Justin Timberlake’s MySpace to re-enter social media fray

Struggling social network MySpace has unveiled its new design strategy to re-enter the world of social media. This new strategy came under the development and help of celebrity Justin Timberlake, partial owner and large investor in MySpace, who provided a video link to a preview of the new MySpace via Twitter on September 24.

MySpace is currently under the direction of Chief Executive Officer Tim Vanderhook and Chief Operating Officer Chris Vanderhook of Specific Media LLC. Specific Media bought MySpace in June 2011 for $35 million from News Corporation, after News Corp. paid more than half a billion dollars for the site back in 2005.

In a recent interview with ABC news, CEO Vanderhook says “the seed of what we have built stemmed from his [Timberlake’s] vision of what MySpace should be.”

The struggling social network is often the punch line of many jokes and negative remarks emphasizing and targeting their too crowded and outdated features. Since the prevalence of Facebook, MySpace users have steadily declined and the website’s many attempts to redesign have not succeeded.

However, this new direction is believed to be promising, as users would be drawn into the site’s new interface that is heavily influenced by mobile tablet computing and Windows 8, which reflects Facebook’s home computing-based coding as being outdated and stagnant in comparison.

While Facebook has maintained dominance over social networking, their webpage interface remains largely the same as it did five years ago. “Likes” and status postings are still a major part of the Facebook appeal. Not even complaints from users about the new ‘Timeline” stopped Facebook from forcibly implementing the change on all users earlier this year.

Facebook’s consistent disregard for user input could provide an opening for users to explore other social networking sites. The new MySpace’s interface provides a highly pleasant visual effect, in which full-page background photos and videos are featured—design elements best suited for capitalizing on widescreen tablets and smartphones. In some ways it seems very similar to the design format of Pinterest with their simple clean moving features and collections of key interests, events, and hobbies of the user displayed.

Senior Christopher Kang said, “To be quite frank, Facebook has become the central hub and home for the majority of social media users. However, I believe MySpace has a lot of potential and it has an aesthetic edge over Facebook, which is how it could possibly dominate over Facebook. I think the layout is very creative and reminiscent of tumblr and instagram. The one thing that caught my eye was that the feeds read from left-to-right as opposed to the standard, up-to-down. The layout can feel cluttered but then again Facebook’s timeline feels a little more disorganized and I notice that it doesn’t show every single post and tends to skip out on a few.”

Vanderhook acknowledged in an ABC News interview that “no one wants to manage another social network” and in effect, the new MySpace will ask users to log in through Facebook or Twitter rather than have users build their profiles from scratch again.

Vanderhook also mentioned that the new MySpace is not designed to compete with Facebook or Twitter, but will instead focus on attracting artists—musicians, filmmakers, producers, or recording artists to connect with their fans.

Timberlake will not only promote the new site to the public, but will also be the connection to reach out to actors/actresses and artists in Hollywood to become involved.

The new MySpace is set to be a separate identity from the original MySpace. The new site will continued to be referred to as the new MySpace in order to show users the difference between the two interfaces and designs. The original MySpace will be a separate webpage for their consumer base and will continue to operate, until Specific Media makes a decision at a later date whether or not to take down the original site completely.

The site will also not launch a traditional debut day as other highly-anticipated companies have, they will instead release the new MySpace on a rolling basis. Currently, they are in the beta period in which they are connecting with artists, managers, DJs, and tastemakers to experience the site. Then invitations to MySpace loyalists will be sent out next, followed by other invites. The new MySpace site is currently accepting email addresses from interested users, who will be notified when they will be able to access the site.

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