In a moved that shocks no one, MySpace.com, the social networking website purchased by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. for $58 million, is expected to soon announce it’s getting in to the news business. Holy predictable media domination strategy, Batman!
MySpace.com’s news service will bring articles from Murdoch’s Fox News and News International to the world of social networking. The goal is to keep users on MySpace.com longer and therefore keep advertisers happier. Neat idea, but the question is – will it work?
Yes, it’s true that the traditional top-down media environment – i.e., what they tell us is important is important – is changing thanks to sites like Digg.com and del.icio.us.com. But do the kids, teens and young adults that frequent MySpace.com really spend all that much time reading the news? PerezHilton.com is one thing, but Fox News is something else. And will a website controlled by Murdoch truly reflect the interest of users or give preference to News Corp.’s outlets? Or will media integrity and objectivity suffer the consequences?
Media relations is what we do, so these are big questions for us. In a world where word of mouth marketing is becoming the gold standard, and social networks are a key distribution source, what is a PR pro to do when one corporation puts the largest and most powerful of those sites in a choke hold?