Wednesday, March 18, 2009

'Stealing MySpace' By Julia Angwin

'Stealing MySpace' By Julia Angwin

Reviewed By Janet Maslin
New York Times

There’s at least one story that has never been told on the no-holds-barred social networking Web site MySpace. That story is the chaotic, action-packed history of MySpace itself. Now Julia Angwin, a technology and media reporter for The Wall Street Journal, has done prodigious digging into the shady business practices, trailer-park aesthetics, lucky accidents and borderline personality types that have allowed MySpace to tap into the American psyche.

Her account is necessarily convoluted. But like the site itself, Ms. Angwin’s book about this, “Stealing MySpace,” is accessible to anyone, except during its most intensive dissections of deal-making. Overall, you needn’t know a portal from a platform to follow thi sprawling, rollicking Internet history.

There are many books about how tech stars struck it rich in Silicon Valley. “Stealing MySpace” isn’t one of them. This isn’t a tale of shy computer geeks making billions by creating perfect algorithms. Instead it’s about rogue marketers cobbling together half-baked plans, trying reckless gambits, relying on a “get it out fast, fix it later” philosophy and never bothering to worry about the consequences. With its Santa Monica corporate ambience and utter lack of scruples, Ms. Angwin says, MySpace qualifies as “a Hollywood-style media company — one where crazy creative people run the show, and nobody really knows what makes a hit or a flop.”

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