Dragging and dropping with MySpace

November 10, 2008

At MySpace, change is a gradual affair. News Corp’s online social network on Monday is introducing Profile 2.0, which it calls the “next step in iterative global site redesign, enabling millions of users to opt-in and customize the appearance of their profiles using an innovative new drag-and-drop user interface.”

I’ve spent the last 13 years working on getting my PhD in translating tech PR to English, but I’m not quite fluent yet. Loosely rendered, this means that it will get easier for MySpace members to change the way their profiles look by moving various parts around their computer screens.

Here’s what else they’re doing with Profile 2.0: People can display different kinds of information to different categories. That could mean that you share your weekend bong-and-bender photos with your extracurricular pals while saving the work information for prospective employers to see (unless you’re going to work at one of those places that counts hard-partying social activity as a prerequisite).

Finally, MySpace will create 50 new profile styles and themes. Some will feature celebrities, fashion designers, films, musicians and sports figures, the press release says. (I’m waiting for the Peter Greenaway and Sam Peckinpah themes, myself.)

One important note: UNLIKE Facebook, MySpace says its changes will be opt-in, meaning that you can choose to stick to the format that you have now for your page.

Why are these things important? Well, it’s all about improving the user experience, as tech companies tend to call it. That, they hope, translates into more members, which also means more advertising dollars. How many more people? How much more time will they spend on the site? How many more ad $$ projected? Those are internal numbers, I’m told. (See below for various images, which were provided by MySpace)

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[...] Although I was briefed by this minor design update, it’s not getting a warm reception from press blogs at Reuter and articles. I do know from research that self-expression is key with this market, so everything [...]

Bebo have offered profile templates for years, so nothing new here. But the sponsored profile template aspect is interesting. Film and musical artist themed templates are a no brainer. I just wonder why it’s taken so long to happen.