Saturday, 20 May, 2006

Why do people use Myspace? My girlfriend and my sister use MySpace to communicate and to me it doesn't make a great deal of sense. I'd be really interested if users could e-mail me their views.

I've always ran my own domain and web-site and I really enjoy the project. It's not about getting a huge amount of page views, it's just somewhere to write about what your friends are interested in.

Many of my peers seem to agree. After all, Doof, Dyas and Chris have their own web-sites. It seems once you have your own web-site it's very hard to convince people to use anything else. I would never consider moving my blog to something like LiveJournal or Myspace and I can't really imagine any of my friends doing so either.

I want to show that owning your own web-site is vastly superior to having space on MySpace or LiveJournal. To many technical people this statement is obviously true but I want to take time to explain this in a more detailed manner.

Using MySpace or Livejournal saps creativity.

It really does. If you asked people in the street whether they think they're boring and dull they'd tell you quite strongly that they're not. They're individual, they're unique, they're special.

If you use Livejournal you're forced to take a shapeless template. Sure you can customize it to some degree but really all you're doing is rearranging deckchairs on the personality Titanic.

Every Myspace page looks the same. It doesn't matter if the background colour is different or what not. You're still stuck with the same old MySpace template. These templates are boring and they project some of that boredom on to you.

People formulate an opinion on a web-site within the first second of the page coming up. The first thing people think when they visit that page you have on MySpace or LiveJournal is that you're just another illiterate teenage idiot.

The bad design takes a lot of concious effort to get over. Only then do you start actually reading the text on the Blog do you start to formulate an objective opinion on the person. For most people, that's too much effort and they're already gone to another page on the internet.

With your own site you have complete artistic control of the content. This makes is much easier to break the "anonymity trap" and produce something people will see as fresh.

People on the internet have a very short attention span. If you give them any excuse to leave, they will. Breaking the anonymity trap wont guarentee that they stay but it'll give them one less reason to leave.

If I have my own site, how will people know it's there? Nobody will be read it!

And you think people read it already? I'm sorry to break this to you but they don't. The only people who read your blog are people that already know you - in the vast majority of cases.

Given this, it's not hard to tell your friends to check your web-site instead of your Myspace or LiveJournal blog.

In recent years, protocols have been created that allow you to tell people when you've updated your site. The people who care about what you have to say can subscribe to your feed, as it's called, and they will be notified when you update your site.

Given that most blogs are read by only eight or so people, the argument that owning your own site will cause a drop in eyeballs to your site is irrelevant.

It's too hard for me to do? With MySpace I just start writing.

Yes, and take a look at what that has produced.

Seriously, it is not hard to set-up your own web-site. My web-host,, are practically giving hosting away. Here's a package where you can started for £1.99 a month and it's more than good enough for what you'd need when you start out.

I won't pretend and say that it's easier than MySpace or LiveJournal. It just isn't but the learning curve is not too steep. Provided you have the inclination to learn a new piece of software you can quickly develop a working web-site.

Microsoft have got a beta package called "Expression Web Designer" that will come out fully with the launch of Office 2007. You can download this today and start creating your web-site, much in the same way as you'd write a document in Microsoft Word.

You can download the program from here.

The content you thought was yours is actually theirs

So you use MySpace or LiveJournal and you have done for years. While neither actually ask you to transfer copyright to them they do give themselves rather a lot of rights to use your content, this is an excerpt from MySpace's terms and conditions:

By displaying or publishing ("posting") any Content, messages, text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, profiles, works of authorship, or any other materials (collectively, "Content") on or through the Services, you hereby grant to, a non-exclusive, fully-paid and royalty-free, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense through unlimited levels of sublicensees) to use, copy, modify, adapt, translate, publicly perform, publicly display, store, reproduce, transmit, and distribute such Content on and through the Services.

In some ways this is neccessary because by default Copyright does not grant any other person rights to distribute the work. They have to ask for a lot of rights in order for them to be legally covered to send your content out on to the Internet.

It is something to be aware of though. MySpace could in principle take all your well thought out posts on current affairs and sell them in a book for profit. You would have no recourse against them.

MySpace also reserve the right to remove any content this wish at will. They don't have to give an explanation - they just can. You can read the relevent excerpt from below: may delete any Content that in the sole judgment of violates this Agreement or which may be offensive, illegal or violate the rights, harm, or threaten the safety of any person.

The key word here is the term "offensive". Offensive can mean pretty much anything they want it to. They could trash your entire blog because you decide to critize MySpace as I have done here. They could trash your blog for saying something that doesn't agree with the directors religious or political views.

Again, this probably doesn't happen all too often but it's something to consider.

The final thing I want you to consider is the fact that you have no way to back up the site you have toiled over. If MySpace became unprofitable tomorrow and went bust, all that work you put in to your site would be gone. Again, you would have no recourse with anybody if that content disappeared.


While Myspace and LiveJournal might be a quick way to get a page on the Internet, it is not ideal. Running your own web-site gives you total control of the content you produce and allows you to maintain all the rights to your content.

MySpace is not the answer, it is the question and the answer is no.


14:53:32 GMT | #Randomness | Permalink
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