oy MySpace – I need new glasses

Guilty – I was swamped with work + moving, and neglected to look through my friend requests on MySpace for about a month. I’ve received approx. 500 new friend requests, approximately 8% are from people I actually know, or have met. The rest are various bands, and folks of all ages who somehow heard of me through the grapevine. 99% excellent people.

I wish there was some good way to manage all of these wonderful strangers, but alas there’s not. I have to add them in, 10 at a time. Which is not terrible, as that way it forces you to take a look at people at least in batches of ten. If someone catches my curiosity, I visit their page.

But then I want to leave a comment, and face the ire of CAPTCHA – the woeful “anti-robot” verification system MySpace uses to make sure I’m not an evil auto-commenter. Every time I have to squint my eyes and take a look at those oddly-shaped letters and numbers, I feel like a 2nd-grader in a writing class, hoping the teacher won’t slap me on the wrist for incorrectly typing back a “g” instead of a “y”, or a “t” instead of an “r”. I literally see CAPTCHA code in my dreams!

For musicians, MySpace is a fact of life. If you’re not on MySpace, you don’t exist — but for all the trouble artists go through to set up pages, accept friends, comment, etc. — I can’t say that they get much in return, other than positive praise.

1) For starters, I get ZERO friend data — I have 5000 MySpace friends, but I have no idea where they live, how old they are, or how often they listen to my music. Do I know how many friends I have in New York? No. Texas? No. Anywhere? not a clue.

2) There’s no way to communicate with everyone on my list at once – only through bulletins and event invites. But that is not effective. To send everyone a private message – the equivalent of an email — takes forever. You can only send 200 messages a day… to reach out to my fanbase, that’d take 25 days!

3) I’m not sure that we get much in return. If 10% of my MySpace friends bought a CD, I’d have to order a new run. I can’t say that I’ve met anyone at my NYC shows who heard the music on MySpace and came explicitly from MySpace.

4) Who needs positive praise? I need negative comments, things that push me harder.

All in all, there are some great folks out there.. if only MySpace were a little more useable.


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