Interzone on MySpace
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Author:  des2 [ Fri Jul 06, 2007 5:29 pm ]
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From experience of 5 MySpaces, I find Myspace itself very effective.

Author:  Colin Harvey [ Fri Jul 06, 2007 5:41 pm ]
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I agree with you. There seems to be an incredible amount of sniffiness about what is basically a communications medium.

I don't find it any uglier, clunkier or or messier than any other such forum. Yes, it's putting money in Murdoch's pocket, but so are lots of other things.

I suspect that a lot of the sniffiness is thinly disguised inteelectual snobbery -- it's because it's used by what Charles Stross describved as 'a bunch of teenage girls.' And we wouldn't want any of them buying our stuff, would we? :?

I now fully expect to be pelted with rotten fruit....


Author:  Colin Harvey [ Fri Jul 06, 2007 5:41 pm ]
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Wish I could learn to speel intellectual...

Author:  Paul Raven [ Sat Jul 07, 2007 12:50 am ]
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Colin Harvey wrote:
I suspect that a lot of the sniffiness is thinly disguised inteelectual snobbery -- it's because it's used by what Charles Stross describved as 'a bunch of teenage girls.' And we wouldn't want any of them buying our stuff, would we? :?

No rotten fruit, Colin, I promise. But I think the point is, if you (try to) read the profiles of those very same teenage girls, under the 'favourite books' section, there's usually a comment along the lines of:

"OMG books r teh ghey!!!1!1"

You might as well market sugar to diabetics. If that's intellectual snobbery, I'm proud to be an intellectual snob.

Author:  des2 [ Sat Jul 07, 2007 10:12 am ]
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Of course, with any system, you get the time-wasters, but all in all, with MySpace, it is remarkably effective in gaining meaty contacts for one's own interests as well as giving easy-to-understand methods for quite eye-catching, tasteful web-copy.
It has turned Nemonymous around and even interest in my own stuff!

For example this is my tribute one for Elizabeth Bowen:

Author:  Foxie [ Sat Jul 07, 2007 11:00 am ]
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The major problem I have with MySpace is that I simply don't understand it. I'm used to going to a webpage for information. That's how I was brought up using the web, and that's mainly what I use the web for. I also use the web for chatting to people.

When I go to someone's MySpace page, I get a whole bunch of headings presented in difficult to use menus. Someone says, 'go to my MySpace', so I do, and I find nothing. Or, rather, a whole bunch of links. What am I there to look at? What am I supposed to be navigating my way towards? When you put that in with the absolute car-crash that is the formatting on most MySpace pages, it just doesn't seem worth my time to pry some sort of use out the damned system. I don't want to spend my time looking at ugly, obtuse pages of graphics.

The other thing's the content, of course. Anyone can have a MySpace page, and so that means that anyone does. All those people without the inclination to take the time to learn to programme, without the talent to have someone else take them seriously, without anything interesting to say and with the false sense of superiority that comes from not having to have worked to achieve something get a MySpace page and start insisting that it's the best thing in the world. And all those people who are just like them come along and validate them.

I know not all MySpace is like this. I'm sure it can be an amazing tool. It's just the same with everything: you put it in the hands of the masses, and the vast majority that's produced is crap. I mean, you sit someone down in front of Word, and suddenly everyone thinks they're a writer. And when some tries to explain the craft and graft of the art, they throw a paddy and start shouting about their right to express themselves and how it's not fair to say there's good ways and bad ways of doing it.

We're all going to have to learn to use MySpace, of course. Some derivative of it is going to be the future and it's a huge market that needs tapping. I'm just going to be whiny and sulky about it.

Author:  des2 [ Sat Jul 07, 2007 11:37 am ]
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Who's to deny creativity to everybody?

(And just as an example, my Elizabeth Bowen MySpace mentioned above and brought me into contact with many other EB fans, by doing a MySpace search then befriending. The same has happend with my other MySpaces.)

Author:  Paul Raven [ Sat Jul 07, 2007 12:34 pm ]
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I've never denied the utility of MySpace as a networking tool, but unless you're a musician, I can't see it ever being much use as a marketing platform, especially not for fiction or literature. Though if you've had successes along those lines, des, I'd be interested to hear about them; I'm in the process of researching an article on MySpace in exactly this context, and evidence counter to my argument would be very useful.

And I agree, Foxy, that we'll all end up using social networking systems - but until the concept matures to a point where the systems are interoperable and based on ready-established web standards, not locked behind passwords and walled gardens and plastered with garish ads providing a no-effort rake-off for middlemen, they'll never be an efficient platform.

