For all the strange details of News Corporation sales of MySpace for as little as $35 million, a fraction of what they paid for it, this has to be the strangest. Justin Timberlake played Sean Parker social media guru in the movie "The Social Network". Now Timberlake is going to play social media guru with MySpace.
The irony of all this was lost on almost no one. Gizmo blogger Sam Biddle has tried to articulate the entire surrealism of the situation.
We're not sure how much of his cash he sunk into this sinking-est of sinking ships, but, man, wouldn't buying a bunch of Chipotle franchises or opening a club have been an easier business deal? Certainly one less likely to fail miserably. But Justin's never taken the easy way out of things—oh no. Except in that movie where he just has mindless sex with Mila Kunis for two hours. Ah well. Enjoy your share of this ill-fated $35 million transaction, Mr. Timberlake!
We see a number of key things to think about when trying to decide if this makes sense:
- Social Media is entertainment, as such it is built on impressions of crowds and really nothing else. Someone who plays a role in the media is therefore qualified in the eyes of the public to play that role.
- Social Media is business, being able to play a role is not the same thing as being able to effectively perform the role.
- Social Media is a fad, as of yet there is solid business model. This will make for more interesting tries at the high stakes high risk world. Is Timberlake trying to make a go as part owner of MySpace any stranger than Fox News showing MySpace ads a few years ago?
- Branding thinking is more of a limitation than a strength. Brand is only one part of a business, social Media is too concentrated on images rather than substance. Timerlake probably makes sense as a brand, but MySpace may be beyond saving.