Category: MySpace

Mar 02 2009

Skittles Let You Speak the Rainbow

skittles

I’m a huge fan of user generated content. I think the greatest copy, ideas, and criticism can come from your own users. However, there is such a thing as going too far.

Last night at some point, http://www.skittles.com switched its page to become a constant feed of a twitter search for skittles. Almost immediately, people began talking about all sorts of random, not-skittles related stuff, just to appear on the page. I even sent a message about prefering M&M’s to skittles (which I do).

You just can’t put unfiltered user content out there. Sorry. I learned this lesson the hard way years ago. Back when I was at Pseudo, I had to do an interview with Dick Morris, who at the time was embroiled in quite a scandal surrounding the Clinton white house. We had this fantbulous idea of showing the live chatroom on a plasma screen right in between the two of us during the interview.

As you can imagine, the room was filled with things that weren’t appropriate for anyone to see, much less the target of them – Dick Morris himself.

The ONLY way to do this kind of content is to very, very cautiously moderate. You don’t need only positive statements going out, actually, if you want to really show what your users are saying, you should include some negative statements. But you absolutely need to be able to block messages like this:

PMansellSheep: fighting the cult @ XENUXENUXENUXENUXENUXENUXENUXENUXENUXENUXENUoYOUoJUSToLOSToTHE

I don’t understand why Skittles didn’t know better, and why they haven’t taken the page down yet. There’s a warning that you need to be an adult…but when the first comment is “skittles sux,” does being over 18 matter? In my case with Pseudo, we yanked that chatroom screen down before I was 10 minutes into the interview.

Over the summer, a lot of concerts did a deal with Verizon where you could text a message to have it shown on the big screen. Those messages appeared quickly, and looked “live,” but they were heavily moderated. And I know this cuz, um, I sent something inappropriate to see if it’d get through. I had to try, I almost ALWAYS try. I sent “scream if you love porn,” which I thought would be fun. But nope – lots of “Scream if you love linkin park” and the like, but no joy for me.

There is also the question of privacy, something people have been talking about a lot lately. Is my Twitter appearing on Skittles going to be seen as an endorsement? Do they actually even have the rights to do it (I need to dig through various terms to figure that out – expect a follow up post when I have time to do that). I can’t block it…at least I can block myself from appearing in Facebook’s social ads. But this is a whole other thing, and not one I’m entirely sure I’m comfortable with.

All that said, would I have ever written a blog entry about Skittles today if they hadn’t done this? If “any press is good press,” then Skittles has done a fantastic job at that – everyone’s talking about them on Twitter. Not talking about the candy, of course, they’re talking about the mess on the Skittles homepage. In what probably took them 10 minutes, they redid their website to something that people can’t stop talking about. Well done for that.

In the long run, is this going to make me buy more candy? Absolutely not. But I will be pointing to this as an example of UGC gone bad for years to come.

So for that, thanks Skittles!!

Nov 15 2008

From MySpace to Operation Turtle

I’m sure some folks are wondering why I’ve been talking on twitter about looking for a new apt in SF.

Well..this is why.

Last week, on my birthday (won’t ever forget that bday!), I gave (what ultimately turned out to be) three weeks notice. My last day at MySpace will be 11/21, this upcoming Friday.

Since I gave notice, I’ve begun the transition thing. I’ve been reaching out to developers who work on the MySpace Platform to let them know who they will be working with moving forward. If I haven’t talked to you yet, don’t worry, I will – every single developer I’ve worked with, large and small, will have a new contact name at MySpace before I leave. If I haven’t contacted you yet and you’re antsy to move forward, just shoot me an email to sbergman -at- myspace and I’ll get you hooked up.

I love MySpace, and have had a wonderful time working here. It’s hard not to get inspired when I spend so much of my job working with people in startups. I’ve spoken here about the one I used to work for, and there’s a feeling in the air at a teeny new company doing something original that is very exciting. I was burned when my first startup went bankrupt, and didn’t want anything to do with that world for a while. If nothing else, I wanted job security! But…the project is right, and I’m mentally ready to do this again.

I believe everything happens for a reason, and this all came together too perfectly not to be right. A friend introduced me to a friend, who introduced me to the guy starting the company, and it all went from there. Very natural, and just felt like the right thing to do. The company I’m going to does not have a name yet (closed beta of it will come out soon), so for the sake of this blog I’m going call it Operation Turtle. The Turtle is something completely new, something that nobody’s ever really seen before, so I can’t answer it with a quick two word description. It’s enabling a new form of “social interaction,” but that doesn’t really mean anything. I’ll get more specific when I can.

It’s fun, it’s new, it’ll help you connect with new and old friends in a whole new way, it is NOT a social network…although I could make a pretty good argument that a site can’t be JUST a “social network” anymore. All sites have to have content, first and foremost, then social networking features integrating that content – like MySpace has Applications, music, games, celebrities, etc. The social improves the base product, but the base has to be there. “Create a profile” doesn’t quite cut it anymore. A profile is only one feature to what had better be a larger product. I’d love to give examples, but let me leave my current position yet. Suffice to say that there are some some stellar examples of companies with a business that has integrated social networking features and/or user generated content. Operation Turtle is social, but has a very unique twist with the content.

