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Turning MySpace Into YourSpace

As you navigate MySpace and check out profiles, you'll notice that the look and feel varies tremendously from user to user. Some people have profiles with a personalized description, unique photos, and perhaps a little extra here and there; others have decked out their pages with crazy fonts, glitzy wallpaper, music, and video graphics (Figure 3.18). You don't have to do any of this fancy customizing, but if you are curious about how it's done, check out Chapter 7.

Figure 3.18

Figure 3.18 One of the more souped-up profiles we've seen.

Photos

People are visual creatures, so naturally, they want to look at pictures. The popular MySpace photo feature lets you upload up to eight digital photos or images (including your profile image) to your profile. Photos let you share more about yourself and your life, including friends, family members, and pets.

You can upload virtually any image: artwork, graphics, illustrations, cartoons, pictures, and other images. All photos must be in .gif or .jpg format and no larger than 600 KB.

MySpace users often experiment and add a creative touch to their profiles by using popular or unique images in their profiles rather than traditional photographs or portraits. This can provide added privacy protection, too, but make sure that you and your kids know not to violate MySpace rules and federal law by posting copyrighted images without permission.

MySpace also prohibits photos that "contain nudity, violent or offensive material." Warn your kids that MySpace will delete their accounts if it catches them violating these terms.

Company policy and basic courtesy also prohibit uploading images of other people without their permission.

Sometimes, images or videos are actually stored on another site (as we mentioned in our discussion of HTML earlier in this chapter); they're not on MySpace at all. But because MySpace lets users add HTML to their profiles, users can add links to media at sites like Photobucket.com and YouTube.com.

Note: MySpace says it's negotiating with some of these sites to police the storage of media files that violate its terms, but that's a tall order, because media-storage and media-sharing sites are multiplying rapidly on Web 2.0.

If you didn't upload a photo when you created your MySpace account, you can always do it now.

To upload a photo, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Add/Edit Photos link in the Hello box on your home page (Figure 3.19).
    Figure 3.19

    Figure 3.19 The Add/Edit Photos option.

  2. Click Browse, which lets you navigate to the folder on your computer's hard drive where you store pictures.
  3. Double-click the photo you want to use.
  4. Click Upload.

    It may take a minute or so for the photo to be uploaded from your hard drive to MySpace.

You can opt to include a caption with the photo. You can do that from the same screen where you uploaded the photo, or you can do it later by clicking the Add/Edit Photos link on your home page.

To add a caption, follow these steps:

  1. Scroll down to the bottom of the Upload Your Photo page where your photo appears, and click Add Caption below the photo.
  2. Write your caption in the text box.
  3. Click Update Caption.

    A Confirm Caption screen displays.

  4. If you're satisfied with the caption, click Post Caption; otherwise, click the Back button, and make changes.

Adding Music to Your Profile

A lot of kids display their "music personality" by uploading a song to play automatically when people visit their profile and changing it often. Unlike some services, MySpace allows users to upload songs only from bands that are already on the service. You can't upload MP3 or iTunes files from your own collection. This is MySpace's way of promoting its member bands and trying to make sure that users don't upload copyrighted music without permission.

To upload a profile song, follow these steps:

  1. In your Hello box, click the Edit Profile link.
  2. Click the Profile Songs link (Figure 3.20).

    Figure 3.20

    Figure 3.20 Profile songs is the last Profile Edit option on the right.

    The Add a Song to Your Profile page displays.

  3. To start searching for a song, click Find a Band in MySpace Music (Figure 3.21).
    Figure 3.21

    Figure 3.21 Browse for a tune by clicking the blue text.

  4. Enter the band name in the keyword search box, and click Search.

    At least one band profile appears.

  5. Select the appropriate profile by clicking the band's name (Figure 3.22).

    Figure 3.22

    Figure 3.22 Choose a band's profile to check out its songs.

    A song most likely will start playing automatically.

  6. Choose the song that's playing or another song, and click Add.

    A confirmation page appears, asking whether you're sure you want to add the song to your profile.

  7. Click the Add Song to Profile button (Figure 3.23).

    Figure 3.23

    Figure 3.23 Choose a song and then add it to your profile.

    A final band-upload confirmation screen appears (Figure 3.24).

    Figure 3.24

    Figure 3.24 Your tune choice has been confirmed.

Voilà! You've added tunes to your MySpace profile.

To remove a son from your profile, follow these steps:

  1. Complete steps 1 and 2 in the preceding list.
  2. Click Remove next to the song and artist you want to remove.

Adding Video to Your Profile

Similar to MySpace Music, the Videos feature lets users share their favorite clips and shorts directly in their profiles. You can see these videos playing when you visit profiles, and sometimes, you can see several videos at the same time, which can be a real challenge for grownup eyes. Still, these videos are very important to the way kids present themselves, and they're a very popular feature on the service.

It's also possible to upload home videos to a home page. Kids are increasingly using camcorders or even video-enabled cell phones to shoot their own video and then uploading it to MySpace and other video sharing services. Many of the kid-generated videos we've seen are terrific, and some are very funny. (If you really want to delve into this, check out YouTube.com and Grouper.com, two social-networking sites that specialize in video.)

We suspect that most parents aren't going to be uploading their own video, but if you want to know how it's done, check out Chapter 7.

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