MySpace gives a glimpse to the potential power of social networks

In recent months, the online hangout for over 35 year olds, MySpace has taken a more active role in promoting social causes. For example on September 21st MySpace (Europe) partnered with Bono’s latest venture Red in a joint campaign to eliminate Aids in Africa.

Jamie Kantrowitz, senior vice-president for marketing and content at MySpace Europe, said: “Our partnership with Red is a great example of how social causes and interest groups can benefit from engaging with the MySpace generation.”

Of course it doesn’t always mean that “if they promote it, they will react”.

“A petition called Save Your Space has been created, with the intention of getting 1 million signatures by September 4th. But with only 3,230 signatures so far, it doesn’t look like they’re going to make it. It seems that the average MySpace user is either oblivious to the legislation, or doesn’t understand it – something we could have predicted from the start.” Pete Cashmore from Mashable

Today MySpace (USA) has announced it is going to organize 20 concerts featuring bands promoted on its site as part of a campaign to raise awareness and money for the humanitarian relief in Sudan. Thre concerts will be hosted on TV, Radio and online.
This is great news because where governments seem to do nothing, the web community is at last doing something about the 2.5 million people who have been made homeless following three years of in-fighting between the Sudanese government and rebel groups in the vast, arid Darfur region of western Sudan,

“The crisis in Darfur is a global concern and as a global community we have a responsibility to take action,” Chris DeWolfe, MySpace’s chief executive, said in a statement. “MySpace’s reach gives us an extraordinary opportunity to spread the word and empower individuals to help address the horrors in Darfur.”

Band Aid in the 80’s showed how the power of music, combined with the medium of the day, could have a major impact in reaching out to a global audience to change the way in which people think, question and react on topics politicians seem to ignore, unless raised by movie actors, or where the answer is oil.

The partnerships with RED and now these concerts might have given us a glimpse into the future power and value of social networks. I hope that MySpace (Europe) follow suit along with the other social networks and organise something on this side of the pond. Having focused on getting the eyeballs of users for so long, maybe they will now do something valuable with them, other than trying to extract the maximum amount of advertising revenue from each person.
Band Aid II, although great as it was, it just felt like (Sir) Bob Geldof and chums were trying to breath new life into an old format because they knew no better. Maybe it’s time for the “web generation” to mark their time with a global concert online? For the record, the bands performing — pop, rock, country and reggae, among others — have agreed to donate part of their ticket proceeds to Oxfam’s relief efforts in Sudan and neighboring Chad.

The concerts will take place Oct. 21. Artists will include, Alice in Chains in Winston-Salem, N.C., Ziggy Marley in Medford, Ore., Citizen Cope in Seattle, Gov’t Mule in Spokane, Wash., and Insane Clown Posse in St. Petersburg, Fla. Other concerts will take place in Sacramento, San Diego and San Francisco, Calif.; Melbourne, Fla.; Atlanta; Louisville, Ky.; St. Paul, Minn.; Reno, Nev.; Baltimore; Asheville, N.C.; Charleston, S.C.; Milwaukee; and Washington, D.C. A Canadian show will take place in Toronto.