When Justin Timberlake helped buy MySpace for $35 million last year, there was a lot of speculation as to how on earth he would resurrect the ailing social network. Well, this morning I received my invite to try out the new MySpace, and the opportunity to seek the answers. Is Justin Timberlake really bringing MySpace back?
Admittedly, I was more excited than I probably ought to have been, having been thoroughly impressed with the promotional video for the rebuilt network some time ago.
First things first – the branding. Gone is the disastrous redesign where ‘space’ was supplanted by a line. Gone is the capitalisation of the M and the S. This is Myspace. In fact, there’s very little left of the Myspace of old. There isn’t much of the old code – Justin Timberlake said: “We never looked at this as some sort of rebranding or reinvention. This was for us a completely new platform… The name was acquired but I think that was a good thing for us. The important thing up until this point . . . was to really give it an identity.”
So what is the new Myspace all about? It’s refocussed on where it always did well: music, artists and fans.
Gone is the fuss and the bastardised CSS that may well have been responsible for killing Myspace the first time around and the key here is big, slick graphics, well considered typography and minimal fuss. There are a couple of remnants from the days of old: your profile song and your top 8 friends.
Your profile page is made up of:
Current Myspace users will still have to create a new profile and I’m sure mine will undergo a few iterations before I’m happy with it. The trick is to come up with something that suits the full screen profile and the side-scrolling browing.
Updating your profile is straightforward: it’s a text update with the option to add an image or (and I like this) even a song. Worth noting that they’ve restricted update to 150 characters – just 10 more than Twitter, so expect brevity and fast pace.
It’s in the discovery element of the new Myspace where the very well considered design comes to light. You can discover:
With any new network (and this really does feel like a new network), a discovery tool is useful for getting your hands dirty with the site, but one touch I especially like is how to search: you just start typing. Not in a search box – just type. And here’s how it looks:
Slick, right? In-line search results across the possible sections of the page make finding what you’re looking for easy. Compared to the counter-intuitive Facebook search functionality, this works like a dream. So you’ve found what you’re looking for – that artist, that band – what does it look like?
Again, the element of discovery here has been optimised for a clean user experience.
On Facebook we Like and have Friends. On Twitter we Follow or are Followed. Myspace is all about Connections. You can connect to me, Tom Stables, if you’re wondering who to connect to. And on here, not only can you connect to people but also with artists, bands and even songs (which is the Myspace equivalent to Liking).
I’ve yet to find use for the Affinity percentage, though I suspect this will become more relevant as I interact and connect with more people and things on Myspace. After just one connection, Affinity has demonstrated it’s use: if a seeming stranger connects, the Affinity score will let me know how we might get on – it’s the common ground we share.
For me, this is were I think Myspace may well work for me: the music. I never really converted wholly to Spotify. I was quick to adopt Pandora (before they pulled UK usage) and enjoyed Playlist (before they pulled the music). The whole bottom bar of Mysapce – your Deck – is dedicated to music: your music queue (now playing), your mixes (playlists) and radio (based on genre/artist).
Playlists are nothing new but again, the design of the new Myspace makes the process of creating, sharing and connecting to playlists an enjoyable experience. It makes you want to create, curate and explore.
Honestly? I really like it. The user interface is clean, the images are crisp and the interactive elements are intuitive without sacrificing functionality.
This is undoubtedly the last gasp for Myspace – if this doesn’t save it, nothing will.
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