Often chastised as being an eyesore for style conscious users, MySpace has announced that they’ll be unveiling a large-scale redesign of their social-networking site later this week. The redesign will mean major design changes to MySpace’s home page, navigation scheme, profile editor, search and the MySpaceTV Flash player.. Most people say that this redesign is well overdue, as the social site has stood with their feet planted on the subject of their unsatisfactory design.
After competitor Facebook announced that they were playing around with an upcoming redesign, MySpace refuses to be outdone. Starting Wednesday, MySpace users will witness the first step in the overhaul, which has been in development for the past 6 months according to MySpace spokesmen.
The home page navigation scheme will be whittled down from 30+ links located on the top half of the page to 5 key navigational paths (home, mail, profile, music and myspaceTV) with the 28 other links available via a drop down menu bar.
Along with the design overhaul, the MySpace search functionality is also getting a boost. Search will now feature tabbed searching capability for multiple searches being ran at once. The MySpace People Search feature will also be renovated with a new coat of paint. Friends now show up as the top search result based on queried name, followed by people who are in your direct network, and then finally based on the global network, thanks to integration of the open source Lucene project. Pre-redesign, the search service had no personal network intelligence. Sending a search query of a common first name would result as a mess of a result.
MySpace will also perform a new unveiling of the Flash-based MySpaceTV, which according to MySpace, will now feature video of 480p when available, cleaner and easier controls, plus a new true full-screen mode.
MySpace worked together with San Fransisco-based firm Adaptive Path for the new design and architecture needed to help improve the network.
The MySpace redesign might prove to be too little, too late, as Facebook has already met and by all probability surpassed MySpace’s unique user statistic count. If MySpace can prove themselves to still be a viable networking site, rather than a living, breathing advertisement, they could pose a threat towards Facebook’s ever-growing market share.
Worldwide best-selling author Paulo Coelho has announced a joint project with MySpace for an exclusive movie production based on his novel, The Witch of Portobello. Coelho will be using a ‘mash-up’ video concept in which the entire movie will be composed of MySpace user submitted videos and music. Coelho will personally handpick 15 videos and 16 songs to be used for his ‘Witch’ production.
So why is this global competition concept so cool and innovative? MySpace users are encouraged to choose one of the 15 main characters from The Witch Of Portobello novel, and create there very own short film based on one of the narratives from the story. Once users complete their film, they will upload their submission to both MySpace TV and Paulo Coelho’s MySpace page. The same can be done with user submitted music. As far as we know, this is the first feature film produced using a community submission system on a social networking site. And certainly the most exciting.
Coelho makes sure that the contest is an open playing field, not even specifying a language that user submissions must use. The only specification made is that films which are not submitted in English, Portuguese, Spanish, or French should include subtitles. We’re guessing this includes material filmed in Pig Latin and Gibberish.
When asked about his decision to collaborate with MySpace for this mash-up movie concept, Paulo said
MySpace trackers that give you the inside scoop on visitors to your MySpace page are the holy grail of social networking. Ideally, a MySpace tracker is embedded furtively in your MySpace layout and reports information including:
- Number of Visits
- Location of Visitors
- Frequency/Length of Visits
- IP Address
Whether you are trying to track an anonymous troll or simply wondering who’s scoping you out, a good MySpace tracker lets you stalk the stalkers. Working MySpace trackers come and go as the MySpace team continually tweaks the network, but here are a few of the tried and true:
- TheSpaceTracker.com - one of the longest running MySpace trackers, TheSpaceTracker offers basic MySpace visitor stats for free and premium features for a small fee. Best of all, TheSpaceTracker.com can remain hidden on your MySpace layout.
- Trakzor.com - offers free MySpace visitor stats and has a user-friendly interface that is easy on the eyes. Tracks location, number of visits and more.
- StatSync.com - another established tracker, StatSync offers basic MySpace visitor information for free with extra pay features. Like TheSpaceTracker, StatSync can be hidden on your MySpace layout.
- ProfileSnitch.com - offers MySpace visitor stats and also reveals IP address for free. Also has an available paid upgrade. MixMap.com
- Frappr - provides a different approach to MySpace tracking and displays a map of your MySpace visitors that can be incorporated onto your MySpace layout. Other MixMap members can be identified when they visit your page.
The face of MySpace is ever changing, so stay tuned for the latest and greatest MySpace trackers as they become available. When deciding on a MySpace tracker, it’s best to rely on MySpace layout blogs (such as this one) and user-submitted reviews, as these are usually the most candid sources. Beware of MySpace trackers advertised in mass bulletins or in comments - these are usually viruses!
Another tip: try combining two or three of the above trackers in order to learn the most about your visitors. Each tracker has different strengths and offers different free features; your best bet is taking advantage of all of them.