This is a tiny industry where everyone moves in the same circles, and always end up working together again. I’m always amazed when people I worked with 15+ yrs ago show up again asking if we can work together. I love it, and without a doubt, pre-existing personal relationships always result in a better, stronger product. So don’t forget me!! I know I’m going to want all of your feedback on Operation Turtle once you get to play, all of your opinions are very important to me.

I can also promise that I would never leave a job I love at MySpace to work for a teeny company with no live product unless I totally believed in what they were doing. And I really do. This stuff is the bomb, and I can’t wait to show it off.

I have always jokingly said to people that I’ve followed the ‘largest community online from company to company, from Yahoo to AOL to MySpace,’ and I fully believe Operation Turtle belongs on that list. I don’t think small, and wouldn’t want to work on something that doesn’t have the potential to change the world.  Mr Turtle will show everyone an entirely new way to communicate. And I think people are going to love it.

So, here I am in in SF this weekend looking for an apartment, and I am quite happy to report that I found one. What can I say, I’ve moved 6 times in 4 years, three of those moves cross-country, so a “simple” move from Los Angeles to San Francisco is hardly a major problem. At least, not a problem at this phase, I’m sure I’ll be bitching enough as soon as I have to start packing. This was the easy part.

The apartment is in a fantablous location, right over Whole Foods in SOMA, by the entrance to 101 (which is perfect for escapes to south bay, to family in Novato, or to my old vet in San Ramon – so psyched to go back to them!!). It’s also close to bus and bart; although a lot of stuff looks like it’ll be within walking distance…my new office included.

My lease starts December 5th, so now I have to do the ‘paperwork’ side of moving. Turn utilities off here, on there, move car/home insurance, and so on.

I need to find movers, which I haven’t done on my own in a long time (all the cross-country moves have been company relocations), so if anyone has recommendations on a short haul moving company, would love to hear them!

Lots of stuff going on, but all good, and I’m very excited for what lies ahead. I will miss you Tom, but how could I resist the call of the Turtle?

I’m leaving SF tomorrow, but will be back soon enough. This last week at MySpace is bound to be sad, I really am going to miss everyone, but I’m excited by what waits for me here in San Francisco. So, shortly after turkey day, I will become a resident of San Francisco.

And I’m starting to really like the sound of that.

Jun 24 2008

Now THAT’s ad targeting!

If you know me, you know I’m a little Broadway obsessed. And if there’s any musical I’m fixated on, it’s A Chorus Line (previous entry on it here). A Chorus Line is closing on Broadway, and is only running here in LA for another month or so, but that won’t stop me from listening to it constantly, or referencing it endlessly. After all, why would I stop now? I’ve been at it since I discovered the record at the age of 5.

The other day at work, I was listening to A Chorus Line on my iPod. I was getting punchy, and set my status on MySpace to “Stephanie thinks everything is beautiful at the ballet.” It’s a line from a song in the musical, but not exactly one of the most popular, or most well-known lines to people not obsessed with the show. So, imagine my surprise when I got an ad on my homepage for the musical in LA:

Sometimes I think ad targeting is creepy – I wonder how on earth it knew whatever about me.

But sometimes? It just makes me giggle.

Mar 13 2008

OMGAWDS WE’RE LIVE!

And I’ve also discovered that when I’m tired I talk like a LOL cat. Go fig.

MySpace Applications are now live!!! There are sooo many cute ones to play with (and some really useful ones too). Go check it out, have fun, and look at what’s been stealing my life away for the last whoever knows how many months :D

MySpace Apps. YAY!

Feb 13 2008

MySpace Hires as Yahoo! Fires

For what I think are obvious reasons, I have no comment on this.

However, here’s a link to a blog entry Ben Metcalfe wrote on it!

Feb 02 2008

Want to play with – or work at – MySpace?

My life has been a little hectic lately – we’ve been ramping up for the Developer Platform launch at MySpace, and, as expected, things have become slightly insane.

My cats seem to love that I’m spending so much time on the couch with the laptop, though, they’re fascinated by my typing, and the mouse moving around the screen. They’ll sit and stare at the arrow moving around the screen for hours, it’s hysterical. (note to self- I so need to upload pictures of the kitties and write an entry about them!).

Anyway! We began taking pre-registrations for our Developer Platform this past Tuesday, and are launching with a sweet party in San Francisco this upcoming Tuesday. The platform site is for developers interested in working with the MySpace APIs (including Open Social).

It’s kind of sandboxed right now – it’s not out to members, but applications created can be installed on live profiles for testing. It has everything a developer needs to begin building applications…documentation, sample code, test harnesses, forums where our developers will be hanging out to help, and a team blog (I’m blogging there too).

The site will remain as is for a while – long enough so anyone who wants to can create an application and have it ready to go live on day one. Even playing field for all, no “first mover” advantages, no “launch partners.” If you’re interested – you can prereg now, or just go to the site on Feb 5th – it’ll be wide open to everyone.

