I had MySpace, but I never actually used it. As an anti-social non-aspiring musician, I didn't really have much call for it. Despite this I did have one friend who I cherished, Tom Anderson.
Tom was always there for me. When I ever felt a bit down or lonely, I took solace in the fact I would always have Tom Anderson as a stalwart companion - my one friend on MySpace. Of course, I was heartbroken when I found out Tom Anderson was the co-founder of MySpace and was therefore automatically a friend to everyone on the platform. That sent me into a dark spiral I have only just recovered from.
Now, I'm eager to reconnect with 'MySpace Tom' and see what my social media buddy (who never even knew I existed) has been up to since his big dream kind of went 'poof.'
The Decline of the MySpace Empire
Like Rome, the Ottomans and Napster, all great empires must eventually come to an end. After being launched in August 2003, MySpace expanded in size, soon eclipsing the ancient Friendster social network which had established what we now know as 'social media' culture.
MySpace did things differently. It offered its users almost unlimited creativity to adjust and alter their pages, while it also presented a more friendly and 'personal' approach. A large reason for this was Tom - the first friend everyone received on MySpace. This profile picture (apparently taken in a graffiti covered toilet cubicle and/or classroom) became instantly recognizable around the world. Thanks to this, social media migrants flocked to MySpace in order to escape the Friendster tyranny and make a new online life for themselves. By mid-2006, the site was one of the biggest platforms in the US.
However, things changed in 2008. The site began to decline and crumple under its own weight - it seemed to lack direction while its new corporate bosses (headed by Rupert Murdoch) took it away from its original vision. What's more, the Facebook horde was moving in and taking MySpace's users. By 2009, Facebook would be double the size of MySpace. Now dissatisfied with the governance and progression of his once illustrious utopia, Tom went into self-imposed exile and left the company.
Where is Tom Now?
Tom is still around, in fact he can now be found hanging around on former rival Facebook. He posts seldom, but it seems like he is still reaping the rewards of founding a social media empire.
He now has over 1.4 million followers on Facebook, and seems to spend much of his time travelling and taking rather impressive landscape photos. He is also an occasional musician and massive baseball fan. In fact, in 2010, he tried to establish a baseball team in Las Vegas, but unfortunately the idea did not take hold. Furthermore, you have seen him in the 2009 Adam Sandler comedy, Funny People.
It seems Tom spent much of his post-MySpace days trying to avoid getting a normal job, and from the sounds of things, he doesn't need to. He once posted on Google+:
The truth is, I don't want a "job." I've never thought about my life in terms of "jobs." I've thought about my life in terms of what's interesting to me. That's how I approached things when I ate at soup kitchens and couldn't afford a candy bar, and that's how I approach things now. Of course it's a lot easier to do that now that I'll never need to worry about money again...
In fact, it seems MySpace may have set Tom up for life, as he reportedly has a net worth somewhere in the figure of $60 million.
However, at some point rolling in mountains of cash seemed to get a bit repetitive for Tom, so he did head out to find a new career. He found one at RocketFrog, an online gambling platform for which he has been working as an advisor since 2012.
So, a lot has changed for 'MySpace Tom' but although he has clearly moved on, he knows he'll never escape his legacy, stating: "The MySpace first friend tends to overshadow all the things I was or will be…" For one thing, his profile picture still hasn't changed.