Eventually, social networking will be a simple module you install on a standard web domain, that can talk to any other site regardless of who hosts it. This is more than possible already, but until the majority of users become frustrated with the limitations of extant solutions, there will be no reason for anyone other than code-geeks to develop such a thing.

Social nets are still relatively new, and hence people are happy with what they have already, much as people used to be happy with the extremely limited options available in commercial webhosting services. Market forces will ensure that the systems are opened up, and probably within the space of a few years. Currently, the money is still flowing into the pockets of the network owners, so they have no reason to make the platforms more user-friendly - the status quo is quite lucrative enough.

But Murdoch's NewsCorp doesn't understand the internet, and that you have to keep developing and improving a service to keep your users - they just saw what looked like a golden goose and snapped it up. Hence the rapid expansion of Facebook, which allows much more flexibility for third-party apps. But eventually Facebook will meet the same issues, especially as the price (and difficulty of use) of personal webhosting continues to fall.

In summary, I don't condemn anyone for using MySpace, and I agree that it has its uses. But from my *personal* perspective, the ends are not even close to justifying the means - I don't have enough time to waste wading through ads for dating agencies and countless requests of friendship from obscure just-launched death-emo bands from Ass-scratch, Illinois. My loss, perhaps, but I can live with it! ;)

Author:  des2 [ Sat Jul 07, 2007 1:00 pm ]
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Just increase in contacts, Paul, for concrete Nemonymous sales and more interest in my own work gradually but cumulatively...
You can see my MySpaces by following the top 4 Friend links on the Elizabeth Bowen MySpace linked above.

Author:  Colin Harvey [ Sat Jul 07, 2007 7:41 pm ]
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Down the left hand side there are five headings -- the second from bottom is favourite books or writers.

I agree with Paul's comments that there are a lot of 'OhMiGod I don't have time to read!' comments, but you may also find (for example) Jon Courtenay Grimwood or DF Lewis <g> amongst their favourites. Anyone who shares my taste in books, such as Kim Stanley Robinson, John Meaney, etc, is of interest to me.

And to find them, I just type in a particular author's name in search, or 'SF + place name' or some other permutation.

I'm not going to be crass enough to say 'Please buy my book!' but several people have bought it after reading some bits and pieces. With the small presses struggling to get into physical bookstores, I'd never have reached them any other way.

I tend to run and hide from the Wall of Psychedelia displays as well, but it takes about three seconds to see that the display is inpappropriate and move onto the next one.

The intellectual snobbery comment was made after a Hugo-winning author at a con used the description I quoted; his colleagues on the panel all nodded agreement --- and I found afterwards that at least two of them had MySpace pages... I stand by the comment that an awful lot of people who slag MySpace have barely or never tried it, or are just agreeing with everyone else because it's fashionable to slag it.

I agree that it's not for everyone, but I've found it invaluable in building contacts. With pro writers as well as people who read SF but have no idea that there are such things as cons. It just takes a little getting used to.


Author:  friendlygun [ Mon Jul 09, 2007 10:44 am ]
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If I were being generous I'd describe MySpace as a piss-awful sewage outlet of bad code and banality. Of course, I have a MySpace account, and it's useful for the purpose for which I joined: for listening to obscure bands and local musicians with far more ease than any other method available, and for keeping in touch with the small number of people I know that don't use anything else. But that doesn't stop it being one of the worst-designed and most poorly-coded websites in mass use I've seen in recent years.

The snobbery towards MySpace is inherently unfair, but quite understandable. The explosion in its popularity was significantly among young people, mostly teens, and should hardly come as much surprise in an era when more people are online than ever before, and yet youth spaces, parks and community centres are typically shut down rather than opened. And, well, at the end of the day kids are more interested in music and in trying to fuck each other than much else.

However, MySpace's growth has stagnated compared to Facebook's - something like 19% user growth to over 500% - so already the winds are a changin'. Facebook is easily the most robust and intuitive social networking tool I've come across, though as a promotional tool it won't work so well due to its mostly private / friends-only design.

All good points from Mr. Raven, as usual.

Author:  Tony [ Mon Jul 09, 2007 3:48 pm ]
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Interesting thread...
OK, just got a Facebook account.
Suggestions for any worthwhile genre groups to join are welcome.

Author:  GLP [ Mon Jul 09, 2007 11:01 pm ]
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My rule of thumb is:

- Facebook for people you already know
- Myspace for people you don't

If you're looking to make friends, choose the former. If you're looking to promote yourself, choose both. And blogger. And any other damn thing you can find.

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