The new Myspace: Social Media’s B-side?

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  • December 10, 2012
Georgia Halston

Georgia Halston

Social Media Strategist

Last week the Branded3 team took the opportunity to have a peek at the new and improved Myspace in an effort to ascertain as to whether or not sexy had in fact, been brought back.

It was a mixed reception across the board as we dissected the platform in terms of usability, features, functionality, visual-aesthetic and most interestingly, where it will sit in the broader social media landscape in which the newest incarnation of the platform has found itself.

To build upon our initial thoughts, here is a more in-depth review of the new Myspace:

Myspace user interface

User Interface

The first thing any user will notice on hitting the new Myspace landing page is the undoubtedly clean, professional design. The platform is extremely image heavy which makes for a visually stimulating timeline.

Myspace users are invited to post ‘stories’ with a similar question to Facebook’s ‘What’s on your mind?’ Myspace asks ‘What’s the latest?’

Unlike other platforms, not only can you interact with other people, such as ‘friending’ them on Facebook or ‘following’ them on Twitter, you can also interact with objects, particularly songs, with their idiosyncratic Myspace ‘connect’.

Notifications are at the bottom of the page and are not as pronounced as say, those on Facebook, and are actually quite hard to spot when using the platform for the first time.

One of the more conspicuous elements of the user interface that sets the new Myspace apart from previous deigns and indeed any other platform out there, has to be the horizontal scrolling. It is clearly more resembling of an actual historical timeline in my opinion and as I explained in my initial notes, is what really sets apart in terms of design, from the vertical timelines used by many of their competitors.

Features

The search feature is a really handy one, but is not one found easily to those not already in the know. You may notice from your ‘Stream’ screen that there is a search and a ‘Discover’ tab at the bottom of the screen but this is neither the fastest nor the most savvy way to search.

From any page on the new Myspace, unless you have selected another cell or feature to input into, if you simply start typing, your whole screen becomes a search bar.

Myspace search feature

Obviously Myspace is about music; their core users were always musicians and music fans and this is certainly been the driving force behind the new design. As Laura Crimmons explained in her initial thoughts, “It seems like it’s trying to be the new Spotify but without the same volume of music that Spotify has”, this may of course change, if and when the new Myspace gains some real steam in the social sphere.

Some of the main features surround discovering, listening to and sharing music. The Library feature for example allows you to add music files of your own to your profile as well as creating albums of songs you find via Myspace.

Myspace library feature

A real space for Myspace

It seems like the new owners, designers and investors (the most famous of which being Mr Justin Timberlake) really have tried to listen to and learn from the mistakes and triumphs of their social brethren over the last few years, and monopolise on the features which work best with social – music being an outstanding example and an image heavy interface being another.

These may be obvious beneficial elements to social now, but if we cast our minds back only a few years, the implementation of social media was far more uncertain. Other platforms such as Facebook and Pinterest have done the groundwork and have had to find out the hard way which features worked best and why.

In terms of where Myspace will sit within the courtroom of social platforms really does remain to be seen. Users can link their Myspace accounts with both Twitter and Facebook so it is at least compatible with its stable mates and seems to be an amalgamation of them all.

It has the photo detail of Instagram, the micro-blogging aspect of Twitter, Facebook’s general connectivity and a facet of imagery attributed only to Pinterest. On top of that, the new Myspace has taken on a whole new over lying paradigm, that of music. It has 8track’s playlist customisation and even threatens Youtube in terms of accessibility and music playing capabilities.

Swedish music streaming service Spotify have recently expressed that “You can’t have a social strategy without a music strategy” and claim that more than 50% of all activity on social networks revolves around music. Myspace have done wonders to monopolise on this point and unlike Spotify, do it for free with no ads giving it a real USP on this front.

Myspace is set to do really well in its latest embodiment, the most prominent point of failure and perhaps the elephant in the room, is their historical tendency not to have the ability to truly grow and transform as social trends do. If they do fall folly to the mistake that originally lead them to redundancy, they could feel the cold wind of the social media ether once again.

Myspace is still invite only, (you can add you email address to the waiting list here) everyone who has Myspace already can invite five friends (I still have seven invites if anyone is interested!).

Myspace invite

This is perhaps an attempt to capitalise on the honour and elitism felt by those who have been invited but is a practice that is likely to come to an end as was the case for Pinterest in early August of this year.

If you have any questions about the new Myspace or would like to weigh-in on the conversation, use the comments box below.

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