MySpace, YourSpace, OurSpace, NoSpace

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by Mitchell Firman
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My first step into MySpace was also my first step into social media. My parents never let me get MSN, so for a long time I was constantly missing out on conversations people were having online. For me, MySpace was the website that changed that. With its focus on individual personalisation and vibrant connectivity, how could a teenager so starved for online connections not try to differentiate himself using this coded gift? It was the beginning of my life on the internet, marking the exact time my interest in all things online began to flourish.

Once a revolutioniser of social media, MySpace has fallen of the scene for a number of years as Twitter and Facebook came to dominate the world of interconnectivity. A year ago, when I first started playing in a band, we created a MySpace band page to add to our online presence. We did this mainly because it is really simple to upload music and create a page – a task Facebook has always dropped the ball in. A wave of nostalgia came crashing down as I logged into my old account and saw pictures and comments from five years ago… which kind of put a dampener on the whole nostalgia thing. I was even amazed to find that all the real time-based games I would play through MySpace were still accruing money to the point that I could buy everything in a criminal based game from an uptown loft to a Hummer with a rocket launcher.

It seemed crudely fun and whimsical as I went crazy with power, ordering hits on players who haven’t logged in for four years. The creation of the MySpace page seemed like a dead act to me, the audience it could be playing to is made up of ghost accounts of people who moved on to better, sleeker social networks.

Even after it was announced that MySpace was being redesigned, I thought it would eventually disappear – never to be resurrected again – as the use of Facebook became more prevalent. But in the wake of a preview video posted to Vimeo earlier this week, I cannot deny how unbelievably excited I am.

The MySpace template has been redeveloped to a stunning effect, showcasing a look that feels like the old MySpace-meets-Pinterest. It’s visually gorgeous and smooth with an engaging side-scroll design – which is quite fresh within the major social networks. It’s clear throughout the video that almost everything that was MySpace has been replaced, including the profile layout, photo albums and general website functionality. The focus of the video is to showcase how far MySpace has come and to get an audience excited for the release, but it accomplishes more than that: it also proves that they have successfully modernised MySpace.

Two Brisbane-based businesses were involved in the redesign of MySpace: Josephmark, a technology design company based in Brisbane and New York (who also designed We Are Hunted, a visually appealing website dedicated to helping you discover your new favourite artist as well as integrating into your social media), and their motion studio Breeder. You can especially tell the influence We Are Hunted has upon the music delivery through the new MySpace.

MySpace has always had an affinity for integrating music into your social network experience and they have always accomplished this better than Facebook. Now with this insight, it seems they have taken many of the designs from We Are Hunted and put them to first-class use. The square boxes for artist, the ease of creating mixes and sharing them and an integrated music player within the website have all been included – something Facebook has always delivered with third-party support through Spotify or other applications. In the scheme of major social networks this will maintain MySpace’s advantage over Facebook – at least for the time being.

Justin Timberlake dominates the video as one would expect from one of the MySpace owners, but it’s unclear to me whether he’s using the video to promote his music or his music to promote the video. Either way, the stronger push towards the direction of music, artists and bands could be connected to him.

If MySpace is delivered as brilliantly as it appears, then they will have successfully raised the dead. The only question that grates in my mind is whether the average user is willing to maintain three social mediums. Will a triad of networks contribute to my online connections, or will some of them decline? MySpace have been out of the online conversation for enough years, and if they were as starved as I was, it will be their time to flourish – if you are looking to be one of the first few on MySpace 2.0 (as I have been referring to it), check it out.

by Mitchell Firman
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