Those of you who have been following me for a while (or know me personally) know that Myspace is one of my favorite things to talk about. I have said before that I would drop everything to be the CEO of that company, and I’m only half kidding when I say that.
When Myspace released a video of their redesigned site I was elated. Watching (fictional person) David create an account and then scroll through pictures and friends, share music, connect with musicians… It seemed to echo many of the thoughts I had for the service; take the template for Myspace Music, and grow it. Make Myspace a place for artists. The New Myspace brings us closer to a social network for artists than any other site has before. And it does it with style. Myspace is damn pretty.
I have been using New Myspace almost two months. I think it’s pretty good. The site just opened to the public so I thought it would be worth putting some thoughts on down on text
As far as the gist of the site, the flow and basic day to day use, New Myspace makes more sense to me than Facebook. I would go as far as saying that New Myspace actually makes Facebook feel a little outdated, especially when you consider that we we live in a world of Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest.
So that’s the good news, here’s the bad news. Even though the site is now out of beta, some parts of the site just don’t function, there are some poorly worded error messages, and there is currently no way to use the site on mobile. The Myspace iOS app takes you into Classic Myspace (that’s what the Admins call it) and doesn’t surface any information in New Myspace. This was kind of OK when it was in closed beta but now that the site is open to the public, it’s not good. A social network that doesn’t support mobile is not going to gain any traction.
Dedicated Myspace Music and Myspace Comedy pages are gone. Everyone, every page, is on a level playing field. No need to juggle multiple pages/accounts for your multiple interests. Right at the start you’re asked what kind of profile you want to make. I’m a photographer, filmmaker, writer. So I checked the appropriate boxes and that opened up different functionality than if I selected “musician”. I can’t upload my own music but I can upload my own videos (… well, in theory. The “video” part of the site isn’t up yet. There is a tab for video but it says I currently have no videos to play, and also doesn’t allow me to upload them. The help forum told me they’re ‘coming soon.’ No other timeline was given for that and there’s no word if we will be allowed to embed videos, or have to upload them to Myspace.).
You can change what you’re “into” at any time. If I suddenly have an epiphany and record some of my own music I can turn on “musician” or “DJ” and upload songs to my hearts content. It’s pretty cool that the pages are malleable with people’s ever changing tastes.
I was hoping selecting photographer would allow me to create a portfolio or enhance the gallery options, but I didn’t notice anything different. Kind of a bummer. I was really hoping for some dedicated tools for photographers.
Everything you loved from your old Myspace profile is back. Top 8, profile song,
annoying glitter gifs in your profile. Ok, so not all of them are back. And the music doesn’t auto play. And you don’t have to have a Top 8. So there’s just enough classic Myspace for you to remember 2004, and then remember that you’re using a very different service. I’d call that a win.
I was kind of dreading my setting up a profile. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve uploaded that photo of me, you know, that standard ‘this is my photo on all my services’ photo. Luckily, after checking the boxes and uploading that photo, there isn’t much profile to set up. Actually, exploring Myspace and connecting to songs, photos, people, and mixes is what builds your profile. And since these are (hopefully) things you’re going to do anyway the pieces just kind of fit together.
Within seconds I found a few people I knew, or were interested in enough to follow. I felt obligated to follow Justin Timberlake, since he has become the de facto poster child for Myspace. Searching is easy, just start typing. Big text and search results ensue. It’s really pretty. Typing “frightened” instantly brought up artists, songs, and albums. I connected to Frightened Rabbit and some of their albums.
The first real problem I discovered with the New Myspace was with “mixes.” We need to talk about mixes. It’s a terrible name for what it is: a photo gallery and music collection. It’s actually a really clever idea, capture a time/place with music and pictures. Unfortunately the functionality is not initially clear. The lack of information on the create screen, the picture of a record, Myspace’s deep roots in music (both Classic and New), and the name (‘mix’ does not evoke the idea of pictures at all) did nothing to tell me that this was a place to upload photos. I thought it was only for music.
Only after I got angry at at the inability to upload more than one photo at a time to my feed, did I discover that mixes double as photo albums. You can use mixes as just a playlist or just as a photo album. That’s worth noting.
I drove across country in August with two of my best friends Matt and Bryan. On the trip Roam by the B52s kind of became our theme song. I really like that I can combine all the photos from the trip as well as that song in one place. It helps share that experience with everyone going through my profile. Again, cool idea, it just desperately needs to be renamed.
Naming aside I really like what they’re doing. You can connect to a mix. And (this is where Myspace Connections and Facebook Likes differ) the mix drops into your profile. So, Matt and Bryan connect to my Road Trip mix it shows up with the rest of their mixes. Now all their friends can see our photos it, and they don’t have to go hunting for the source of the photos, my profile. It’s something I wished Facebook would do for a while.
Another major problem is the feed. Once you’ve connected to a few people, artists, and mixes, they start showing up in your feed. Which is fine, and what I expected, but by default the feed shows way too much information. I don’t really care that someone just connected with thirty new people, and I don’t need to see thumbnails of all thirty. And someone can just take over your feed if they’ve just listened to a lot of music.
You can limit some of what you see in the feed but the controls are not granular enough. You can turn off music played, and uploaded photos, but not connections to people. There also aren’t groups so there’s no way to dig in and see just my close friends. Not that any of my close friends are using the service yet. I might be less annoyed if I saw Brendan listening to a lot of music, than some random photographer.
This is by no means a deal breaker for me. The mixes problem wasn’t either. Not being able to show off my videos, is annoying. (I’m a filmmaker and I’d like to show off my work.) Now that the site open to the public these things should just work. They are problems that I hope will be addressed soon. They are little things but there is a noticeable lack of refinement to a service that is otherwise very pretty and seems to be the social network I’ve been wanting.
I cant tell if I’m being hypercritical of a service I had gigantic hopes for, or if I’m being appropriately critical of yet another social network vying for my time and attention.
For the most part though I really like the New Myspace. I’ve enjoyed seeking out photographers and looking at their work. I really like the in browser music player and the ability to create a pandora like radio station for almost any artist. And I think it’s a really pretty site. I’m going to try and stick it out, because I think with some tweaking and delivering some promised functionality (video) it really will be a good service.
I say try because my use hinges on people. If my friends don’t go to Myspace, or I can’t find interesting people to connect with I won’t use the site. It’s that simple. It would have been the same way with any site. I have all but stopped using Facebook, because my closest friends use Twitter and Tumblr to share pictures and links and status updates. With social networks, you have to go where your friends are, and I can’t tell if they’re going to move back to Myspace.
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