Category Archives: myspace

MySpace Groups: Real Answers to Your Help Questions

My article on how I would change MySpace groups is the second-most viewed post on this blog. Even weeks after the post, people find that post because of searches for MySpace Groups and MySpace Groups Help. Their FAQ for groups includes three entries that relate to groups, and four entries that do not. I just received an automated response to a question I had, and wanted to post the answers here (plus a couple not included) as they do not appear to be posted elsewhere, at least according to Google. If anyone in the future sees MySpace listing this information in this format, let me know and I’ll send them a bill for my technical writing — their email was disjointed and had answers for for a particular question strewn in two or three parts of the message.

Create a group
Click Groups on the top navigation bar. On the left of the groups page click Create Group. Be sure to select a category so that others might be able to find your group. You might want to first search the groups (a painful process, I know) as there are thousands of groups and there may be one that already meets your needs.

Add html to a group
Html can only be added to the Description, not the Short Description.

Add a moderator — not possible, as groups may only have one moderator
If you are currently in a group with no moderator and you would like to be the moderator please send us the group URL as well as your personal URL and we can update that for you. Please note: if the group currently has a moderator ONLY that moderator can request the moderator change.

Display an indicator for new messages when you click Groups
Go to account settings > group settings and check “Check here to display indicators on “Groups Home” when you receive new posts or bulletins.” If this is enabled, you can go to each individual group, select Privacy from the right navigation and choose whether to have notification for that group enabled.

Display Groups I belong to on your profile for others to view
Go to account settings> profile settings and check “Display Groups I belong to”
Note: you can also disable HTML in your profile comments, pic comments, and blog comments. Handy if you don’t want your comments cluttered up with glittering dancing babies.

Un-ban a user
Simply email [km: there is no “simply email” with MySpace!] us your URL, the group UR, and the URL of the person you have banned and we will unband them for you.

Waiting period for posting
New MySpace members must wait seven days before they can post in any group.

Invite others to your grup
You can invite others to join your group. When you visit their profile, click “Add to Group” in the contact section. You will not be notified if this person already belongs to your group, or if you have invited this person to your group previously, so you may want to keep a list of those you have invited. You do not need to be a moderator to invite others to join a group. Not all users will accept group invitations, depending on their privacy settings.

Leave a group
Go to the group, and click Resign on the right navigation pane.

Delete your own group
The email states that you visit the group page and click the cancel group button. I cannot find this button anywhere for the group that I moderate.

Bonus MySpace tips for Firefox Users
Download the Web Developer Toolbar extension. This extension has many useful features, but has an added benefit for MySpace users. Under the CSS menu, select Disable Styles > All Styles. This disables the CSS people have added to their profile, and enables you to see their profile without the background, blinking text, etc.

Download the Adblock Plus extension and the Adblock Filterset.G Updater. The filterset pre-populates the Adblock extension with many of the most common advertisements, making MySpace (and other sites) much easier to view. Custom div tag filtering can be enabled, so that your own view of your profile is much less cluttered.

Hacking A More Tasteful MySpace
Mike Davidson has an excellent post with hundreds of comments regarding hacking a more tasteful MySpace.

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Filed under Firefox Extensions, myspace, myspace groups

How I Would Change MySpace Groups

I’ve been using online groups since the late 90s, and have been online (via dial-up BBSs) since the mid 80s. I’m no stranger to finding my way around new websites and systems, but MySpace seems to be in a separate category. I’ve come to expect a certain set of functions, or at least a certain consistency to the group-based offerings. I’ve been quite frustrated with MySpace in several respects, but in here I’ll just outline the difficulties I have encountered with their groups, and how I would change that particular part of MySpace.

I would add more categories, or make subcategories in the Groups area. The Cities and Neighborhoods subcategory is a great example of this. Logical subgroups would be by country then state. Yes, you can search by zipcode, but if you’re in Humboldt you’re not going to find the West Coast group, which is listed as being from Santa Monica.

The search function seems to take some time to be updated. I started a new group, and it was well over a week before it was included in the index. Even craigslist manages to update their index every 15 minutes, it shouldn’t take a week for a listing to appear.

Follow Jakob Nielsen’s advice and put a search box when you’re browsing the category pages, not just a link to a search. In his UseIt Article he states that putting a textbox search function on his homepage, rather than just a link, increased search usage by 91%.

Use correct breadcrumb navigation. I clicked on Automotive groups, and the navigation states MySpace Groups > Most Popular Groups. No indication that I’m in the automotive groups.

Inconsistent use of search. On the groups main page, the search box is the simple search. If you click the search link on a sub-page, you’re taken to an advanced search.

Even advanced search is not very advanced. Say you want to find a group dedicated to VWs automobiles, so you search on VW. Here are the first ten results, the most popular groups with VW somewhere.
– VW Owners and Lovers
– vwvortex.com (vw/audi enthusiasts)
– The Transformers (the 1980s toy)
– VW – Volkswagen Enthusiasts Unite
– Stuck in Frederick Maryland
– 951/909 DirtSports
– Lovers of Orlando Bloom
– German Autos
– GTI Owners for Life
– Nanaimo BC

Search on Volkswagen, and also only six of the top ten groups are related to VWs (others include a description as a voice that won’t be co-opted by Volkswagen and a group on the psychedelic era).

At least all of the sponsored links are about cars. Maybe MySpace should use their ad-targeting algorithms for search and ditch their own search?

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Filed under myspace, Web usability