Blogger Widgets Read between the lines: My space ... WTF is it?


Monday, September 10, 2007

My space ... WTF is it?

If you don't already know, My Space is one of the many social networking sites that are currently out there, however is probably the most popular of them with seemingly everyone having an account on there these days. The site was set up in July 2003 by Tom Anderson who is the the current president and CEO, and Chris DeWolfe as well as an additional small team of programmers, with the site gradually getting more popular, starting off as a site in which you could keep in contact with your friends or make friends with new people that shared similar interests, MySpace expanded into other areas such as music and videos as to broaden it's target audience and get people to use the site due to its other features rather than rival sites such as video site youTube and music site PureVolume. Since the creation of My Space Music, it has been a great launch pad for a number of bands, most notably the UK's platinum selling 'Arctic Monkeys' who came to fame as a result of their MySpace popularity, so for all those not in the know they seemingly appeared from nowhere. As well as the 'Arctic Monkeys', other bands can definitely be seen to have benefited from the popularity of the site such as Las Vegas four piece 'Panic! At The Disco' who managed to sell out a UK tour with Chicago's very own 'The Academy Is...' with neither of them having released an album in the UK at the time. The success and growing popularity of MySpace was clear from an early stage, and in July 2005 was bought for $580 million by Australian born Rupert Murdoch and his world renowned News Corporation company.

At the time of writing this, 'Tom has 111360896 friends.' so that will give you a rough idea of just how many people use the site, however having said that a lot of people delete Tom from their friends list so the actual number of accounts out there is going to be far greater than that, Tom being Tom Anderson, the current president and CEO who is automatically added to your 'friends' list when you sign up. Tom's existence within the My Space community has been subject to great debate since Rupert Murdoch took over, with many feeling that 'Tom' no longer exists but is merely a friendly face that the News Corporation hide behind. Other conspiracy theories include things such as profile details being sold on to companies in order for them to advertise their goods through peoples profiles. The stories that people will come up with trying to get people to boycott the services of multinational company successes eh?

--Signing up for a Profile--

This is easy to do, when you go on to in the top right hand corner, you will see a 'Sign Up' button which you can click and then fill in a bit of basic information about yourself such as your name, gender, e-mail, date of birth, and where you live - a similar sort of set up as when you're joining any sort of internet forum really, a quick and simple registration procedure. It is only after you have signed up for your free account that you will be given the option to start building up your profile and adding pictures of yourself to your page so that people can see who you are, it's always slightly disconcerting when someone tries adding you that doesn't have a picture of themselves uploaded as you just have no idea who they are and for all you know, they could be stalking you for the next few weeks. The sorts of things you can share once you have signed up for a profile and uploaded a picture of yourself are a bit of information about yourself, a list of your interests, favourite films, favourites bands, books, TV programmes, blog entries etc. If you don't like the look of the default MySpace profile then you can spruce it up with a bit of HTML, and if you don't know any then there are plenty of sites that do the code for you and then it's just a case of copying and pasting the code into your profile. Easy as pie!


By going on to someone's profile you will see a number of options on their page such as 'Send Message', 'Block User,' and of course - 'Add To Friends'. By adding a person to your friends list you can then leave comment for them on their page, on their pictures and if you choose to, have their face in your 'Top 8'. It's a good way of keeping in touch with people that you no longer see as much as you would like for whatever reason, making new friends, and also adding your favourite bands. Most days will see 'Friend Requests' (what it is called on your profile when someone has clicked the 'Add To Friends' button on your profile) from a number of random bands that you have probably never heard of. While sometimes by this you will come across some great bands, most of the time the bands tend to be a bit sub-standard, hence the reason for having to add their 'friends' rather than actual fans of the band adding them I guess. As well as bands and your friends adding you, other people that you may not necessarily know could add you as well, in which case you need to decide whether you want to add them to your 'friends' list or not. Reading through their profile may help you to decide this - they could have a decidedly similar taste in music or such like, in which case you may decide to add them to your list and keep in contact with them. Obviously you do not have to accept people's friend requests, so if you don't like the look of them then you can easily be rid of them with with the 'Deny' button, hopefully never to hear from them again.

