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Assignment B Tamara Barrett (3859706) & Georgia Charleston (3843252)

MySpace

HISTORY OF MYSPACE
Reference – Boyd, D & Ellison, N 2008, ‘Social Network Sites: Definition, History and Scholarship’, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, pp. 210-230

MySpace was launched in 2003 and was formed to compete with sites like Friendster. MySpace aimed to attract the users of Friendster after the site fell out of favour with consumers. Due to the failings of Friendster MySpace was able to capitalise and grow rapidly. The group of consumers most commonly associated with encouraging users to make the switch were Indi rock bands that could not access Friendster because they did not adhere to the sites regulations and policies. The fact that these bands jumped on board was welcomed, but not actually planned. It was a key reason, as to why MySpace grew at the pace it did, and the mutually beneficial relationship attracted more and more users as the site grew larger. MySpace also set itself apart from Friendster by adding features based on consumer/user demand. Personalising pages was a key feature added by MySpace and allowed users to utilize codes in order to personalise and update their profiles. This ‘code’ culture garnered support from users and generated a unique niche for MySpace at the time. In 2004 teenagers began to use MySpace on a much larger scale. MySpace made the clever move of altering its policies to allow under age users to participate rather than alienate these potential users with strict regulations. As the site continued to grow, teenagers, bands and artists and post college social crowds became the most prevalent groups on the site. But mainstream press did not pay attention and so the sites growth went under the radar until 2005 when News Corporation purchased MySpace for $580 million dollars, generating extreme media attention and social coverage. Since 2008 the number of MySpace users has declined at a steady rate, with Facebook overtaking the site in terms of most visitors. MySpace has had to reduce its staff from 1600 to 200. Many reasons have been given as to why MySpace has experienced a decrease in user traffic; failure to innovate, inability to keep users interested and interacting on the network as well as the inability of the site to produce and maintain an efficient filter.

WHAT IS MYSPACE

Reference: Liu, H 2008, ‘Social Network Profiles as Taste Performances’, Journal or Computer-Mediated Communication, pp. 252-275

MySpace is a site where ‘users can display their status and distinction to an audience comprised of friends, co-workers, potential love interests, and the web public’ (pp. 253). It is a non-professional site typically featuring user’s interests. MySpace is an online community that is effectively a music friendly space where individuals can communicate and share their common interests. It consists of the typical features an online community requires, those being forums, customised user profiles and user groups. Users are able to freely express their tastes, by writing about themselves on their page or on others, also by customising their profiles that are available for the rest of the network to see.

GROWTH AND ADOPTION

MySpace was picked up quickly by young adults involved in music and then moved into more mainstream use. However as social network saturation peaked, interest in MySpace declined, as users started choosing to maintain only one social network site rather than several. More often than not users were choosing Facebook as their site of choice.

It is interesting to note that MySpace’s the most significant gender divide along its users than most other social network sites; with approximately 65% women and 35% men.

Gender Graph

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FORMS OF INTERACTION

Reference – Boyle, K & Johnson T 2010, ‘MySpace is your space? Examining self-presentation of MySpace users’, Computers in Human Behaviour, vol.26, pp 1392-1399

There are many ways to interact on MySpace, you can comment on your friends pages or their statuses, send them a message or tag them in a picture. MySpace also has a blog section, where you can write blogs, or search for other users blog posts. It is similar to Facebook in terms of interactivity but the main difference is the fact you are more able to personalise your page on MySpace. MySpace also encourages you to interact with musicians and bands more than other social media sites.

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Status Update on MySpace

According to an article written by Boyd & Johnson age is influential in terms of the interactivity and vividness of MySpace pages. Younger users had more interactive pages than older users and more vivid pages than older users.

This video is a visual representation of how MySpace’s layout has changed over time

NOVEL FEATURES 

One of the main features of MySpace is the fact that you can interact with musicians, find really great music you wouldn’t usually listen to, and create playlists of your music to listen to while you are on MySpace or surfing the web.

When you sign up to MySpace, on of the first features is adding artists that you like as friends – this emphasises the fact that MySpace is a largely music based social media site.

myspace1

Even though MySpace has been taken the brunt of many jokes since Facebook took over as the largest social network, there are still people who are dedicated to MySpace – not as a social network for friends, but as a social network for music.

MySpace is still relevant to musicians (and music lovers alike) as they are able to use it to network with fans, and other musicians. They are also able to create a portfolio for free, uploading pictures and sharing music with other users.
If you are looking at a band’s page on Facebook you then have to go on YouTube or iTunes to listen to their music, whereas on MySpace you can stream music straight from their page, or add it to your playlist for later.
iTunes also costs money to download the music, and previews only go for a few seconds, so MySpace provides a great place to stream music for free.

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WHAT DIFFERENTIATES MYSPACE FROM OTHER FORMS OF SOCIAL MEDIA? 

 “…there are distinct differences between these two sites in terms of the level of user personalization. On MySpace, users can enhance their pages with music, color, graphics, and other visual elements that can serve as self-presentation tools.”

On Facebook you can upload photos, add a description of yourself just like MySpace, but you are limited as to how your site looks. Each Facebook has exactly the same layout; the only personalization comes in the form of your profile picture, and your cover photo. On MySpace your page appears more personalized, the newer designs of MySpace don’t take as long to load as they used too, as users are a slightly more limited on the things they can do to personalize the page.

MySpace will have yet another overhaul this year, as Justin Timberlake has become a major investor in the company. The new site looks like a cross between Facebook and Pinterest.
Apparently we will be able to import contacts and photographs from Facebook and twitter, and login with them to create new page. Among the changes one thing remains the same. MySpace is a place for musicians, and a place for fans to find musicians.

“We’re hard at work building the new MySpace, entirely from scratch. But we’re staying true to our roots in one important way – empowering people to express themselves however they want. So whether you’re a musician, photographer, filmmaker, designer or just a dedicated fan, we’d love for you to be a part of our brand new community.”

MySpace are taking this to a new level with the re-design claiming that MySpace will primarily be a place for artists. They are encouraging designers, photographers and other artists to join, to create a page that will connect them directly with their fans.
Take a look at this video posted by MySpace on YouTube a few weeks ago. Aside from the obvious Justin Timberlake plug, you can see just how amazing the new MySpace is going to look.

“Timberlake admits that he comes from a generation of artists who are members of social media by necessity, rather than choice. “I come from that, no question,” he says. “But with every obstacle comes an opportunity and I see this, as it speaks to somebody like me, as bridging the gap. It’s just bringing the connection that much closer while still making the artist feel comfortable that they can make their art, lock themselves in a room and torture themselves as they do, and still find a way to comfortably connect with their fan base.”

So if you are one of the few people in the world who still use MySpace, or are a fan of music and the arts, maybe this new version of MySpace will be the place for you. We can’t guess what will happen in the future – will this be MySpace’s big comeback? Or just another failed attempt at gaining popularity?

 

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