I’ve been looking around MySpace – not all of it because it’s quite big – and even set up a page linked from the menu "just because". And there are a lot of things wrong with MySpace. For a big, popular site it has a lot of flaws. Big things are more likely to have flaws, of course, but big and popular things with flaws are also more likely to have those flaws identified. And fixed? No.
Apparently, everyone everywhere who has ever lived is in my extended network. Are you in my extended network? I don’t recall inviting you to get in there. Begone!
Well, maybe I just don’t get the extended network feature of MySpace. Perhaps it’s because every profile I visit has something in common with me. Let’s just hit random numbers into the profile pages until we find … a 19 year old, Trinidad and Tobagan girl, non-drinking Christian, poetry-fan, who likes Ginuwine, the film ‘Sherk’ (?), and lists God as a hero. Yep, she’s in my extended network too.
Conclusion: The MySpace Extended Network Experience™ needs some explaining.
Here’s a nifty little tool that allows you to stalk people near your house. Okay, I’ll see who lives near me …
Browse For … Both. Because I’ll stalk anyone.
Between Ages … 18 and 45. There’s no sport in stalking in the over-45s because they simply cannot run fast enough. Where’s the fun in that?
Who Are … Single, Married, Divorced, or In A Relationship. No Swingers. They’re the sort who stalk back.
And Are Here For … Dating, Relationships, Networking, or Friends. It’s all good.
Located Within … United Kingdom. I like to stalk on home territory.
Postal Code … 5 miles from PO2 7JG. That’s my postal code. 5 miles is a fair distance.
Show Only Users Who Have Photos. Can you imagine the shame of stalking the wrong person? Kicked out of Stalk Club for sure.
Okay, hit the ‘Update’ button and …
3000 people and … well, that’s strange. There are some people here who I wouldn’t expect to be within 5 miles of my postcode. Oh, I see! The postcode reads ‘PO27’ and not ‘PO2 7JG’ as I typed. I’ll change that and press ‘Update’ and … PO27. Right. Okay, I’ll try just ‘PO2’ then and ‘Update’ and … 0 people in your network met the search criteria.
The little area of Portsmouth in which I reside exists outside the MySpace dimension! Cool. Only not.
Conclusion: The MySpace Browse Experience™ has been coded by a moron and tested by his understudy.
‘Browse’ clearly sucks so let’s try the ‘Search’ instead.
Find Someone You Know? What’s the point? Classmate Finder? Lord, no, I’ve spent years wiping them from memory. Affiliations For Networking? Why not?
Okay, I like photography and one day hope to become adequate so let’s try …
Field … Photography. Makes sense.
Sub-Field … ooh, let’s say Outdoor/Nature for now because it’ll look creepy if I search for fashion models, I have a dislike for people that prevents me from taking good portraits, and weddings make me ill.
Role … well, not Assitant for sure. I don’t know what an Assitant is but I certainly don’t want to find one of those. I’ll look for a fellow Photographer. And ‘Find’ and …
Okay, lots of matches and now I can refine my criteria. Looking good. Let’s change the ‘Any’ miles distance to just 5 miles from my postcode. And ‘Update’ and … okay, nobody but my postcode has actually been accepted! That must just mean there’s no photographers within 5 miles so I’ll up that to 10 and … no … okay, er, 50 miles … 500 miles? … no.
What are the odds that the range only goes up to 500 miles distance and every single photographer in the United Kingdom without fail lives at least 501 miles away?
Conclusion: The search for a word or phrase in a file feature built into Windows works better than the MySpace Search Experience™ and that’s only because it sometimes works at all.
It would be awful if every single profile page on MySpace looked like the default, awful, plain, plain-awful one provided. Thank God you can customise it all.
How should we let users alter the appearance of their profile pages? Select from a range of stylesheets? No, too limiting. Allow people to upload or type in a stylesheet? We’re on the right lines but that’s how everyone else would do it! We need something different! Something that says "That’s the MySpace way!" What about … ignore stylesheets but allow people to override the default styles assuming visitors’ browsers understand it by inserting <style> … </style> HTML blocks into spaces provided for giving biographical data? Bingo! We’re onto a winner here!
Now, I’m not anal about W3C validation on web pages. But when I check my profile page and find over 230 validation problems I think … you know, this could probably be reduced with a little thought to help out browsers and improve accessibility for disabled viewers.
And that’s just from the MySpace Development Janitor’s side of the problem. Allowing users to embed videos? Why not! Allowing users to embed 300 videos all auto-playing, with 25 songs launching at the same time, a Flash object allowing you to drag letters about and leave a message, a gallery slideshow, animated sparkly background, and main text set to 5% opacity? I’m all for freedom but, you know, that’s the sort of thing that makes a site look shit. Do I think there should be a system that detects when a page looks shit and stops the user from doing any more damage? You bet I do.
Conclusion: Personalisation that relies on HTML hacks and lenient browsers is a good indicator of just how little thought has gone into the MySpace Social Honeypot Experience™.
Dear MySpace, hire someone who can code and start again.
Conclusion: A conclusion in the form of a one-sentence letter to a website is a disappointing climax to this neOnbubble Article Experience™.