DXD: Disney’s Xtreme Digital

Disney has built a new social networking platform that allows members to view content, keep music playlists, and collect all sorts of Disney-i-fied widgets to paste on their very own page like a flashy art collage. Wild, right?

Seems to be the way of the world. Disney’s just the first to tackle the youth market (adult versions: netvibes, igoogle, etc)

You must use certain types of browsers (my lovely flock will not do… on to firefox). And you must have the latest in flash updated. Once all is ready– you can surf on into Disney’s DXD (or Disney’s Xtreme Digital). After a 5 minute period of loading time (and I’ve a fast connection. Uber-flashy sites like this and Nick.com do my head in… how do dial up kids do this?).

Instantly the media player kicks in. I’ve got that kid from High School Musical and that jump rope movie whose name I’m suddenly forgetting (kid’s name is Corbin Bleu) singing to me. Meh. Not my cup of tea, but no doubt little girls are drooling somewhere in the world. I’d much rather have Johnny “the Sparrow” Depp speak to me in Pirate-ese. However– who am I know diss the demand of all the girls in the world? I’m old.

Unfortunately, due to my office firewall I cannot participate in the community? Poo! I’ll have to dive into that later then.

Okay… aesthetics. Think for a second about the experience of walking into Toys’R’Us and then walking into the Disney Store. Toys’R’Us is relatively bare, just focusing on the mounds of toys. The Disney Story is like a visual explosion… do you look at the walls? Or the giant TV screen (I love that screen)? Or the people fueled on pixie dust asking to help you? Or the clothing that you wish you had a child? Or the games? Or the toys? Or the…. BOOM! A wee bit overstimulated. That’s how I felt looking at the DXD page. They weren’t joking when they named it XTREME (minus the first E for the extra extreme).

It’s a nice deep (yet with that plasticy-brightness) blue, with bubbles of widget-based content (mini portals, like links, to connect to other cross-promotional content). Most of the bubbles pre-chosen for me are the same gleaming blue as the background. In the upper corner there is a rotating list of widget options. Disney is usually insular and only spreads the Disney love– HOWEVER, they do have a widget advertisement for Nintendo’s WII and Paper Mario (and upon further inspection as I dig into the site, they do have an area in corporate for advertising). Looks like they might be willing to branch from their uber-Disney diet? Probably only in small doses for things, like WII, that Disney doesn’t cover (gaming consoles, etc).

The widgets cover chat programs (like ichat or aim) for friend chatting (can’t go much deeper than that right as I’m STILL loading and can’t get in), multiplayer games, polls, videos, sneak peeks, music, etc. A mega-dose of all things media. There is a scroll bar giving off the latest of the latest news, along with tidbits like “Don’t pass out personal information.” Speaking of safety…

All in all, the safety so far rocks. Parents are informed of any new decision the user makes (automatic parent notifications with LOADS of information packed into them– almost overwhelming in how much information they make available to parents in those emails). Here’s a little gem from their Kids’ Privacy Policy:

  1. A parent can access, change, or delete his or her kid’s personal information by logging on to the kid’s account at the Member Services Home Page located at http://register.go.com/go/memberservices/home. The parent will need to have their kid’s member name and password. There are instructions on the Your Account home page explaining how to recover a password if the kid has forgotten it.
  2. A parent can contact our customer service department to access, change, or delete the personal information that we have collected from his or her kid by sending an e-mail to ms_support@help.go.com. Please include the kid’s member name and the parent’s e-mail address in the e-mail so that we can better assist you with your inquiry or request.

Here’s information on their chat programs:

There are three levels of Disney chat: SpeedChat, True Friend Chat and Open Chat.

SpeedChat is Disney’s default chat setting that allows Disney members to chat with each other by choosing from a pre-approved list of questions and statements. It is a dynamic point-and-click chat system that allows for personal expression, questions, answers, and game advice.

Disney Xtreme Digitalsm on Disney.com offers a chat feature for registered members of Disney.com. There are several chat options that members can choose from. SpeedChat is the most basic level and the default setting available for all Disney.com members. For children under 13, any level of chat above SpeedChat must be enabled by a parent using Parental Controls. Parents can also use Parental Controls to modify the chat settings for their children under the age of 18. (Guest Service)

Kids can talk to their “True Friends” or their IRL friends. U13 kids have to have their parents approve of this function:

When a parent enables the True Friends feature, they can choose one of two levels:

  • Limited True Friends means that parental approval is required before a True Friend Code is given or accepted. This is recommended for children who are new to chatting online.
  • Unlimited True Friends allows members to generate and accept True Friend Codes without parental approval. This is recommended for anyone who understands how to make friends safely online. (Guest Service)

DXD does allow members to upload content (UGC): pictures, stories, yadda yadda– with parental permission, kids can freely do this. Disney reminds its members that they shouldn’t upload anything inappropriate, but (with the exception of the initial sign-up/name screening) there doesn’t seem to be anyone moderating the content before it goes live (interesting choice, Disney). Once a parent gives his/her virtual thumbs-up, DXD expects that parents will keep an eye on their child’s activity (which might happen for a month or less… but after a while, nope). They do use filters & predictive text (PT only if the parent signifies that they want this for their child).

I would jump into the community and surf around (see if i can get a feel of the tone/voice/etc) but i’m STILL LOADING. (Grumble!!) So all I can do is guess that it’s Disney-rific. If I can’t talk in the community, and I can’t get into the multiplayer games, I find myself at the end of my road on this sugar-licious site. Although it was fun to see the clip of the new Ratatouille film. The triple widget threat of Corbin Bleu (he’s all over the place)… meh. What about all the other content from Disney? Perhaps they’re making Corbin Bleu the next “Hannah Montana” (the marketing machine uber-sold HM to the Disney audience, and it was successful and is a mega-brand).

More than anything, I think it’ll be really interesting to see how this new form of networking will grab kids. As I’ve already mentioned– this just might be the first widget platform made for the tater tot audience. Will they like having everything at their fingertips? Or barely notice? Kids tend to go directly to their goal (ie. games, friends, etc). Will they find the benefit of having a self-made page carrying portals to their favorite activities? Or just go straight to their activities? The speed chat sounds rockin’! That might just save the day in the end.

If I find any more information, I’ll be sure to share it. 🙂 Please do the same.

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  1. robert
    May 3, 2007 at 2:20 am

    Yes i agree that Disney has built a new social networking platform that allows members to view content, keep music playlists, and collect all sorts of Disney-i-fied widgets to paste on their very own page like a flashy art collage.I have played the game and it’s a nice deep blue, with bubbles of widget-based content (mini portals, like links, to connect to other cross-promotional content).

  2. BS
    October 8, 2007 at 11:48 pm

    to use disney website with the Flock browser just go to your flock browser type in about:config and change string general.useragent.extra.firefox to just Firefox/2.0.0.7 from Firefox/2.0.0.7 Flock/0.9

    Then all websites will think your using firefox…

  1. May 5, 2007 at 9:48 pm
  2. May 15, 2007 at 3:12 pm

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