Social Blasts from the Past
Once the dominant social network, Myspace is now a faded memory for people who used the network about a decade ago. Even though it’s not the juggernaut it once was, it did pave the way for today’s best social media networks. Here’s a review of Myspace features and how they’ve been refined and reused by other web sites.
1. Top Friends
When you signed up for Myspace, the site’s creator, Tom was automatically added to your friend list. You remember that guy—sporting a white T-shirt, he was laughing over his shoulder in his profile picture. As you added friends, you could rearrange whose pictures appeared in the “Top 8” box on your profile, based on whom you felt closest to. This could be a contentious point for some people, especially if they checked their friend’s page only to find that they’d been bumped off the Top 8 and replaced with someone else.
To avoid these hurt feelings, you could also change your Myspace settings to include 12 or 16 friends in your top list. Facebook has something similar that lets you create a list of your “Close Friends.” Thankfully, this isn’t as visible as Myspace’s Top Friends feature. So you can sort your pals accordingly and no one who’s not on that list will be the wiser.
2. Customizable Background
If the default blue boxes and white background did nothing for you, there was a range of different wallpapers to choose from. A user could spend hours browsing different wallpapers and finding just the right one for their profile. If they couldn’t find one, they could also use their own custom image.
Recommended for YouWebcast: The Art of Growth Hacking: Gaining Early Traction by Doing Things that Don't Scale
Today, Twitter also allows users to do the same, which lets both individuals and businesses alike express themselves visually on what’s mostly a text-driven social media network.
3. Profile Entertainment
You could also customize your profile by adding a song or playlist to serenade your visitors. It might have been fun for the user to pick these songs, but maybe it wasn’t as fun for a visitor to hear it. The song chosen might be one they hated with the fire of a thousand suns. If they wanted to hear music, they could always click on over to an artist’s Myspace page and listen that way.
Uploading video was another option. Again, maybe fun for the user to pick out, and fun for the visitor to watch once or twice, but not the most exciting feature. On the other hand, the static nature of the Myspace page does have quaint charm to it, compared to the constant stream of video content generated on today’s social media networks.
In this section your friends could leave you messages that you’d reply to on their own Myspace page. Comments were listed with the latest at the top. When sending an e-mail took too much effort, the comment section was where you turned to. It was also a nice storage bin for “Happy birthday” comments.
Taking that to the next level, Facebook now makes it easier for you to tell someone “Happy birthday” by letting you say so from your newsfeed. You don’t even have to click to a person’s profile page. Convenient, right?
5. “Online Now!”
A little person symbol and the words “Online Now!” let you know which one of your friends was logged in. Nowadays, there’s the chat function on Facebook and the back-and-forth on Twitter for that.
If you posted your thoughts on your Myspace blog, posts appeared at the top right of the page. Given the personal nature of the site, it seemed most people just used this function for ranting here or there.
Those wanting to express their thoughts can now do so on Facebook’s notes, though it seems that status updates are most users’ choice for expressing their woes.
7. Myspace Photos
Is it safe to say that Myspace is the place that gave rise to the mirror pic? I think it is. Of course, instead of those silver bricks that make the picture-taker’s hand look like it’s exploding with light, there are smartphones guest starring in these pictures instead. Instead of airing on the Myspace network, the pics themselves are broadcast on its more popular successors.
8. Message Receipts
To add even more anxiety to online interaction, Myspace provided the status of a message once it was sent, such as “Delivered” or “Read.” Now Facebook and iPhone messages do the same thing.
9. Details Box
This feature listed your astrological sign, income, height, hometown, and other details. You could fill out as much or as little as you wanted. While some of these categories are also listable on the “About” section of Facebook, it’s a little more hidden than Myspace’s version.
Today, some younger millenials might not even know that Myspace was once the social networking site, and it’s now being used primarily as a site for musicians. But in spite of its shifted focus, it still belongs in the social media hall of fame—or should we say, its Top 8?
image credit: jscreationz/freedigitalphotos.net