By clicking “Account Settings,” selecting the “Privacy” tab and selecting Profile Viewable By: “My Friends Only,” you can easily make your MySpace profile exclusive to friends only. This proves qiute effective in stopping the casual MySpace user from viewing your profile.
But ever since the advent of this feature, hackers have been finding workarounds and loopholes that reveal so-called “private” information.
One common method entails copying the URL from a public profile and swapping out the friend ID of a private profile. For example, you could:
- View the pictures on a public profile and copythe URL: http://viewmorepics.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewAlbums&friendID=7654321.
- Navigate to a private profile and take friend ID from the URL: http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=1234567 and swap it out with the URL from the public profile, i.e.: http://viewmorepics.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewAlbums&friendID=1234567
Other methods include using exploits with Google Toolbar (navigate to the private profile and click View | Page Style | No Style) or websites which automatically fetch private information from a specified profile.
Luckily (or unluckily, depending on your purpose) MySpace’s security team has ramped up its efforts in fixing these bugs and often has holes patched up days and sometimes hours after their discovery.
So, if you are determined to pry into someone’s private MySpace, you’re best bet is to read blogs on MySpace and MySpace layout tricks (such as this one) and forums for the latest exploits and take advantage of them before the MySpace team addresses the issue. In the meantime, be careful what you post on your MySpace page - your private MySpace page may not be as private as you think.
MySpace and Facebook have long been two warring sides of the social networking coin. Since Facebook’s inception in February 2004 and its opening up to high schoolers in 2005, MySpace and Facebook have been locked in competition. One recent development that has upped the ante is the launch of Facebook Apps in May 2007, allowing the implementation of thousands of user-created applications that interact with Facebooks features.
In November 2007, MySpace partnered with Google to launch OpenSocial, which would allow any developer - big, small or independent - to begin creating open source widgets for MySpace. Recently, Yahoo has joined the two, meaning that applications developed for OpenSocial will now be able to be used between MySpace, Google and Yahoo, creating a powerful triumvirate of Web 2.0 giants.
Facebook, however, has refused to join the OpenSocial initiative, instead standing by its own proprietary platform. What does this mean? For one, it means that while Google and MySpace and Yahoo are joining forces, Facebook remains in opposition, standing as the lone pioneer and giant with its nearly 24,000 applications created solely for Facebook. But with this new concerted effort, Facebook may be forced to respond to Google’s call for openness.
In fact, very recently, Facebook has already begun to do so, with its Facebook Open Platform dubbed fbOpenn. While not as extensive as Google’s OpenSocial, fbOpenn releases “most” of Facebook’s code as open source with the hopes of increasing the proliferation and ease-of-use of Facebook applications.
What it all boils down to is this: competition is good. With Facebook constantly battling to become bigger and better, MySpace and Google will respond in kind, meaning a steady stream of new innovative, user-friendly MySpace layouts, widgets, features and more are guaranteed.
In case you hadn’t already embarrassed yourself with candid party pictures, MySpace has tapped kSolo.com to provide a 3,000+ library of pop tunes for you your karaoking pleasure. MySpace Karaoake was launched recently in beta and allows current MySpace users to record and share their own renditions of licensed songs from major artists with their MySpace friends who can leave feedback or become fans. Here’s how to get started:
- Visit MySpace Karaoake and sign in with your MySpace login.
- Find a song you’d like to record and click the red RECORD button.
- You’ll be prompted to install the recording software.
- Follow the on-screen instructions.
- Record your tune and enjoy the limelight.
As MySpace Karaoke is still in its fledgling stages, there are still some kinks to work out as well as some features in development. Some functions said to be in the making include:
- Support for Mac
- Video recordings
- Split-screen duets
- Integration with your MySpace layouts
- More licensed songs
Although MySpace Karaoke has yet to tap its full potential, it’s worth checking out and being one of the first users to give it a test drive. Plus, there’s currently a contest to see Kate Voegele in concert for free. One last perk of MySpace Karaoke - unlike YouTube, MySpace Karaoke is completely legit as far as copyrights go.
Can’t wait for MySpace Karaoke to come out with those new features? Check out Sims on Stage (formerly SingShot), which already allows you to embed a karaoke song in your MySpace layout.
For more tips for tweaking and embellishing your MySpace layout, check out MySpaceMaster.net.
Logging on to MySpace and finding a friend request from McDonalds or Coors Light has many MySpacers feeling ambivalent about the growing presence of advertisers on MySpace. On the one hand, product enthusiasts finally have an outlet for their endorsements (see: Coors Light themed MySpace layouts) but on the other hand, most of us signed up for MySpace seeking interaction with people, not products.
