Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How MySpace Works


Using MySpace: MySpace Interface
MySpace homepage
MySpace homepage

Ellie doesn't have any money, but that's OK -- MySpace is entirely free. Here's what we see when we arrive at the site:

Signing up for MySpace takes about two minutes. To register and create our basic profile, all we need to do is enter a few details on a form: name, e-mail address, password, country where we live, postal code (for United States, Canada and United Kingdom residents), gender and birth date. During the initial sign-up, we're also prompted to upload a photo and invite our friends to join.

Ellie's going to skip this part because most of her current friends don't have e-mail accounts.
Ellie's going to skip this part because most of her current friends don't have e-mail accounts.

Ellie is now a registered MySpace user with a profile and all of the goodies that go with it -- an e-mail inbox, a blog, space for her photos, a URL (she can create a MySpace name to get a custom URL, too), an address book and lots of other features.

And look -- Ellie already has a friend!

It's Tom Anderson, president and co-founder of the Web site. Ellie is now connected to everyone on MySpace.com. To build her network of friends, Ellie can invite her current friends to join and search for any friends who are already on MySpace. She can search by name or e-mail address, and MySpace lets her import her entire e-mail address book from Yahoo!, Hotmail, AOL and Gmail to automatically scan for an address connected with a MySpace account. Other search methods are by school affiliation (find people you go/went to high school or college with -- colleges actually have their own sections on MySpace) or by business affiliation.

To make new connections, Ellie has a bunch of options:

  • She can browse by certain criteria.
Browsing criteria include gender, age and location.
Browsing criteria include gender, age and location.
  • She can get involved in the MySpace forums.
  • She can join groups based on her hobbies and interests.
Group categories include Automotive, Computers & Internet, Family & Home, Fashion & Style, Music, and Religion & Beliefs.
Group categories include Automotive, Computers & Internet, Family & Home, Fashion & Style, Music, and Religion & Beliefs.

When she finds someone she's interested in becoming friends with, she just clicks the "Add to friends" button on the person's profile page.

If Ellie wants to become friends with Julia, she'll click "Add to Friends" on Julia's profile page.
If Ellie wants to become friends with Julia, she'll click "Add to Friends" on Julia's profile page.

MySpace will send a message to that member saying that Ellie wants to add him or her to her Friend Space, and that person can either approve or deny the request. If the request is approved, that person will automatically show up in Ellie's Friend Space.

Besides finding and contacting new friends, you can use MySpace to:

  • Create your own blog
  • Rank other peoples' profile photos
  • Grade your college professors
  • Post and view events going on in your area
  • Play games
  • Post and view classified ads
  • Discover new music and artists at MySpace Music

MySpace Music, as you'll see on the next page, is a destination unto itself. MySpace isn't the first site to try to remake the music industry via the Web, but it's the first to succeed in any large-scale way.


More to Explore