Under 16s are set to 'private' and in order to add them to your friends list you first need to know either their surname or e-mail address, this is a step that MySpace has taken as to try and limit the number of young people that will be taken advantage of. Obviously the vast majority of people on the site are not out to trick people and lie about their age, however there are inevitably still some sick people out there that will lie about themselves so I feel that this is a great policy that MySpace has adopted, and more fool those that lie about their age and proclaim to be older than 16 when they truly are not.


Once you have signed up for a MySpace account, you can then upload 16 pictures of your choice and title them up so that people looking at them know what they are looking at. There is an option to 'Report This Image' if you feel that a certain picture is a violation of MySpace rules which are taken from the site as follows: 'Photos may not contain nudity, sexually explicit content, violent or offensive material, or copyrighted images. Do not load images of other people without their permission.' As a persons 'friend' you can comment their pictures, writing whatever you wish about the picture in question, just bare in mind however that the person has the power to delete what you've written, so try not to be too mean about their latest dodgy hairstyle or poor choice in clothing!


These are basically e-mails that you can send to other MySpace users, by looking at your 'sent' items you will be informed as to whether the person has 'read' the message you sent them or not and so you can get an idea of whether they're choosing to ignore you or just simply haven't read the message you sent yet. You don't have to be a persons friend to send them a message - messages can be sent to anyone, so you'll often find that it's best to message a person before adding them as otherwise they may have no idea why you're sending them a 'friend request' and so reject you as a friend. It's a good way of getting speaking to someone as obviously you can talk to them about anything without the worry of someone else seeing what you've said to them, unless of course they send your message onto someone else but that of course is a whole different story.


These are messages that can be left on a person's profile, with the profile displaying the most recent 50 comments that have been left. It is possible to see all of the person's comments if you so wish by clicking on 'View All' and then you can be nosey and have a look through all the previous comments which have been left. To leave a comment on someone's profile, you must first be their 'friend', however you do not have to be the person's friend in order to read their comments unless their profile is set to 'private'. Comments are quite a pointless feature on MySpace and although I am guilty of using them on a regular basis, what is said in a comment could just as easily be written in a message, and being written in a message only the person you are writing to would be able to see it, not countless other people that happen to be browsing pages reading about what other people are doing with their lives. MySpace comments are really a way of showing just how MySpace you are, the more comments you have, the more respect you will receive as a hardcore MySpace user. Obviously most people aren't really going to care how many comments you've received, however there are some that seem to look at it as a personal challenge to see how many comments they can receive in a day, week, month or even year.

--Browsing Users--

This is a good feature if you're wishing to look for other people in your area that have got an account. It's a good way of looking for people that use to go to your school/university/college or whatever as you can type in your post code and then look for people that live within as near as 5 miles from or as far as 250 miles from where you live, narrowing the search further by only looking for people of a certain age, gender, relationship status etc. if you so wish. I think they could probably further improve on this feature by letting you search for people by sexuality also, if this feature was added then I'm sure that a lot of people that use the site for dating would much appreciate it. Another good feature along these lines is that you can look to see if any of your Google, Yahoo, AOL or MSN contacts have an account on MySpace, so as soon as you get on this site you can look to see just how many of your friends are already in on the act of MySpacing.


There are groups for pretty much everything on MySpace, these being small communities in which you can share interests with like minded users by means of a web forum. Anyone can set up a 'group' and these groups can range from ones in which you can talk about your favourite TV programmes, to ones where you can talk to people at the University you are going to/are at, one's about your favourite bands etc. Pretty much whatever you can think of there will be a MySpace group that suits your need, and if there isn't then you can sort out that niche in the market with the creation of your own and invite other members to join that you think may well be interested.


