It was interesting to read this article ( about the plans for MySpace, now it has been taken over by Specific Media. They are right that effectively a “re-negotiation” needs to take place between MySpace and its audience (both past and present) in order to gain back their attention.

Like most negotiations, the outcome is largely dependent on the “state” or attitude of mind in which the negotiation is approached by the participants.

Prior to the purchase, MySpace’s state must have been a very anxious one, with the organisation being very conscious of its ever growing losses, and aware that it was running out of time to turn the tide. MySpace users will have been in a state where they felt increasingly negative with the service, were very conscious that other users were deserting the service (thus providing social proof that the service was not worth their attention). Users would also have been pre-disposed to judge modifications to the service harshly – MySpace in fact carried out a major overhaul of the service some months before the sale but this didn’t seem to make any difference.

The sale has created the opportunity for a “pattern interrupt” – a chance to modify the state at MySpace and among users. The early signs are good. Tim Vanderhook, Specific Media’s CEO, sounds positive and confident as he sets out MySpace’s approach. This kind of attitude in any “negotiation” is infectious and strongly favours a positive outcome.

Moreover, MySpace has some interesting things to say about the service going forward – repositioning it as an entertainment platform with the involvement of Justin Timberlake. This is potentially a very clever step as he brings a lot of authority to the new offering and will encourage users to change their state or attitude to the service. With him on board both past and present users will be more inclined to give the service another chance and that is all MySpace could ask for as it “re-negotiates” for their attention.