MySpace was the original Social Media network of any size. Before Facebook and Twitter really got going, it was the only place to be with 10s of millions of subscribers right around the world. But a failure to invest and a subtle change in fashion around 2009/10 led to its demise. MySpace never catered for business users- indeed the only Social Media network that did back then was LinkedIn, but it did attract a high number of creative types (a bit like Vimeo is doing now for video) and was particularly good at publicising new and up and coming bands. This is possibly why Justin Timberlake decided to invest and this month, an all new MySpace has been launched. But is it any use for small business?
This news is literally hot of the press and the new MySpace still has some Beta release wrinkles. It is a cross between Pinterest and Tumblr, with a constantly refreshing and scrolling photo style – that makes it very suitable for smart phones and the smart phone addicted, Generation Y. But the most striking thing about it – is that rather than scrolling vertically – Like Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest and every other Social Media Network, it scrolls – sideways! Sideways scrolling might seem odd, but think about its use on an iPad and how you swipe with your finger (and how we have read books for hundreds of years) and suddenly it makes sense. Don’t be surprised if you see other sites offering sideways swipe in the future.
In fact, the User Interface is beautiful and loading your Personal Profile is nice and easy. During the sign up process, MySpace asks what category you would like to use. As you would expect, there are clues here as to the intended audience with a host of creative type categories: Photographer, Writer, DJ, and Musician etc and if this is your small business type, then like Vimeo, it is well worth setting up an account. For non creative type businesses, then the nearest available category is Brand. So while MySpace will not be for every small business, it is the next new thing and for some brands, leading edge is where they need to be.
In some respects, it does complicate, still further, the already complex set of choices for a small business, but a Social Media site dedicated to music and audio (other than Apple’s iTunes Ping) would be a useful alternative to a generic site like Facebook.
Perversely, for a site aimed at music lovers, the first reports are that uploaded audio files are too compressed and the quality is not as high as it should be. It might be that MySpace will dedicate more server space to audio in a later release, but this could be a major flaw for the particular niche. We like the sideways scrolling, but as they used to say, “The Jukebox Jury is out”, Mr Timberlake.