Interview with MySpace User: Not just the teen demographic

I want to dispel the myth that MySpace is for teens alone, in fact I’m hearing more and more from folks that it’s indeed crossing the middle segment of age and culture. According to SFSU Prof Dr John Sullivan:

“More than 80 percent of the site’s registered members fall into the core demographic of 16-to-34-year-olds. Note that this demographic includes a large quantity of college-educated professionals with as much as 13 years of work experience…” (outside the box recruiting)

Also, others are noting that MySpace is growing up:

MySpace, the cyber home of countless teens and 20-somethings, is attracting more interest from an older crowd. In fact, the News Corp. (NWS – commentary – Cramer’s Take) site has recently experienced declines in its audience aged 12 to 17, 12 to 24 and 12 to 34, while seeing increases in the 21-to-34, 25-to-34, and 35-to-54 demographics, according to data from comScore Networks. (MySpace grows up)

Interview with MySpace User: 52 year old parent and Martial Arts Instructor
To learn more, I’ve done an interview with a MySpace user (John, a parent and respected silicon valley profesional) that doesn’t fit the young teen audience, let’s hear from John:

1) How old are you? (you can say early 40s, or mid 40s if not your specifics)
Ha. My Myspace page gives my age – 52. Myspace pages show your age – you can lie – but you have to give a birthdate.

2) When did you first start using MySpace and why?
Around March of 2006. I teach cardio kickboxing at a gym called WAMA and was seeking SEO strategies to drive people to the WAMA website. I have a younger friend who started another fitness studio and she made a Myspace page, which was a huge hit with her friends and people who took her classes. I also noticed that the Myspace pages in general had high google rankings (long story). So I made a page for myself, with hotlinks to the WAMA web site.

3) What are your primary reasons for using MySpace, which features suit you best? How frequent do you use it?
My primary reason was attracting people to my cardio kickboxing classes. I like the free-form nature of Myspace page creation which lends itself to creative expression. The multimedia effect of having sound as a standard feature, and of being able to integrate whatever graphics you choose either as backgrounds or individual pictures. Of being able to use hotlinks to offsite locations. It was a lot of fun building the page. I usually log in once a week or so, or whenever Myspace sends me mail telling me someone is trying to contact me.

4) What type of people do you interact with, are they similar to you?
Unlike my friend Paige, I have had little luck getting my local peers to make Myspace pages. Martial artists over 30 are often not very interested in online networking. Most of my interactions are with people from around the world who have similar interests in the fitness space. I did work with the friend who owns WAMA to make a WAMA Myspace page that is pretty closely integrated into the WAMA website.

5) Do you have concerns for online behaviors in MySpace, and what would you recommend ?
No real concerns. If you pay attention to the Myspace guidelines (don’t use full names, don’t give personal contact details). I think the press makes a lot of noise about problems on Myspace because it sells… I found my son (17) had a Myspace page, I’d advise parents to ask their children about their web activities, just as they would ask them where they went at night.

6) If social sites like MySpace were not around, how would you communicate with your network?
Well, I primarily use Myspace for advertising. I am beginning to use Myspace for networking, but I still use Linkedin and direct email more. But I’m an old goat. I don’t even text message…

7) In your personal time, what else do you do online?
Research things I’m interested in. Read the news. Read blogs. Track new web applications (web 2.0esque – have you seen swarm?). Build websites and post things I’ve written. Keep in touch with old friends.

Thank you John for your time, you’re one of the individuals I’ve been so impressed with that adopts and harnesses technology very rapidly. If others have folks for John (or just want to be his MySpace friend) please leave a question below, and perhaps he’ll have the time to answer, once he’s done hanging out in MySpace.

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