October 29, 2007
Tom Anderson, cofounder of MySpace, is five years older than he claims.Anderson lists his age as 32 on his MySpace profile. But according to documents reviewed by Newsweek, he was born in November 1970, making him nearly 37.
Anderson also claimed to be 27 when he launched MySpace in 2003. If Newsweek is right, he was actually 32. People lie about their age for all kinds of reasons -- to get into bars, prowl teen chat rooms, or to keep their Hollywood careers afloat. In this case, I suspect it was motivated by a perverse Web 2.0 peer pressure. Youth and technological success make for a good story. The media can't get enough of teen titans such as Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, born in 1984, or Digg's Kevin Rose, who was born in '77. By knocking five years off his age, Anderson slotted himself neatly into a storyline that goes all the way back to young turks such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Marc Andreessen. Youth also is a valuable commodity in the social networking realm. Perhaps in MySpace's early days, Anderson worried that potential users might be turned off by having a thirty-something for a friend. Michael Arrington of TechCrunch broke the story. Not a bad day's work for an old guy -- he's 37, too.
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