January 19, 2013

The New Myspace

I've only been using the new Myspace for a few days now, but I really like it. It's what I think Myspace was supposed to have been since the beginning - a means for musicians and bands to connect with their fans. I still haven't worked out all the in's and out's of the new site, but I thought I'd write up a bit of what I know to help others get started.

First you'll need to sign up for the service. If you've never tried Myspace before, then click on the blue "Join" button. But if you already have a Myspace account, or if you have a Facebook or Twitter account that you'd like to sign in with, select the gray "Sign In" button.

In the future, you'll be able to sign in with your username and password in the section to the right. But for now, assuming that you already have an old Myspace account, click on the dark gray bar to the left that's labeled "with Classic Myspace." (The "my" in front of that represents the old Myspace.)

To say that the new design is a study in subtlety is probably an understatement. Navigation and layout are a leap from anything else you've probably tried. In fact, I can't think of any other websites that operate like the new Myspace. The closest I can come is a newspaper or magazine on a handheld device (like an iPad). Don't think vertical. Everything is horizontal. And if you don't think to scroll right, you're missing out on a fair bit of content. That said, there are all sorts of things hidden in plain sight. I think that once I get used to it, I'm really going to like it. But right now it takes some time to figure out how to do what I want to do. Of course, once I've figured something out, it seems like it should have been obvious to me before.

The dark bar at the bottom of every Myspace page is your anchor. It tells you where you are on the site. It appears to be broken into three main sections:

1 - The lighter dark gray to the far left includes my personalized version of Myspace. When the blue bar is under the word Myspace, then I'm viewing the content that I've indicated I want to see (by "connecting" with artists.) When the blue bar is under my name, then I'm viewing my own profile. The two icons to the right of my name are for notifications and messages. The blue bar doesn't move to be under them (for whatever reason) and both of these work like toggles. Click once and you'll see notifications or messages. Click a second time and they're gone. Click - on. Click - off.

2 - The next section is a darker gray... or is that black? It starts with the word Discover and this is where you'll find the content that Myspace is going to push out to you. I don't know yet if they try to tailor it to each person or if everyone gets the same news there. While you're on the discover page, scroll right. This is a good chance to see how much content hides to the right of the screen. You can also search for content by clicking on the magnifying glass icon. (Again, the blue bar will sit under the word Discover, but the icon is just a toggle - on and off.)

The search page is a little bit trippy at first. It's a blank page with the words "Search Myspace" and "Start typing...". And that's it. But start typing and Myspace will start searching (before you even hit the "return" key.) In the example above, I searched for "Colorado" in hopes of finding local musicians. Unfortunately Myspace doesn't seem to organize bands based on where they're located yet. (If there is a way to search by location, please let me know.) So what I get instead is any song/album/band name that has Colorado in it. To start a new search, just double click on your old search term and start typing a new one.

3 - The third part of the navigation bar at the right is the music player. It's pretty straight forward, but there's one button I'd like to highlight. Any time you see the icon with two interlocked circles (anywhere on the site), it's a call for interaction. You can use it to connect with a band/musician. To connect appears to be similar to "follow" or "like." Myspace will show you updates related to those that you've connected with, and they'll hopefully also show related content based on what you've connected with in the past. But you can also use this button to do other things, such as add the currently playing song to a music mix or send it in a message to a friend.

This should be enough to get you started listening to great music. So pull up a band and get the player running so you have something to listen to while you do a few touch ups on your profile page.

To update your profile, click on your name to the lower left of the nav bar. Now look for a little pencil icon way up in the upper right hand corner of that page. (It took me several minutes to find that little bitty icon. *sigh* It's a perfect example of "Impossible till you know where to look.") Once you know where to find the icon, updating your profile is fairly straight forward.

You'll note that not every musician or band has a profile yet. If you're on an artist's page and you're viewing music, click on the name of the band/artist to see their profile page. If nothing happens and you find yourself still looking at a list of songs, then that artist has not moved their profile over from Myspace Classic to the new Myspace yet. Patience, young padawan. Come, they will. The new Myspace is, as the name implies, new. Not everyone is here yet. But it's a wonderful way to listen to music by your favorite artists, and to share it with all of your friends who aren't here yet, but will be coming soon. So spread the word. Get folks to check out the all new Myspace. The more the merrier. I think this is going to be a lovely place to hang out.

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