As ingenuous it may seem to receive a friend request from a “30 year old male from Golden, Colorado,” only to discover that the invitation has actually been extended by a corporation, companies like Coors Light have taken some admirable strides towards “speaking the language” of social media. For example, Coors Light’s official MySpace profile (launched as part of its “Code Blue” campaign) cleverly imposes your MySpace profile pic onto an official “Happy Hour Supervisor” badge and semi-usefully provides a “Happy Hour Locater” widget where you can enter our zip code and find the nearest Coors Light event.
But many MySpace purists who feel a bit suffocated by the recent glut of product placement on MySpace layouts have been making continuing efforts to pare down the advertising presence on the network, starting with their own MySpace layouts. As with all workarounds on MySpace, the methods are short-lived and, occasionally grounds for account cancellation, but those compelled by rebelliousness our curiosity can be free to check out some of the most recent efforts below:
- Mike Davidson invites you to “Hack a more tasteful MySpace,” by hiding banners and removing other ads from your MySpace layout using some CSS tweaks.
- Ad slicer, provided at userscripts.org, allows you to remove ads and any residual space from the top of your MySpace layout.
- The Firefox add-on Adblock Plus allows you to block the ads from your browser only without violating MySpace’s terms. Once you install the add-on, add the list of URLs included at the end of this post to your block list.
Love it or hate it, advertisers have made their way into social media with the endorsements of MySpace, Facebook and the like. The days of an uncommercialized social network are gone, but with a couple tweaks you can selectively filter out the unwanted sales pitches. Stay tuned for more updates on MySpace layout developments.
Block list for Adblock Plus:
read more »
Ergonomic Web giants Google have recently entered into an agreement with MySpace to “spruce up” the site, says MySpace reps. In the past few months, Google has been courting the social networking ring for a place to throw its hat in and has chosen to integrate its open source offline browsing solution Google Gears with MySpace’s interface. What does this mean for you, the avid MySpacer?
Initially, Google Gears will be primarily implemented into your MySpace inbox. Gmail users are already familiar with the ease of use that Google’s indexing provides–allowing quick keyword searches of messages and convenient labeling and sorting.
But what else will Gears be able to do for MySpace users? One of Google Gears’ most fetching features is its ability to index and archive web pages in the background while you browse. That means that while you are taking your time and perusing MySpace profiles, Google Gears is synching and saving other MySpace content that you can view later offline. This is a handy feature for when you are out and about where MySpace is blocked or there’s no Internet connection available.
Note though, that for licensing purposes, it is unlikely that Gears will ever allow you to view MySpace video or music offline. For that, you might want to check out some of the solutions posted here [link to other article]. For now, it seems that the integration is limited to MySpace mail.
Hopefully, as the MySpace-Google relationship develops MySpace will become even more and more user-friendly as Google gains more sophisticated features. Stay tuned to see how Google
Career-savvy counselors advise against posting anything ribald or questionable on your MySpace profile for one good reason: anyone can stumble across it. The next person to load your profile and see that drunken party picture or risque bathroom mirror pic could be your grandma, a student, a teacher or even a potential employer. While it may be cute and funny to your friends, it can be life-ruining if viewed by the wrong people, as illustrated by a recent ABC News piece on a would-be teacher who was denied a position because of her MySpace profile.
Given the liability that a public profile poses, you may want to avoid the following the next time you update your MySpace profile:
- Drug or Alcohol Use. Whether you are of age or not, depictions of drug or alcohol use never go over well with employers or educators. Even if you are responsible and upstanding by day, a school board member or boss will never be able to forget the image of the party animal you are by night.
- Risque Images. MySpace may not be the best place to launch your modeling career. Showing any amount of skin portrays you as licentious and, depending on your age, can be deemed child pornography.
- Disgruntled Rants. Venting about your bad day at work or posting a diatribe against a hated teacher will never serve you well if viewed by the wrong eyes. Employers in particular frown upon negative depictions of the company and will usually take swift action to dissociate themselves form you.
- Incriminating photographs. First of all, you should avoid criminal acts such as theft, vandalism and harassment anyway, but if you do decide to pull a prank that isn’t quite legal, you may not want to broadcast your guilt on the Internet. The evidence can be used against you in court and bar you from opportunity.
- Profiles that aren’t private. The safest way to avoid prying eyes is to keep your profile private. It’s a simple measure that ensures that only your close friends view your profile, and as long as you don’t friend your supervisor at work on MySpace, you should be in the clear.
It’s best to remove all offensive images from your profile as soon as possible. Search engines often cache webpages, including some blogs and social networking profiles, so even if you remove something from your page it may still be accessible for months or even years. Another safety measure is to avoid revealing your identity by using a nickname or handle or simply omitting your last name — this helps protect against identity theft as well as career-damning revelations. Keep reading for more tips on making your MySpace layouts user-friendly and career-friendly.