Guy Kawasaki held a focus group with six teenagers — this is a small sample, of course, but their view of MySpace is telling:

Two panelists were MySpace users. The others expressed a certain backlash and purposeful resistance to the addiction of MySpace. One 14 year old used to be an active MySpace user but stopped after the police came to her school to warn the students about various dangers lurking there.

This points to two key MySpace vulnerabilities (among many):

  1. When a fad becomes overhyped, teens will eventually retreat
    1. Most teens know that MySpace isn’t entirely safe

After reading this, I went to check out MySpace’s latest Alexa chart:

MySpace Traffic May 23 2006

Could it be that MySpace peaked in April? The traffic chart sure looks a dot com stock chart circa April 2000 — the run up always looks like it will never end…until it does.

Come to think of it, Facebook is looking kind of downish, too:

Facebook Traffic May 23 2006

Well, anyway, just wondering.

UPDATE

David Krug and others think the MySpace dip is cyclical, driven by spring break, finals, etc. Well, hmmm. Most spring breaks fall in March or early April — so it appears that extra free time drove MySpace to its peak — and then what? Studiousness swept the land as people got an early jump on studying for finals in mid April? And wouldn’t there have been a similar seasonal downturn last year?

MySpace Traffic May 24 2006 - Two Years

Yeah, seasonality, that’s go to be it. And that’s right, I have fallen out of touch with teenage psychology. I forgot how conformist teenagers are — of course they will continue to embrace MySpace now that’s gone totally mainstream. It’s totally hip to do what everyone else is doing.

Given David’s brilliant seasonal theory, I wonder when we should see the sharp upturn as everyone finds time to rush back to MySpace.

UPDATE #2

I’ve been told that I’m “so out of touch with this age group,” so I’m bringing in an outside expert (from “For Teens, MySpace.com Is Just So Last Year“) — “Amanda Lenhart, a senior researcher for the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Lenhart has studied teens’ online behavior since the late 1990s”:

“Teens will go where their friends go,” she said. “They’re always looking for new places to gather. If those places become viewed as more regulated, they’ll move on.”

This is my favorite observation:

Teens like Larios are increasingly finding other social networks that meet their needs — and that aren’t as well known to their parents.

MySpace’s notoriety could be a turnoff for young people who are looking for an online community of their own

Parents know all about MySpace — yeah, that really makes it a long-term winner for teens.

UPDATE #3

Since I can’t respond to this Bloggers Blog post on their site, I’ll do so here. It looks like they got their apples and oranges confused — they posted the Alexa REACH chart for MySpace to counter my posting of the PAGE VIEW chart:

MySpace Reach May 24 2006

So the reach is flat and the page views have dropped.

Yeah, must be because kids are spending more time outside. I guess we’ll have to check back in December.

For the record, I have no interest in declaring MySpace “dead” — just deeply, deeply vulnerable.