MySpace isn’t the only online personality site out there, but it’s fast becoming the most popular and the most widely used. On MySpace
and sites like it, users can post personal profiles of themselves, upload pictures, maintain Blogs (short for Weblogs, for you lexically challenged), and create a network of friends both new and old. It’s a great way to stay in touch with the people you already know who might be far away, and it’s also a great way to meet new people in the digital community. When you sign up for a free account with the site, it will certainly be tempting to start blogging and chatting right away. Consider customizing your page first, though. It may take a little outside help, and it might take learning a little bit of elementary HTML, but if you have a few extra minutes to add some personal touches, most likely you’ll find yourself more pleased with the way you’re representing yourself in digital space. After all, you spend time and money on your physical appearance – haircuts, clothes, etc. – why would you want to slack off when it comes to your virtual appearance?
There are two main customizable sections on MySpace: 1) Your profile, which lists anything from your education (University of Colorado, Class of ’92) to your interests in books and movies (Star Wars, anything by Oliver Stone, the Collected Works of Shakespeare, for example), and these will usually appear with built-in hyperlinks, displayed in chart-type boxes on both sides of the screen; and 2) Your Blog, which loads in another page and presents the text equivalent of what’s going on in your brain, with the option of viewers reading your Blog to add their comments at the bottom. For both Blog and Profile, the typical MySpace account is set up with default colors and styles; if you’ve seen any one of the generic MySpace pages out there, you’ll recognize the white background with black text and blue boxes. After you’ve viewed about two or three of these, you’ll notice that they become a little boring. Well, there are plenty of sites out there on the Internet willing to help you out. These are typically referred to as MySpace Editors, and their main function is to provide a list of customizable options such as background color and font, and after you select from these, the site generates the HTML code that you will later insert into your profile or blog.
Probably the most popular MySpace editor is the Thomas’ MySpace Editor. Available at www.strikefile.com/myspace, this editor has been around nearly as long as MySpace itself. It provides a huge number of options for people looking to customize their MySpace profile. Background color can be modified, for example, and even a background image can be inserted; Thomas’ MySpace Editor links to an online image-storing site (http://www.imageshack.us), so all you have to do is upload your picture, and they automatically generate the appropriate HTML complete with image source and hyperlink. For example: I want my MySpace profile to feature a picture of my dog Cody in the background. I have a digital picture of Cody saved to the C:\ Drive, and I follow the link from Thomas’ site to Thomas’ Image Help. From here I click the “Choose File” button and upload my file (cody.jpg). The Thomas’ engine then opens a new window and automatically provides me with a list of HTML- or Web Forum-style code for linking to my picture.
The last of this list is a simple URL, and this is now the internet address of my photo. I copy this (which reads approximately like http://img498.imageshack.us/img498/7159/cody.jpg) and return to the Thomas’ MySpace Editor window. I click on the “Edit Background” button and copy the URL into the “Background Image URL” box, adjust my preferences (do I want the picture on the left, right, or in the center?), choose whether to tile the picture (do I want 25 Codys or just one?), and then I scroll to the bottom of the page and click the “Generate Code” button. What comes up is the relevant HTML that will make Cody’s picture show up in the background of my MySpace profile. It will look something like this (minus the quotation marks):
I edited my profile with Thomas’ Myspace Editor V3.6!
If you’re unfamiliar with HTML, all this code means is what you already know: that I’m inserting a picture located at http://…..cody.jpg and that I want it on the top left of the page, not tiled, and fixed in place (it doesn’t move when you scroll up and down on the page). The code also includes a notice that will appear on your MySpace page advertising that you used the Thomas’ Editor to edit your site. Though it’s possible to remove this (cut everything after “”), it’s nice if you leave it in there; after all, you are taking advantage of someone’s time and effort, a service they’ve provided for free, and the least you can do is give them a little credit.
Other optional preferences that Thomas’ MySpace Editor can change for you include: inserting tables, making images 3D or making them hover, changing the scrollbar colors, changing text colors and sizes, adjusting headers, and inserting hyperlinks in your page. The Editor is always being updated, too, so look for more features to be added in the future.
If you have the time, sit down and play with your MySpace profile and the Thomas’ MySpace Editor for a while. You’ve probably seen those cool backgrounds and color schemes your friends picked out, and you’ve probably been feeling a little ashamed that you’re stuck with the old blue/black/white profile. But upload a couple of digital pictures, change your background, and throw a little bit of color into the mix, and soon you’ll go from Average Joe to – well, Not-So-Average Joe. In any case you’ll have fun doing it, and after a little bit of practice with Thomas’ and MySpace, you might even find you’re picking up a little bit of HTML. Hey, maybe it’s not the best cocktail party conversation starter, but use it to jazz up your MySpace profile and people will definitely be impressed. Also consider Customizing MySpace With CSS and DIV Overlays.