Myspace ( is a social networking service created by University of California, Berkeley graduate Tom Anderson. After emerging in September of 2003, the site quickly gained a large user base thanks to the number of disgruntled Friendster users and people whose social networking needs can’t be met by a single service. Myspace has many of the same basic features as Friendster, such as uploading pictures, posting comments about others, bulletins for all of your friends, searching for users, and inviting your friends.

So what’s different?
  • Journal/Weblog – What a great idea. Blogs are all the rage these days, so having your own as part of your Myspace profile only makes sense. With Friendster you could look at someone’s profile and see what movies they like; with Myspace, you can see what sort of pointless banter they like to spew out to their audience when they are bored at 2 am.

  • Add captions to your pictures and comment on others’ pictures – Why doesn’t Friendster do this?

  • Have more than five pictures – You can never have too many black and white, three-quarter from above shots of yourself posted on your profile.

  • Add other users as your friend even if they aren’t in your personal network – I am undecided as to whether this is a good or bad feature. I am always getting friend requests from perfect strangers, and most female users have something in their profile saying “don’t add me as your friend if you don’t at least message me first or I will just delete your friend request.” Apparently everyone is having this same problem of too many friend requests. At the same time, however, I have made a few friends on Myspace, and it is nice to be able to have them in my friend list (without having to give them my full name just so they can add me to their list).

  • Use HTML and CSS to add images, colors, sounds, etc. to your profile page – I don’t think I even need to discuss the major drawback of this. If used properly, you can really make your profile page look pretty decent. No one uses it properly. But, it’s nice to have the freedom to toss an animated gif into your comment on someone else’s profile page.

  • Room for more text in your profile – Now you can list every movie you ever thought was interesting in your profile. I don’t know if there is a limit to the text blocks you can enter for the different areas of interest (if there is, it is more than enough), but I know I hit the limit in Friendster way too soon.

  • See how many times your profile has been visited – Your Myspace profile is like your own little webpage, so why shouldn’t you get your own web counter?

  • Browse Profiles – You can browse through others’ profiles based on search criteria such as physical proximity, age range, and sex. This makes Myspace much more akin to a dating service than Friendster is.

  • User groups – I haven’t really explored this feature, but it seems like it could be interesting. Form your own group, or join an existing one.

  • Picture Ratings – Not only can you upload tons of pictures (how much do jpegs weigh?), but you can have others rate them! There is something very rewarding about being superficial to the extreme and giving ugly people scores of ones and zeroes. But why are my pics rated so low?

  • Classifieds – It’s not quite craigslist yet, but it’s pretty cool that they added this feature.

  • Delete your profile – Oddly enough, Friendster did not have the option to delete your account, and I heard stories about people having to threaten with litigation to get their account removed. Myspace allows for simple account termination.

  • Faster servers – This is why so many people I know are ditching Friendster for Myspace. Of course, as soon as everyone switches, Myspace might be the one with server woes

Other interesting things about Myspace
Because Friendster is so popular, people often refer to their Myspace friends as their “friendsters”, and say they are “friendstering” while they use Myspace. The Friendster lawyers better get to work or we might see their name become public domain very quickly.

Although you have to be 18 to join Myspace, many minors are signing up with false birthdates and then switching them to reflect their true age once they have their account. I look young, so I get way too many messages from 17 year olds.

Myspace is a very successful alternative to Friendster that combines some of the best features from various dating and social networking services available to you on the web. The only drawback (and probably the biggest) is that all your friends are probably still on Friendster. But if you are sick of Friendster's slow servers and you want to punch it in its ugly face, then take a deep breath, relax, and get a Myspace account.