In MySpace’s battle to stay relevant against stiff competition from the mighty Facebook and Twitter’s growing impact, can a re- design that looks suspiciously familiar save the day?
A new homepage will greet MySpace users - apparently there are still some left - from today, showing a central stream of information about friends next to a right hand column with friend and event recommendations, birthdays and a ‘my stuff’ module.
The folks at MySpace are taking it page by page having launched a re-designed profile page last month. Christina Wodtke, general manager of Social Networking at MySpace, revealed to Mashable that it’s all part of a “learning to skydive strategy.” The company wants to get a few core elements of the redesign right, specifically profiles and the homepage, before jumping out of the airplane and launching the complete overhaul.
Across the web, opinions of the re-design have been mixed. Some like it, some hate it, others think it’s too little too late, but mostly it has been criticised for bearing more than a passing resemblance to Facebook’s homepage, which also happens to have a central news feed and a left hand column with recommendations for friends and event and birthday reminders.
Changing the interface may make it easier for its 122 million users to share content, but it fails to offer anything new to them. Wodtke also told Mashable that “The new homepage is an attempt to show users, especially younger ones, what’s cool and interesting on the MySpace network.” But most obviously its lack of innovation does little to attract new users, and is not exactly revolutionary in the competitive and fast moving world of social networking. Facebook and Twitter won’t be losing sleep over it.
The page by page nature of the re-design also shows a lack of confidence. If Facebook or Twitter rolls out changes in this way, it’s reacting to its users needs. In the case of Myspace, they are just trying to catch up, but their approach shows that they still don’t seem too sure whether they are doing it in the right way.
News Corps purchase of MySpace back in 2006, for $580 million dollars seemed like a sound investment at the time, but in the world of social media four years is a long time, and they have failed to invest enough in making MySpace innovative. If any of their re-design had anything new people might care. At this rate, the ‘complete overhaul’ that is coming soon doesn’t sound like much to be getting excited about.
Published on behalf of Lynsey Barber