I have a MySpace profile that I use occasionally for comparison purposes. I use the account when I read about some new feature they have or to see how they handle a specific social network feature.
Last week, I got bacn from MySpace saying that “Cathy” wanted to be my friend. Although I know MySpace is rife with spam invites, I actually know a woman named Cathy. Not exactly the social network junkie, but she has a niece who fits the MySpace demographic. So, I decided to log in to see if it was her.
So, after half a dozen cookie requests, I finally got the home page loaded. I tried to login and failed. Like I said, I don’t use the account much, so remembering the password took a few attempts. MySpace delivers a user-friendly message when you fail to match credentials:”You must be logged in to do that.” What? I must be logged in to log in? How does that work?
Anyway, finding out this nugget of information takes several seconds as the MySpace home loads a background ad for Saw 4, along with some creepy music. As a side note, will someone please tell Hollywood that pitching graphic horror movies to young people is a bad idea?
So, I finally remembered my password and therefore was allowed to do that, i.e. log in, and after four more cookie requests, I’m finally in my profile. MySpace has strange UI. Home is your profile home, and in addition, there’s a MySpace.com link, in case you need to see the Saw 4 ads again. Weird paradigm.
Simplicity is often cited as the Facebook mantra, especially when compared to MySpace, which allows users to modify every single aspect of their profiles. However, if you have done nothing to your profile, like me, MySpace is really bare.
More UI fun, MySpace lets me know that “Jake is in your extended network.” Thank you, Captain Obvious. Good to know that I am in my own extended network. Although, I never got an invite. Given the choice, I might not want to be my own friend.
Anyway, I go to “Friend requests” to see if Cathy is my real friend or some other Cathy. Surprise, it’s not. Plus, there are a bunch of other requests in my inbox from accounts that have been deleted. All spam, all the time. So, while I’m in MySpace, I decide to check out the profile of the only friend I have on MySpace.
So, it takes several seconds to load because it’s a full page of Photobucket images, at least six embedded movies, a Cincinnati Bengals background and about eight vertical pages of stuff. I’ve had enough, and this profile doesn’t even have a song playing.
Conclusion, MySpace is not for me, duh. I’ve asked people who have accounts with both Facebook and MySpace to compare them. The main appeal is that MySpace allows complete personalization, which explains its appeal to young people and anyone wanting to build a brand through the social network like bands, movie producers, comedians, extroverts, etc. Having a celebrity or character (e.g. Chazz Michael Michaels) in your top friends seems to be a fun thing.
A lot of people start with MySpace as their first social network, which is still a much larger network than Facebook in terms of members. Maintaining multiple profiles and reinviting friends when you start using a new social network is a chore. So, there is probably room in the social networking game for both Facebook and MySpace in the long run, if only due to their differences.
MySpace isn’t for me, but I guess I can see it’s appeal for some folks. They call it “a place for friends”, but more accurately, it’s a place for you, all you all the time.