I’ve written here before about how the world is changing, and it’s a blast to watch. Wanna be part of it? You could be an application developer, independently working with our api’s, OR, you can work with us. We have two openings, and I know exactly who I want. I just have to find them, and I’m hoping maybe they’re reading this blog. :) The job description is below. If you’re interested, go to Fox Careers and search for req FIM10590 – it’ll show up as Fox Interactive.

Product Specialist MySpace

As a Product Specialist, you will be responsible for reviewing application submissions for the MySpace Application Platform. This will include, but not be limited to reviewing all application submissions for both security and technical quality, communicating with partners and independent submissions, analyze business data to identify trends, advance our application offerings, and build partner-integration and partner-management of applications.

Required Skills:

- 2+ years experience in Internet Software Development
- Excellent written and oral communication skills.
- Strong organizational and analytical skills.
- High energy, self-motivated, detail-oriented, analytical.
- Conceptual/Practical understanding and/or usage of Social Networks and/or Social Graphs

Preferred Skills:

- Programming Experience in JavaScript, Flash/Flex/Action Script, PHP, Python, HTML, CSS, AJAX
- 2+ years experience in Internet Software Development
- Previous experience in direct communication with outside vendors/clients

Nov 28 2007

Neat New MySpace Stuff!

A work related entry today, since we have new things on MySpace worth talking about.

- MySpace IM plus Skype was released this morning. It is literally �MySpace plus Skype� � to steal the description from the site: Talk to your friends on IM for FREE, call cell phones right from your PC, and even get your own local phone number and voicemail!

- Aaaaand Friend Updates are out. People are calling it our version of the Facebook �activity feed,� but I think it�s closer in functionality to the AIM Buddy Feed (people love to think Facebook invented this feature, but I’ve had my various updates from my blog/flickr/digg/delicious showing in AIM/AIM Pages ever since we did the Buddy Feed ages ago). You have full control over who can see what about you, and over who you want to see updating about what (preferences are here). We�re very excited, I think people are really going to enjoy the feature, especially since if you don�t want to use it, you don�t have to. Completely up to you.

Nov 01 2007

OpenSocial is sweet!

(and I can I just tell you how many times I’ve almost written “Welcome to the social” as a tagline?)

From Mashable:

The official news is out on the MySpace and Google deal, first rumored earlier today. The big news: the two companies have actually been working together on OpenSocial all along, which launches officially tonight. From the jointly issued news release:

�MySpace, the world�s largest social network, and Google, Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) today announced that they are joining forces to launch OpenSocial� a set of common APIs for building social applications across the web. The partnership spearheads an initiative to standardize and simplify the development of social applications. Today�s announcement underscores MySpace�s commitment to supporting standards that foster innovation in an increasingly social Web.�

As I told someone on Monday (talking about something entirely different, mind you…) “we’re ALL about standards, baby.” :)

 

Oct 18 2007

MySpace Platform – It’s Official!

From Tech Crunch:

Rupert Murdoch and MySpace co-founder Chris DeWolfe announced some of their plans around the MySpace Platform (rumored since last week) this evening at the Web 2.0 conference during a Q&A with John Battelle.

I’d say “things are going to get busy,” but hey, they already have been. And it’s all in good fun – this is a damn cool thing to be working on. I’m just glad the news is out.

Yay!

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Aug 06 2007

A Disclaimer

I always felt that this all kind of went unsaid, but I guess the distinction was easier when I had one work blog and one personal one. Now, this is all I have, and I have no intentions to start blogging for MySpace at the moment (who knows what may happen in the future). Anyway, here goes:

Content in this blog should in no way be taken to represent the opinion or policy of MySpace, Fox Interactive Media, or NewsCorp.

I write here for my own enjoyment, which is why the issues vary from social networking behavior to my hatred of LA, to pictures of my new cat. All personal ramblings. I may mention work on occasion, but believe me, I do so very carefully.

I also want to add (since the tone of this could be questionable), nobody asked me to do this. I’m writing this because I have been contacted multiple times now through here about MySpace, and want to ensure that anyone reading this understands that while I am a MySpace employee (and don’t really mind the work emails, I like that I get to meet new people), this is my personal blog and nothing I say here is to be viewed as coming from MySpace.

For your regularly scheduled blabber, quick bullet update:

  • I think I’m�getting used to LA – some guy�started yelling at me when I was getting gas yesterday and my reaction was just to laugh at him. I’m not sure why he started yelling, I think he was trying to cut through the gas station and I blocked him by (*horror*) GETTING GAS. I believe I’ve discovered that the only sane reaction to the insanity of LA is to laugh.
  • I have the cutest cat on earth and will post more pics as soon as I find my camera cord.
  • I got a sunburn on my arms doing errands on Saturday. I drove about 5 miles in total, and spent over an hour in the car. Looove traffic.
  • Had an LC sighting when I was getting my hair done last weekend. No cameras, nobody else, just LC.
  • Movies – disappointed by the Simpsons and Die Hard, loved Harry Potter (of course).
  • TV – addicted to Big Brother, love the 4400, love Eureka. I seem to be watching nearly all sci-fi at the moment.

And that’s all for now!

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