Newest Review: ... Facebook. No skin of their nose though, because Myspace has some other wonderful features that mean the more professional likes of bands ... more
the online "Global Village" has arrived
Member Name: steerpyke
Advantages: endless possibilities
Before I go any further, I should explain the nature of myspace for the three people out there who haven’t yet signed up, well it seems as if everyone from this and indeed, many other planets are already on the site. Myspace provides the user with a personal page upon which to write about themselves. The page is a collection of forms and pre-generated templates that you fill in with information about yourself, your likes and dislikes, hobbies, activities, musical and literary tastes and anything else that you wish to say about yourself. Along side this there are chat rooms, events organisers, instant messages, discussion boards and all the things that have become associated with sites based around self-promotion. And that’s it, is it. Well yes and no. Myspace is really as simple or as complex as you want to make it, the value of the site is in the very fact that although it has masses of options regarding customising you page, it can be left fairly basic if, like myself, you are not any great techno-brain when it comes to these sort of things. Getting this far was fairly easy, having signed on in my booze addled state, which just shows how easy it is to do, by the next lunch time and about two hours work later, I had a pretty good page. I put a lot of information on my page, you know how verbose us writers can get when talking about ourselves, but I think that you could come up with a worthwhile page after forty minutes work. Of course you can tinker with, alter or completely rehash your page when and as often as you like. Its probably best to take the middle ground here and set up a page that has enough information to promote what it is you want to draw attention to, but leave enough room to add other things in later. There is a wealth of things that you can add on later from music file, videos from your favourite bands, quizzes and questionnaires and so much more.
So the work is done and you are ready to explore. Now this is really where the fun begins. Myspace currently has about 111,000,000 members. That’s not a typing error and yes that is a lot of people, so how can a membership that large have any sort of community feel to it? Well just like a country is made up of lots of small communities, myspace is divided into lots of smaller groups all interwoven and complex, just like real life. This is driven by the “friends” system. As you read about other members, you will obviously come across some that you seem to share parallel interests with and these you can ask to be your friends. Just like the trust systems found on these review sites you will find their link image in your friend’s folder and this acts as a direct jump to their page. Fairly quickly you will build up a whole series of webs of friendship as you hop from your friends to their friends and on the next circle. Also once friends you can leave comments on each other’s pages. Even though the enormity of the site is impossible to miss you will end up moving in small circles, often amongst people that you socialise with, people who share common interests, or just chatting to people that you find interesting.
So what’s the point of all of this? Well just as the Internet itself is really a vehicle, a means to an end, myspace is also what you make of it. Aside from the obvious chat/date possibilities, once you are aware that members may not just be everyday people but could be bands, companies or organisations, the possibilities open up before you. Many bands run a myspace site along side their own website and thus you then have a direct line to their gig date, news and media with downloads and the like available with easy to be listened to for free and even added to your own page. The beauty of this is that you can have access to hundreds of different band without having to move out of the myspace umbrella. If you find yourself on the profile page of your favourite band, it is easy to visit their friends and find out what they are listening to and recommending to others. You will also pick up other similar artists and eventually find that there are loads of new artists for you to check out, especially useful for small time bands looking to promote their work on a zero budget as it can be made available to literally millions of people through this site. As well as the promotion of bands, which seems to be what it really excels at, there are numerous games to play on line, it would seem that the place is too good to be true.
Well there are some downsides, well isn’t that always the case? One of the things that you have to be aware of is that anything that you post in a public area remains the property of myspace and as such can be used by them. It goes something like this:
"By posting Content on any public area of MySpace.com, you automatically grant as well as represent and warrant that you have the right to grant to MySpace.com, an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, fully paid, worldwide license to use, copy, perform, display, and distribute such information and content to MySpace.com and that MySpace.com has the right to prepare derivative works of, or incorporate into other works, such information and content, and to grant and authorize sublicenses of the foregoing."
Also the usual rules apply to minors using the site. Just because your sixteen year old daughter (minimum age to sign up) is chatting to a seventeen year old lad who claims to be a committed church goer and all round nice guy, that’s not to say he is, anyone can put up a false picture and pretend to be something they are not. This obviously goes for the Internet as a whole, but the widespread success and ease of use of this site means that its best to be aware, not everyone is who they may seem. It reminds me of a picture a friend forwarded to me a while back of a picture of a hairy, bearded biker type sat at his computer in this boxer shorts, beer gut hanging down and the caption “I’m the twenty one year old model you were chatting to on line last night.” That may be a bit of a laugh but the underlying message is worth thinking about.
As for me I love the place so far. Today I made contact with a guy whom I used to gig with and that I hadn’t seen for about four years and after adding my name to a couple of band profiles, received a friend request from a struggling band from California who thought that I might like their music, judging by the friends I had listed. They were right he music was fantastic and I now have it downloaded fro free on my PC. The site is really what you make of it, just like life really. Some people are happy to just send insults to their mates, others want highbrow discussions, others just want to promote their products, and others just want to make new friends. For me its about picking up some new music that I otherwise wouldn’t have access to and maybe catch up with friends I haven’t seen for a while.
Summary: a massive community site, great for music, chat and much more