We are gathered here today to remember Tom Anderson. We can confidently say he was a friend to us all—a comfortable part of our lives that was here one day and gone the next. But chances are that all you really know about Tom from Myspace is that he’s really fond of a photo of himself smiling in a white T-shirt in front of a busy white board. (Seriously, it’s his profile picture on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.)
And in the quick flash of a thick Microsoft desktop monitor, he was gone, his memory thriving in our collective nostalgia.
But don’t mourn for Tom, dearly beloved. In fact, take one glance at his Instagram account and you might just start to hate him. His moment in the sun as a social media revolutionary may have passed—but frankly, his life looks like it has taken a turn for the best. Now he’s a 46-year-old retired multimillionaire who spends his time traveling the world and capturing the most beautiful fractions of it on camera.
Exhibit A: As of this writing, he’s in Iceland. And, I mean, come on.
Anderson spends most of his time being a photographer and letting his 405,000 Instagram followers indulge in his wanderlust.
“I’ve literally done nothing but photography,” Anderson told the Daily Dot via email. “Nothing.”
But how did he go from being crowned king of the internet to fading quietly into the mountains of Kauai? We’ll need a quick trip down memory lane to answer that.
Who is Tom from Myspace?
If tweens followed Tom on Instagram today, they would see a chipper dude, enthusiastically talking about his travels and occasionally expressing his deep love for boba tea and the San Francisco Giants. He comes across as a social “influencer”—otherwise known as a person with a massive Instagram following who gets paid to be a walking travel ad.
For a person who prefers to be behind the camera lens, he often answers questions from followers on his Instagram story:
Fans on Twitter would be quick to notice he’s a nauseatingly positive cliché slinger.
— Tom Anderson (@myspacetom) February 20, 2017
“We are indeed selfish hypocrites so skilled at putting on a show of virtue that we fool even ourselves.” -The Righteous Mind
— Tom Anderson (@myspacetom) February 2, 2017
True wealth is gratitude.
— Tom Anderson (@myspacetom) March 11, 2017
They would also see an ode to his past in the form of what is almost certainly his favorite meme.
Then there’s the occasional Roger Ailes defense. (?!)
— Tom Anderson (@myspacetom) May 18, 2017
And did I mention he loves boba tea?
— Tom Anderson (@myspacetom) May 8, 2016
But anyone over 20 would remember him, first and foremost, as Myspace‘s co-founder. He’s the man responsible for your obsession with organizing your Top 8 friends list and tempting you to write embarrassing status updates and upload profile pictures that will live forever in infamy.
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What is Myspace?
Myspace was introduced in August 2003. The then 32-year-old entrepreneur teamed up with an ad executive named Chris DeWolfe after they took notice of Friendster‘s limitations, the main social media platform at the time. Friendster didn’t allow users to create or conceal their identities, or personalize their profiles. Combine that with Tom’s love for music, and Myspace was born, becoming a space where users could customize their layouts and become who they wanted while also catering to music fans who wanted to directly interact with their favorite musicians.
Two years later, Myspace garnered 10 million users. In 2006, that number skyrocketed to 106 million, soon surpassing Google as the most visited website in the U.S. Media mogul Rupert Murdoch took notice and bought the site for $580 million. Tom was appointed president and, essentially, became number one in the Top 8 of the internet world.
The success endured for two years before Mark Zuckerberg‘s Harvard dorm-born project became the next new, shiny internet fixation. In June 2008, Facebook logged 116.4 million unique users—which was 700,000 more than Myspace was raking in. Tom later disagreed with top executives about the direction of Myspace and left the company in 2009.
He went back to some of his childhood and young-adult interests. Anderson sang and played guitar like he did when he attended UCLA and UC Berkeley, where he earned degrees in English and rhetoric, and critical film studies, respectively. He hung out on movie sets, notably during his cameo in Adam Sandler’s Funny People. He got back into his love of baseball and tried and failed to start a team in Las Vegas. He bought vacant lots and built houses, planning on selling one after another to move into a newer, better version. While on house number three, he had a particularly influential trip to the 2011 Burning Man arts festival. Photography caught his eye, and he’s been obsessed ever since. “I was hooked,” he told Red Bulletin.
What’s Tom from Myspace doing now?
Tom is literally in Iceland. And if he’s not in Iceland anymore, he’s probably in some other gorgeous part of the planet, snapping away at its beauty. He owns procrastination in a way that would make anyone jealous, dropping all kinds of cash on last-minute travel bookings moments before making his way.
“I have multiple homes in multiple cities, but I’m not satisfied just staying where I’m comfortable,” he told Influencive.com. “I want to keep creating.”
What’s next on his agenda is only a natural progression: moving pictures.
Tom said he’s interested in creating videos of his adventures. We can even expect to see a movie producing credit of his own in the future, he told the Daily Dot. And that’s hardly surprising. His actions follow a pattern. As he told ABC News:
“If you knew me before Myspace, you’d probably thought I’d have been a scholar teaching philosophy in a university my whole life. If you met me before college, you’d probably thought I’d be a musician for my entire life…I like change I like the idea that anything can happen. I don’t know where my life will lead. Adventures and the unknown has always been appealing to me.”
See the proof for yourself.
Northern Lights! Beautiful night in Iceland–I’m wearing fisherman’s waders there so I could walk into the ocean and take photos without getting wet. I put my camera on a tripod when the light show started. Please, everyone, make it a mission in your life to one day see the Northern Lights. It’s truly unforgettable… something you’ll cherish for the rest of your life
One of my favorite places on Earth, the ancient city of Bagan, in Myanmar. Yesterday a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit the city killing 4 and damaging nearly 200 of the beautiful pagodas there. Truly saddened seeing a place like this suffer s tragedy. I took this photo several years ago, I hope this beautiful structure is still standing :-/
If you’re not following him on Instagram, you should start now. That way, it’s almost like you’re still friends on Myspace.