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Campus Celebrity: Tom Anderson

Anyone remember their first “friend” on MySpace? As teens or tweens in the early to mid 2000s, how can any of us forget that once popular social network site’s iconic avatar of its smiling young president and co-founder in white, Tom Anderson?

A native Californian, Anderson was born on Novemeber 8th, 1970, and raised in the seaside city of Santa Monica. In 1998, he graduated from UC Berkeley with degrees in English and Rhetoric before moving back to SoCal and earning a master’s degree in film at UCLA two years later. It’s interesting to note that this internet entrapenuer studied the arts and humanities, instead of anything computer-related when in school. 

However, MySpace was actually created back in 1998 by Chris DeWolfe, who originally intended it to be a place for musicians to share their work with fans. But in 2003, Anderson and a few computer progammers stepped in to help revamp and relaunch it as a social network site. Through whatever ingenious methods he used to promote MySpace, Anderson and his team ultimately created one of the most popular websites to date. And for trivia’s sake, these smooth business-moves also include him pursuading Tila Tequila, a formerly popular television personality, to switch from Friendster to MySpace. In 2006, Fortune magazine labeled Anderson as “the public face of [MySpace]” and journalist Julia Angwin wrote “I think Tom is sort of the soul of the site”. By late 2008, he had reportedly 237,791,150 “friends.”

Despite the days of MySpace, Napster, and Limewire long behind us (sort of), Anderson is still rolling in dough, having sold MySpace for $580 million dollars in 2009. In May 2012, Anderson joined a small startup company, RocketFrog Interactive, as one of their advisers. Their product is, ironically enough, a Facebook app which allows users to play casino games and win real prizes, such as movie tickets and food. He is also active on other social network sites including Facebook and Twitter, and is supposedly investing in real estate on the side. 

 

Sources:

Tom Anderson Biography

Tom Anderson

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Amanda Tan

UC Berkeley

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