It’s days like this that social media junkies salivate over. First, Facebook announces a new search engine that is already being prophesied as direct competition for Google. Then on the same day, as the gods of social media bestow their bounty upon us, Myspace opens up their revamped site to the social-networking, information-consuming masses.
The new Myspace is here. Lets dive in and see if it’s any good.
First thing’s first: signing up. A process that has become so streamlined over time that retina scans and fingerprint readers are probably much closer than we think. Identifying as a “Writer/Journalist” takes me to an innocuous profile template the likes of which I’ve seen a dozen times. Except now, everything is washed in a brutal off white that perhaps I’m supposed to associate with modern or hip or modern hipness, god only knows.
After filling out the customary “Tell us about yourself” section in which I brag endlessly about my many achievements (“I once met the guy who played Dr. Zaius in ‘The Planet of The Apes’”) I’m whisked away to my homepage where, for the second time, I’m offered the opportunity to listen to a new single from Myspace co-owner Justin Timberlake titled “Suit & Tie.” And, for the second time I politely decline.
All right, signing up is out of the way, time to push my trackpad south and view the site like every normal website I have ever visited in the history of the internet. Oh, what in the hell is this? I guess we are moving side to side in the new Myspace, because naturally, viewing web pages top to bottom is so last century.
The new Myspace seems to be all about music discovery. The “Stream” menu explains that I will be able to “Find emerging artists, new music and top mixes,” while “Search” promises that in order to find something I need to “just start typing,” so I do. I type in “The Mountain Goats” and get this:
Okay, that’s pretty cool. Clicking a link to their artist page takes me to a list of top tracks accompanied by a grouping of “Top Fans” who occupy the space just below the playlist and just above the “Similar Artists” and “Inspired By” menus. There’s a radio function, which works similar to Pandora and pops out of the bottom of the page.
Discovery on Myspace brings a whole host of new content including 8Tracks.com-inspired handcrafted mixes and a slew of video lists, interviews and articles that all read left to right, like a book. A website built like a book — dammit I thought I left book learning far behind me in college.
Everything else about the new Myspace is your typical social media fare. Photo uploading, connecting with people and status updates all make an appearance with a fairly intuitive interface. It’s much prettier than Facebook, and the in-site radio and “Discover” menu make Myspace less about your boring friends’ status updates and more about actually discovering new and interesting content.
In theory, think of the new Myspace as all of the things we love about the internet wrapped into one off white side-scrolling package. It’s promising now, but as the rise and fall of countless social networking sites have proven, only time will tell if the new Myspace is here to stay.