I was reading Crains yesterday morning and came across a short article on Harris Publications launching XXLBlockTalk, a social networking site similar to Babygrande’s Crackspace, both of which are basically Mysp*ce copycats. I sat there wondering about the implications of arguably the most respected (in the HipHop community, offline and online) HipHop news magazine trying to get down with building an online community. I thought to myself, where is this going? Is this useful for us? Do I needs me some crack or another place to talk about my block, rep my set if you will?

In my mind I’ve always thought of Mysp*ce as a glorified forum (bbs for you e-thugs). You basically create a profile, have the ability to send messages to members and have one main site that serves as an aggregator for new postings. I never really understood the hype about Mysp*ce. It always seemed to me it was mostly popular amongst people who didn’t know much about computers or spend much time online. How surprised do you think I was as Mysp*ce gained significant popularity among independent musicians (they were the leading early adopters) looking for a free way to promote and connect online? They took advantage of the free hosting to post, what at the time was considered, large audio files (apparently design and user interface aren’t always the most important facets of early adoption). So while some of us were busy spending our downtime at HipHopInfinity or UGHH, Mysp*ce was gaining an incredible presence among musicians, tweens, and teens, who happen to live off of each other. Anyway, I’m rambling. The point is, Mysp*ce has so penetrated the online world of HipHop artists and fans, I think Harris-Pub and Babygrande will be hard-pressed to gain mass appeal. But I suppose that’s not the main point. Any non-cannibalizing or non-depreciative extension of their brands is a good thing, I guess. Plus, large media conglomerates or private equity investors might be impressed by the idea of owning a miniature niche-mysp*ce, might even decide to invest in and/or acquire something just to get in and make it their own.

Personally, I have no interest in joining anymore communities like this. I had to struggle just to accept the mysp*ce experience. And now that I’m in there, I would hate to have to join another one. And seriously, name an artist that’s not on there? Even G Bo The Pro has a page. Who’s f$&#in’ with that? Plus, I recently started visiting some forums again. I just wish I didn’t have to register a different name and password each time. Gets a bit annoying doesn’t it? Ideally it would be great if we could port our information from community to community. Or maybe this flux capacitor thing (thanks Clyde) is the way to go, adding community tools to already established blogs. In any case, I’m curious to see where these niche social networking sites will end up.

Crackspace Lookin’ For Fiends