Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

MySpace to Hold a Remain-Calm-All-Is-Well Meeting Today for Staff–Here Are Five Questions Someone Should Ask

MySpace has apparently scheduled an all-hands meeting today, which one source noted is to talk about the new order and to rally the likely much dispirited troops at the struggling social networking site.

With the sudden firing of relatively recently installed CEO Owen Van Natta last week by News Corp. digital head Jon Miller, it will be up to the two new co-presidents he installed, Jason Hirschhorn and Mike Jones, to give MySpace employees a whole lot of reason to believe they can reinvigorate a site that seems woefully resistant to revival so far.

While the one-time trio of Van Natta, Hirschhorn and Jones did manage to stanch the traffic declines in their short and, in hindsight now, rocky, tenure over the last year and have worked to fix the shoddy plumbing, getting the water running regularly is nothing that will inspire anyone internally or externally.

But they do seem to know that, at least.

In any case, if BoomTown were there–and don’t assume I am not skulking around, boys–here are five basic questions I would want the new leaders to answer, including Miller, who is clearly the silent third partner here. (Bonus: I left out Facebook-related questions, as that would be too painful):

While it might be looking backward, exactly why and how was the decision to fire Van Natta made? Was the direction in which he was leading MySpace–related to the socialization of music and other entertainment content–the wrong one? And should those staffers he brought in, such as advertising head Nada Stirratt and many others, be prepping resumes?

What are the three top priorities for MySpace? A massive redesign? A rebranding? Perhaps spinning off as a kind of huge start-up from owner News Corp. (NWS) so it can live or die on its own merits and have more of a chance of attracting talent and encouraging innovation? And, if MySpace stays part of the massive media empire, what are the benefits of that now?

Is MySpace trying to keep its remaining users or bring in new ones? If the former, what will keep them? If the latter, what will get them to try the service (again)?

Do you really believe MySpace can once again be on the growth path it was once on, and can what has clearly become a tired brand be reborn? What are the precedents for such a situation–and you may not use Apple (AAPL) as the example, because there is no Steve Jobs present?

And, perhaps most important: Who’s really in charge?

Of course, that might or might not be a very rhetorical question, to say the least.

Until it is all settled, you can add more questions below in comments. Also, here’s that famous video clip from the movie “Animal House” to enjoy, which is still incredibly funny after all these years:

(Full disclosure: News Corp. owns Dow Jones, which owns this site.)


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus