It's hard to imagine much of a future for MySpace. Which is probably why it took a science fiction author to do so: Bruce Sterling says the flagging social network is an ideal shantytown for the nihilistic unemployed. Compelling!
Sterling's seemingly meandering and occasionally infuriating talk at the annual Reboot digital culture conference in Copenhagen, Denmark this year attracted some notice, originally, but deserves a wider hearing, if only for his contextualization of Steve Jobs and Nicolas Sarkozy as gothic figures and his advocacy on behalf of expensive beds. Luckily, protoblogger Dave Winer recently re-uploaded and linked the talk.
Observers of the social networking wars should listen to Sterling's rundown on "favela chic," excerpted above. Rupert Murdoch, familial overlord of MySpace parent News Corp., is cast as the "remote, distanct, old-school Brazilian tyrant," while MySpace accounts are likened to "huts." Who knows: Maybe when you lose your job, an anonymous space in News Corp.'s online hellscape might start sounding a lot more fun than the prim, proper — and all-too-accountable — playground that is Facebook.
(Sterling pic: Daniel Barradas)