least the illusion of more control over who sees their profiles.

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