Anyone with a MySpace account can now upload videos and there is now a dedicated 'video' area of the site where you can search for videos that you may be interested in and see if anyone has uploaded them. Whether you have a band or a normal MySpace account, videos can be uploaded, so it's a good feature if you're in a band and make a video but cant get it shown on any of the music channels for whatever reason but don't want it to go to waste, or you could also utilise the feature as a regular user as a way of leaving a video message for others to watch if you feel so inclined. This feature was added to the site not so long ago, clearly integrated into the site as a way of trying to compete with Google video and other video sites such as the ever popular youTube, which if reports are to believed has actually surpassed MySpace in popularity now as of a couple of months ago. That's some achievement given how many people have a MySpace account, I can tell you that for nothing!


MySpace has a tremendous music section which is one of the main reasons that I still continue to use the site. There are so many bands registered on here it's unbelievable, before a band even plays their first gig they seem to have an account on MySpace with some rough demo's of their tracks on there to try and test out the water it seems. With people giving the band feedback before they have even properly got going, they can get an idea of what they need to do and build up somewhat of a cult following so that when they do get to gigging then they can guarantee a decent turn out. Obviously the music section of the site is not only used by unknown bands, with major names utilising the sites facilities also as a way of furthering their fan base and getting more people to check out their music. You'll find bands of all levels and calibre on here, obviously there will be some great new bands to check out as well as the inevitable ear paining bands.

On the music page you can look up your favourite genre/s of music and see which bands are the most popular major label bands of that type, with the same going for bands on independent labels and even those that are unsigned. It's obvious to see why so many bands take advantage of the MySpace music facilities - 4 songs can be uploaded by any band and this will cost them absolutely nothing to do. It's a great way of marketing your band as without even leaving your country or even your home town, you can build up a great following elsewhere and if you're lucky, before you know it you could well have a world renowned band. It really is a simple yet effective tool, and with so many people having a MySpace account, the Music service really is a strong promotional device.

--MySpace IM--

This feature appeared a couple of months back, visually looking like MSN messenger but with AOL messenger style conversation windows - these are the two most popular messenger serviced so it is only natural that they should use these two services as a basis for their own. With MySpace IM you can talk to all your contacts through here just like any other messenger service, however what is particularly appealing about this service is that it will tell you whenever you get an 'alert' i.e. you receive a message, comment, picture comment, or friend request from someone and so you can quickly respond to people. I myself have discovered a moderate MySpace addiction in the past whereby I would refresh the page every 5 minutes to see if I had any new mail, always keeping the MySpace site open to make sure that I didn't miss anything/anyone when they come on line, however with MySpace IM alerts this has become a thing of the past for me and probably for many others. It should give many peoples 'f5' key a welcome rest across the globe I'd imagine.


MySpace is a great site which is excellent for keeping in touch with your mates and especially good for checking out new bands, using the search feature to look up bands in your favourite genre/s and see what bands really appeal to you. I've been a member for about 2 years now and must say that it is a great site and although you will inevitably come across a fair share of weirdos, you're also likely to meet and make friends with some really nice people on there that share similar interests with you. I really cant recommend the music section of the site enough though as there are so many bands on there, each with a fair selection of songs for you to check out and even put one of the songs on your profile so that it will play whenever anyone goes on your page if you so wish. The site is great whatever age you happen to be as there are people of all ages that use the site whether it be to network, make friends, or even to find people for dating - so whatever you're after, MySpacemight just be able to provide you with it.

I would say that MySpace is definitely the best social networking site out there, and with all its different aspects and uses it is hard to fault the vast array of features that Rupert Murdoch has to offer with MySpace. Although the site can become a bit slow at times with so many people logging in, what with its massive number of users - it is still a great tool and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone out there that doesn't already have an account. With it's simple yet easy to use structure, I can see MySpace continuing to be a success for the considerable future.


Vanishing fear

Your thoughts are what frighten you. Choose to change them, and the fear is gone.