There is no doubt that MySpace is no longer the golden child of the internet that it once was and maybe it will never see those glory days again, but with a Google PageRank of 9 and an Alexa Rank of 21 it’s obvious the social networking site is far from dead.
The Benefits of Using MySpace
Customization: MySpace’s double-edged sword. No 1984/Equlibriumesq profiles here, MySpace allows for a level of customization unparalleled by most other social networks. Version 2.0 of its site profiles even switches to tableless layouts with ids and classes which make it easy to apply css styling. Stylization with custom graphics, colors and layout, are highly beneficial to branding, and can help distinguish user identities and correlate profiles across different networks. The down side of this for MySpace is those profiles with poorly implemented markup, less than tasteful designs, and those bogged down with too many media objects (animations, audio, video, etc), early in its history this also made the site a phishing magnet untill they started filtering external links. It’s a common belief that the negative aspects of customization caused many people to stop using MySpace, so whats a social network to do? Maybe scaling back on the amount of customization allowed on user profiles would appease some, I personally think limiting the amount and size of media elements which can be embedded into a profile would be a good start.
Media: MySpace started off as a site for bands and probably still is one the best sites on the web for independent artist to build a fan base, and have the public hear their music (with or without video) and spread it along the network. In addition to music MySpace also provides lots of video content via TrailerPark and Video Channels
SEO: Lots of networking sites today are all about short snippets, streaming content, and updates. MySpace allows you to publish status messages to your profile but in addition to those updates users can also place a virtually unlimited amount of static content. If your profile is a public one this content can be written to help your MySpace profile rank for keywords and phrases within search engine results. In addition to your profile content MySpace also allows users to publish blog post which can be made public as well.
Twitter Integration: MySpace recently added Twitter integration to the site allowing users to either send publish MySpace statuses to Twitter, import Tweets to MySpace, or complete two-way synchronization between the sites.
How Can MySpace Stop the Bleeding
MySpace has made many improvement in the face of declining stats. Here are a few things I think they should focus on in order to stop the decline and potentially improve the sites stats.
User Experience: Continue to improve the user experience this could mean scaling back the amount of customization allowed on profiles, not completely removing it like Facebook, but possibly allowing customization of certain elements as Twitter, FriendFeed, YouTube allow.
One thing that would defiantly improve the user experience on MySpace is changing the style and location of visually obtrusive ads found on every page of the site.
Attract More Developers: A powerful and easy to implement API has done wonders for Twitter. If MySpace can entice developers to create innovative tools for the site by continuing to improve upon its API, supporting web standards, and making the site mesh well with other useful tools like Twitter and WordPress it could regain a lot of lost ground.
Learn from the Mistakes of Others: Make privacy settings and spam controls easy to find, easy to understand, and easy to use.
Make Some Noise: It’s not enough to make incremental changes and hope others notice. MySpace needs to do big things that will get large-scale attention and get old users coming back to the site.
Who Should Use MySpace
- Media Personalities
- Video Producers
- Creative Types, Graphic Designers, Web Designers
- Bloggers and Tweeters
- Any one who could use the visual branding achievable through MySpace
The Bottom Line
For MySpace: Like most web sites that have been around for a while MySpace continues to evolve and make improvements but they need to go beyond this. MySpace need to do more to establish brand loyalty this can be done by bolstering large-scale improvements, and presenting itself not only as an outlet but as an inlet that can be trusted with the content of it’s users.
For Users: Yes MySpace has declined in popularity but it is still the second most popular social networking site online (ebizmba.com 2010). Not everyone wants to be on multiple networks many people just want one social network they feel is best suited to them, but if you are someone who is trying to reach the widest audience possible, or run a media rich social media campagne which uses your custom branding it would be very foolish to ignore MySpace.