Thursday, May 25, 2006

So as I said...

I recently posted this "review" of myspace on an email list I belong to:

"I was a little hesitant to get involved in myspace, but people kept recommending it to me, and a month or two ago I took the plunge. In the interim I have become pretty enthusiastic about its possibilities. I wouldn't use it as a standalone promotional tool (though who knows, maybe someday it'll be capable of that), but I do think it has the potential to be extremely powerful. (And, by the way, I have found some awesome music with it.)

"At the same time, there are some things that would make the site a better tool for indie musicians. Obviously, networking is not just about being able to easily amass large amounts of data (something the myspace interface is really good at). One needs to be able to organize and filter that data to use it effectively. So, for example, I find it very frustrating that except for the 'top eight,' one can't personalize the organization of one's 'friends' (say, by geographic region, genre, or even just alphabetically). Right now the order is determined by myspace, and to the user it appears basically random. What if we have a gig in city X, and I want to send a message to our friends in that city? Or what if I want to seek advice about venues in that city? It would be great if I could just go to a folder or a page that lists all my friends who are living there.

"Maybe this isn't such a big deal when your friends list is still in the hundreds (as ours is), but once you start working with four or five digits, it's got to be a bit of a headache. As I see it, the 'friends space' should be like a digital rolodex, configurable in any way you want. You should be able to make notes about your friends, tag them, stuff like that. (Let's say for instance you want to follow up personally with people who have added you -- something that can be time consuming if you choose to compose some relevant sentences and don't just post an all-purpose image -- it would be so helpful to have some sort of tracking system so you could see at a glance whose profiles you still needed to add a comment to.) In short, to realize its full capabailities as a networking tool, myspace should really enable you to go from the macrocosmic (your entire friends list) to the microcosmic (any specific subset of that list) more or less instantaneously.

"There are, of course, workarounds for these things (adding the friends you find into a separate database program, for instance). But of course, that all takes additional time. And as a wise man once said, 'Time is the thing.'

Just a few thoughts... thanks for the discussion."

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