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Category Archives: MySpace

I have been a social networking user for a while now. For much of that time, I found myself frustrated, upset, and driven batty by much of MySpace’s shortcomings. Now, MySpace right now appears to be King in the social networking world and rightfully so — their marketing moves have been brilliant and have drawn more and more users into their service. However, MySpace’s back end – or their database – is built and maintained entirely with .NET, a software and service created and driven by Microsoft. As MySpace users continue to grow daily, it seems that at times, MySpaces reliability weakens. There are many times where I attempt to log on, view a profile or pictures, or send a message to a friend and I am not-so-welcomed with MySpaces “Sorry! We are doing database maintenance on our servers!” There are numerous other things I can speak of for MySpace – both negative and positive. However, this is not a MySpace-bashing post — I’ll save that for a day I really get frustrated. Today, I want to mention a new and upcoming social-networking site called VOX.

The first thing you will notice is that you cannot sign up for VOX right now. Specifically because it is in beta or test mode so they are only allowing a few members via invitation. You will have to give them your email address and when they come down to you on the line, you will then recieve an emial saying that you have been invited. The wait between my email address submit and the invite was barely over 2 weeks or so. As soon as VOX comes out of beta, this will change to where any and everybody can join.

If you check out my VOX page here, you will see really quick that VOX’s whole design theory is different from many other friend oriented sites. VOX provides you with numerous built-in templates that to me seem rather fashionable. Also, in contrast to other comparable sites, your VOX page is more geared toward your blog or online journal, rather than the amount of friends (VOX calls ’em Neighbors), or comments you recieve. You are given the option for one or two side bars, I went with one. In these side bar(s), you are able to list your favorite movies, CDs, books and music and it automatically places the CD, DVD, or book cover that corresponds with your favorites.

One more quick thing that I find neat is that with each blog you post, you can either make it public or private. Hence, you may post one day about an awesome event that you don’t mind the world to read. However, you may have personal information in your life that you want to share with your friends and your friends only. A nice added feature. As you can see, even as VOX is still in test mode, it appears to be very feature-rich. These features are somewhat available for services such as MySpace, but they are not built in and you are forced to go somewhere, copy code you do not understand, and paste it into your ‘About Me’ section. VOX seems to add a lot of those kind of features right at your fingertips in a good looking, very easy to use, user eviornment. You can be sure that once VOX hits the big time this fall, I will have much more to say about it in a more thorough review.

Okay, I will admit first hand that I do, in fact, have a myspace account. I use it as a tool to keep in touch with friends, which obviously is what it is built to do. However, I still find myself unhappy with much of its third-rate quality and frequent ‘maintenence’ and down time. Just last week, Myspace was down for several hours due to heat and power outages. Since then, I have seen more and more instability with Myspace. Before MySpace went down last week, I still had my own views on the service and if it wasn’t for my many friends on there – I would not have an account.

Now, don’t get me wrong, in theory this service is great. It is free, fun for people for all ages, and it makes keeping in touch with friends to a basic level. However, Myspace seems to have more intrusive adds, be less intuitive and user friendly, and lately has been non-functional. It would be nice to see Myspace move to less intrusive advertisements. I am not saying to get rid of ads, because then Myspace would never be free again. But, at least look at more text based ads, similar to that of Google’s AdSense.

Myspace is not so user friendly for the typical user. Many have found ways to customize their Myspace, but not without having to go to another site which is twice as ad-infested. As Myspace continues to add features, I really hope they look to improve their stability, text-based ads, and more in-house designs that people can point, click, and choose – rather than having to hunt down code that appeares foriegn to most users. Myspace needs to look at bringing in designers, have a wide variety of themes, and making it very simple for the users to change the way their Myspace looks – without even looking at code.

I will end by saying that maybe Myspace will look at least some of these problems and make their improvements. Myspace is wildly popular, and have earned their success. But, if they are not careful, someone else will come along with easier and more stable functionality, and less flashy advertisements. No one is likely to overthrow Myspace any time soon, but as a company like SixApart prepares a Myspace rival to release this Fall, it should make for some competition – which will be good for Myspace users everywhere.