Claire Foss, PR and marketing manager at social media agency Yomego, runs the rule over the new-look Myspace.
Seeing the tweets this morning felt like a timewarp: ‘Myspace relaunch!’, ‘New design for Myspace’. Given where and how these headlines have panned out before, it’s fair to say expectations weren’t too high.
And then we clicked on the link. And to be honest – it looks very good. It’s been well-designed with visuals front and centre. It’s roughly a cross between a side-scrolling Pinterest and a Windows Mobile home screen, a touch of the Instagram about the square photos. It couldn’t look more 2012.
But describing it as a mixture of other things doesn’t do it justice. It looks well-designed, rather than cobbled together. And due to the way many other social networks have evolved, their ‘cobbled-together’ look is somewhat unavoidable. Having been built with a purpose in mind, rather than finding one as it goes along means ‘new Myspace’ has an advantage the others never did.
The focus on music hasn’t been lost, but it has been broadened, as Myspace now seems to offer something to anyone that ‘creates’.
But – and there is a massive ‘but’ hanging over this entire review: all praise for the design is moot until we’ve had a real play with the site.
Design is one thing – but functionality, back-end, loading times, simplicity and all the rest will decide how the site is received when the invitations go out.
Myspace still has a decent user base, and transition needs to be smooth enough not to annoy these people – particularly as many are musicians, with fans and inbuilt influence. And as users are being asked to request a new invitation, it’s not yet clear what will happen to old profiles.
Personal perspectives are also one thing – but business perspectives are another. The issues that have dogged Facebook haven’t been around how much people like it (despite gripes, user numbers show that people invariably do like it enough to use it) – but about how it’s going to succeed and make money.
That means – distasteful as it may be to some users – engaging commercially with brands, makers, sellers and all the rest is going to matter to Myspace mark II. It will need a compelling business story from the start.
And as much as I’m happy that there’s a looming launch of a beautifully-designed social network on the horizon (because a healthy sector is one that’s competitive, and that goes for social networks too) – I’m also just hoping that they’ve sorted out their commercial model as well. Because if it hasn’t, it won’t last long – and this time, I really hope it does.