Navigating the MySpace Space


Social-networking sites like News Corp.-owned are a phenomenon among teens and college kids. But among folks older than, say, 30? Not so much—especially for investors looking to evaluate the site.UBS analysts Aryeh Bourkoff and Ben Schechter hit on a solution. They recruited Schechter’s
18-year-old sister-in-law to lead a demo for their money-manager clients on how "those kids today" actually use MySpace.

The tutor (Schechter declined to name her) led investors through a demonstration of what she does on MySpace every day. Scrolling through a list of designated online "friends," she sent instant messages, read blog posts and new messages, and surfed through music and other content her friends had led her to.

One benighted money manager interrupted at one point, exclaiming: "What are you doing? What is going on? Why do people care about this?" The young sage patiently explained to her student that he was accustomed to point-to-point conversations on e-mail and the phone. MySpace, she said, lets users communicate with a number of people simultaneously and be the life of the party by networking through friends of friends. "I thought that was pretty sophisticated," Bourkoff says.

So has Bourkoff set up his own MySpace page? Alas, no. His staff dummied one up for the demo—calling him Mr. Big Wall Street—but Bourkoff removed it from the site.

"I’m at the point in my life that I like to spend a lot of time with a smaller number of people that I trust," Bourkoff, who is over 30, says. "I’m contracting these days, not expanding."