When Love and Hate Collide: MySpace

Remember MySpace? I guess it was one of the first really mainstream social networking sites… remember, it was all big and fluffy and exciting a couple of years back, everyone who was anyone was flocking there. And then along came Facebook, and Twitter, and a whole range of other sites, and suddenly MySpace was “like, so last year”, and lots of people stopped caring.

Myspace” by moyix.

The benefits

I’m still on MySpace, but I can’t say that I’m an active participant. My page essentially acts as a placeholder, provides a link over here to my primary blog, and acts as a way of keeping in touch with a small group of folks who I know over there. If someone searches for me on MySpace, they’ll find at least one way to contact me, and hopefully find my “main” web presences.

I also find that MySpace, along with Last.FM, is one of my key “music networks”. I have discovered a number of new artists through MySpace – particularly Alex Cornish who is increasingly beginning to break through into the mainstream in the UK (looking forward to his London gig in a couple of weeks’ time). I’ve also connected with smaller bands and found more obscure (to the UK) artists I’ve been following for a while. I believe that MySpace is an interesting way for artists to release music, get themselves known, and interact with fans.

The way the music thing has generally worked is that I’ve found and “friended” an artist, and then explored their connections and sampled their music on the site. In a couple of cases other musicians have introduced themselves to me as “friends of xxx” artist that I like, and again I’ve usually at least visited their page to check them out. I’ve bought at least 2 albums by unsigned or minor artists that way, but conversely in other cases I’ve also decided that no, I still really don’t like hip-hop and not bothered with the musician that has tried to friend me.

There’s an iPhone application now, and I guess that has helped me to keep up with the status of folks on there and what they are doing, too. It has rekindled my interest a little.

The annoyances

A couple of things really are not great, though.

First, there’s a the perennial make-your-eyes-bleed-its-so-horrible design of MySpace pages. They really are awful, and although the refreshed header and button design introduced this year makes it a little cleaner, the majority of MySpace pages still look as though a 5 year old has plastered the most gaudy advert they can find onto a computer screen and then scribbled on it with crayon. There’s also the language and slang used by the majority of regular users WHO FINK THAT SHOUTING MAKES U KULER LOL (you get the point).

Today I received 3 emails from a guy who was trying to promote his MySpace profile and music. There were a few annoyances here… firstly he was using some automated mailing list thing to spam me, not using MySpace at all… secondly he sent me THREE of the darned emails, one of which contained the HTML code for a Flash player of his music, which I assume he thought would play directly in my mail… and again, there was that lack of grammar or spelling that characterises certain MySpace users.

Reader, on receipt of the third email, I took a look at the guy’s site.

Not my kind of music, to be perfectly honest. So I sent him a mail on MySpace asking him not to spam, and explaining that although I’m sure he’s a great guy, sending me repeated messages about himself was not going to encourage me to either listen, or tell others to listen – quite the opposite in fact.

The response?

not spam if ya aint sellin nothing, Sry Your pissed off over email, try Being born in poverty and haveing to become somthing with no help, if you got that many that just means im doing my job

*sigh* Well that’s another MySpace user blocked, then…

7 thoughts on “When Love and Hate Collide: MySpace”

  1. You, Sir, are so much more articulate than I! I posted something similar on my blog a couple of weeks ago and basically pulled the crap out of the site.

    I’ve found some great artists on MySpace Music and through their friends network I have found a load more.

    Dependent on your musical taste, have a look at Jody Schneider – very much like Sarah McLachlan or Tori Amos.

    I tend to avoid MySpace generally, as, like you I cannot stand bleeding eye syndrome.

  2. I don’t think I lasted 10 minutes on MySpace. I think I got in just as it was starting to fade and FaceBook was picking up steam. I created a little something on FaceBook and even have 40+ “friends” there. But seriously, do people with their own Web presence really need to be part of an ad-ridden, limited customization “community” with such a wide range of users?

    The way I see it, every 30 minutes you spend “socializing” on MySpace or FaceBook or LinkedIn is 30 minutes of your life that could be better spent socializing (no quotes) with flesh and blood friends, perhaps getting a bit of fresh air in the process.

  3. I’m inclined to agree, Maria. I was on a panel webcast yesterday about blogging and online communities and we got into some great conversations about exactly that – the nature of online socializing and “friending”.

    I do think that these sites are useful for building and managing networks… although then there’s a whole question about how they overlap and intersect. Of ~60 “friends” on MySpace they are mostly just people I don’t know personally but am interested in, usually from a musical perspective. There’s a small overlap with friends (usually actual friends) on Facebook, but a much wider intersection of contacts between my Facebook and LinkedIn networks… but we’re heading into the territory of a whole separate post I’d planned to write 🙂

    Really, all of these things should enhance or help to build real world relationships rather than replace them.

  4. I must admit that I gave up on MySpace once the real friend requests dried up and were overtaken by random requests from scantily clad women promoting their sites with the “real pictures on”!

    Hence I too now consider MySpace as principally a hosting venue for band websites of all shapes and sizes, but tend much more strongly towards last.fm and allmusic for discovering new related content.

    In fact maybe the point is that MySpace has really always been more about (visual) content … hence the “look at me” MySpace pages … and less about being an effective tool to augment your social networks. Facebook on the other hand is increasingly less about flashy content … especially given the relegation of apps in the new UI … and much more about keeping an effective overview on what a wide set of friends in your social network are up to. I find the latter very useful, which is why I’ll openly admit to living on Facebook and have no plans to start finding it boring yet!

  5. Jo had actually heard of Alex Cornish so was quite disappointed not to be able to make it to his next gig with you. You’ll have to convince him to visit Southampton!

    I’ve never signed up to MySpace, but spam finds it’s way on to every network sooner or later- had my first wall spam in Facebook recently and I’m getting more and more spam followers on Twitter. Maybe it’s a sign of success; that there are enough users to make it worth annoying them all. If only politely asking spammers to go away worked 🙂

  6. I must admit to finding mySpace utterly dismal. The astonishing visuals just being the start of it.

    My impression over a couple of months was that it was populated primarily by blue-collar adults and struggling musicians – and the prevalance of the ‘deformed hand’ (gangsta) photograph says more about the users than its subjects might wish it to…

    It made me feel like Bird, Fortune or both… I much prefer Facebook, where I was amused to see a posting on somebody’s wall that said “I’m sorry, but do I actually know you?” don’t know which was funnier – the indignation or the fact the recipient (who had in excess of 2000 ‘friends’ so obviously didn’t care.

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