Facebook is Trying to be Myspace; Myspace is Trying to be Everyone; Everyone is Confused
Facebook makes a lot of smart decisions (allowing brand pages), a lot of dumb decisions (forcing app integration to deliver content), and some decisions that still need a little tinkering (Timeline).
Recently, everyone has been buzzing about Facebook’s new Graph Search. With this new internal search, you’ll (hopefully) be able to find more relevant answers to simple queries like “friends in Chicago.”
While that’s all well and good, Facebook isn’t even close to done with innovations this year. But instead of making more legitimately helpful changes, it’s going to try to once again revolutionize the way that we share and discover music.
Yeah, that was basically the only good part of Myspace.
So why does Facebook want to be a social network that is now the butt of almost every online joke? It couldn’t be because Myspace has risen from the ashes of its former self to become a thing again, could it?
In case you missed that announcement, Myspace has relaunched with a super slick new design and is attempting to be a social network destination again. And according to multiple comScore reports, it’s not only gaining visitors, but it has more unique visitors than Tumblr and Google+.
At first, I’m not surprised. The new Myspace is a visual treat that gives a huge emphasis on pictures and design. The main profile page lets members make a huge statement with their image:
And lets your images take up the entire screen with just a tiny side bar for comments:
And has a just-start-typing approach to search. You don’t have to click a search bar, you just start typing what you’re looking for:
And features an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop music player:
This music player is different from Facebook because you don’t need to link your account to Spotify or Last.fm or another streaming music service. Myspace has inked deals with most of the major record labels so you can just go to the artist page and pick out music to listen to. Dig Adele’s music but want to go read about fun.? Just drop her songs into the cue and click over. The music player is static and does not change when you visit different pages.
However, instead of just focusing on a killer music player, Myspace got a little overambitious and tried to take everything that’s great about every single network and package it into a full experience.
And while that sounds nice in theory, the execution is a little…off.
Their status updates are limited to a Twitter-like 150 characters.
Posts are laid out with a Pinterest-esque feel.
[Side bar: I’m not surprised about this one. Just about every social network and every single freaking website is changing their design to mimic Pinterest.]
But what’s a little bizarre is that the new Myspace features horizontal scroll. While I like the horizontal scroll, and I think it would be a gorgeous feature on a tablet, many people find it unnecessary or just confusing.
One reviewer remarked that there were a lot of nice features about the site, but he wasn’t sure how it could all function together on a mobile app. The Verge says that “The new Myspace is, in a word, confusing.” If we’ve learned anything from new social media superstars (e.g. Pinterest, Instagram), it’s that the users want an easy-to-use, easy-to-understand experience.
And in addition to just being confusing, Myspace carries a lot of stigma with it. Myspace is old. Myspace is antiquated. Myspace has entered the same zone of LiveJournal and Friendster. People write reviews with the title “The New Myspace Review: Just Die Already.”
Personally, I’ve found myself saying/tweeting things like, “I can’t believe I’m about to say this…but I really dig the new Myspace.” Others have framed their statements about the service similarly.
Facebook is still the number one social network in the world, and being able to integrate music sharing and discovery could make it the one social network to rule them all. On the other hand, those who are serious about music discovery would probably prefer to do that on Myspace. After all, it’s kind of obnoxious on Facebook to see every single song that your friends are listening to.
Myspace should consider retooling their site a little to emphasize the music player and discovery. Would they be seriously niche social network? Yes. But they’d be a successful one.
If not, well, there’s a reason for the phrase “History repeats itself.”
Have you heard about Facebook’s plan to “figure out” music? Do you think they could do it? Have you considered signing up for the new Myspace?