Customizing Your Profile
Your Profile page is what the rest of the MySpace universe sees. The network allows you to use some third-party tools and straight-up web-page technologies to enhance your Profile page, including HyperText Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) code.
HTML is a simple, tag-based language used to create web pages. It controls the font colors, styles, and sizes; the background styles and element alignments; and the borders. The files themselves are plain text, which get translated into colorful text and graphics by the web browser.
Web developers use CSS to control designs and layouts across multiple web pages. It allows them, for example, to control such HTML elements as fonts, backgrounds, alignments, and borders from a single style sheet. Changes that occur on one page show up on others. It makes life a lot easier for MySpacers with multi-page Profiles.
The Profile Editor
The MySpace profile editor is where you go to choose themes, add lay-outs, and move or hide elements on the page called “modules.” The profile editor is only available if you are using the Profile 2.0 design framework.
Clicking on “Customize Profile” in the menu bar takes you to the profile editor and a number of options for enhancing your profile, including galleries of themes and modules. Clicking on “Appearance” displays 143 themes, which are easy-to-apply, pre-designed home-page layouts. Themes range from abstract designs with labels like “gothic,” “cherry,” “evil,” and “girlie,” to photo collages of actors, sports stars, and rockers. As MySpace puts it, “you can change your themes as often as you change your clothes.”
What are MySpace Moods?
“Moods” on MySpace are the little emoticons that MySpacers use to convey their current emotional states: happy, sad, confused. The networking service added this feature in 2007, and it has become very popular. Third-party companies offer galleries of emoticons for use on MySpace. Changes of MySpace Moods are called “mood swings.”
Clicking on “Modules” opens a gallery of Profile page elements. Some of these, such as Activity Stream, are standard; others, such as Companies, Groups, and Interests, are optional. To add a module to your Profile page, click the plus sign within the module box, then click “Publish.”
You can also change the Profile page layout by dragging and dropping modules to other locations, or inserting a layout template. You can add your own photos for a background, change the theme colors, and customize the content area.
MySpace gives its members a lot of control over their privacy. Click on “Account Settings,” and you'll open a page that allows you to decide whether you want to let people know when you're online, to hide or display your birthday, to block individual members from seeing your profile, and to pick who can view your comments. You can also report spamming messages and account abuse.
Spend some time thinking about your privacy settings, and revisit these options regularly. In other words, manage your settings; don't just set 'em and forget 'em.
MySpacers must be at least fourteen years old, and the network takes this restriction seriously. The network will delete profiles of underage members who have lied about their age to get in, as well as fourteen- to seventeen-year-olds who represent themselves as eighteen or older.
MySpace allows parents to delete their children's profiles if those kids are under thirteen (not allowed on MySpace); under sixteen with a public profile (not allowed); under eighteen but listed as older (also not allowed); if they display “nudity, obscenity, violence, or hate-based images or content,” which are not allowed, period; or if they engage in cyber bullying.
And if you ever feel overwhelmed by the MySpace maelstrom and want to step back for a while, you don't have to delete your carefully constructed Profile page and everything you've built into it. MySpace actually allows you to hide your profile, to just sort of disappear from the network with your profile intact. Just go to the Customize Profile page, click on the padlock, and choose “Just me.”
A potential key element of your MySpace identity is your blog. Face-book offers something similar with its Notes application, but the MySpace version is a straight-up, intra-network blog.
To create your own MySpace blog, start from your Page, hover your cursor over Profile in the menu bar to open a drop-down menu. Click on “My Blog.” Find “Post New Blog” and click on it. You'll open something that looks a lot like an e-mail form. Enter a title for your first blog in the Subject box. You can also pick a category if you like. Now click in the Body window and start typing. Commands along the bottom of this window allow you add photos, videos, and links to other websites. Click on “Preview & Post” to see what you've created before anyone else does. If you're happy, click “Post;” if not click “Edit.”
You have control over who sees your blog. The Public setting allows everyone to read it; “Diary” turns your blog into a private, for-your-eyes-only journal; click “Friends” to show your blog only to the people on your friends list; and “Preferred List” allows you to show your blog to a group of people you specify.
To see a long list of MySpace blogs you might like to subscribe to, click “Most Popular Blogs,” which takes you to a long list of popular blogs, listed by categories ranging from fashion to food, games to movies.