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Travelogue 2: Facebook vs MySpace! Updated 2/7/10

I have been reading a lot of press on social communities recently because I take a very cautionary step when engaging socially on Facebook. It could just be paranoia or simply wanting to be too private but at times I feel like Facebook might have a hidden agenda.

After completing the assigned readings for this week, my view on Privacy become even WORSE. By worse I mean, I don’t want to engage in any sort of online activity unless it is necessary for school or work.

It took me literally, 2 years to create a MySpace account because I was pestered by friends and kept hearing stories and I almost felt like I missing out on something very important on conversations.

So now I look back and say, well, what happened to My Space. Is it still around? Facebook has engaged in what they are calling the “Technology Lock In.” Technology lock-in basically means “the idea that the more a society adopts a certain technology, the more unlikely users are to switch. ” So for someone like myself, I probably will never switch back to MySpace because it doesn’t meet my needs or fit my current lifestyle socially.

Basically, I would like to explore the beginning of this social phenomena.

  1. How did MySpace start? Quick Bio on MySpace
  2. What secret ingredient did they possess to make themselves so successful?
  3. Where did they go? What did they do wrong? Where are they now?
  4. Facebook – Who are they? Quick Bio on Facebook
  5. Where did they come from?
  6. What are they doing right?
  7. How much are they worth?

An interesting video on MySpace vs Facebook (has a mild technical perspective)

YouTube Preview Image

I am open to constructive criticism, ideas, or paths of travel you suggest for this travelogue.

Mainly, I would like to travel the path from MySpace to Facebook, but also add a touch of the Privacy issues we were learning this week during our Google Challenge. I’ve always wanted to explore the demise and rise of these two groups. I would like to stay away from Twitter because in my own perspective it doesn’t have all the functionalities that these two sites do, and its use and purpose are much different.

February 7, 2010

Today I would like to discuss the difference in layouts between MySpace and Facebook.

What I have I have learned about this new media environment, or “SNS” Social Networking Site is that the design or “layout” is very crucial to acquiring specific types of users.

First I would like to analyse the Facebook layout – I found a very helpful image as you can see below. Due to the terms and conditions of Facebook, you MUST have a profile photo (or else they will pester you to upload on) and it must be  a photo of you, and not a Doppleganger :) The user has the following abilities on Facebook:

  1. Update their status
  2. Upload a current photo
  3. Apply for network membership (location – which they plan to remove)

I also found a site that outlines the limitations to Facebook, click here for more info.

MySpace layout is a bit more complicated but their is good reason for this. I personally don’t find the design to be very appealing because it is cluttered on their home page.

Clay Shirky brings up a great point during his lecture, “Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, “

His example of Bronze Beta and the simplistic design of it was successful. Also, because the group, had a collective nature, it was held together by the affection for one another. The saavy mood of no design, it wasn’t about the technology, it was about the content, more features would have been a distraction.

But as for the user  in “MYSPACE” themselves, users have the ability to express themselves by implementing code and changing their background images, adding music, basically implementing their own personal feel and personality into their pages. It is a great tool for those who don’t have the knowledge to build their own website and use the social networking site to express themselves.

The MySpace Profiles has the following:

  1. Friends
  2. Profile Picture
  3. Age
  4. Date of Last Login
  5. Mood
  6. Online or Not

A lot of celebrities, more specifically artists in the music industry promote themselves on MySpace due to the creative freedom the site provides. Several celebrities also have fan pages on Facebook, but find the limitations to the layout restrict their expression they want to broadcast to their fans. Facebook is a great communication tool in order to actually speak to those who you thought would never gain a chance to. MySpace allows users to connect creatively with their favorite artists. By posting things on their pages other than text…

  • Your Friends List, and the posts made by your friends and photo albums. You have the ability to control what is being seen by certain groups of people. You would be surprised to find how many cyberstalkers or lurkers are ou their roaming through your page. danah boyd actually put this into perspective for me by stating
  • “Abstract While it is common to face strangers in public life, our eyes provide a good sense of who can overhear our expressions. In mediated publics, not only are lurkers invisible, but persistence, searchability, and replicability introduce audiences that were never present at the time when the expression was created.

    I was wondering if any of the classmates had any input as to what type of questions could be asked as far as this topic is concerned or should I travel onto another platform – or relate these SNSes to issues that have erupted in the news (ie: use of facebook profiles in trials, twitter activity, etc.. Any constructive criticism, will be greatly appreciated.

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    1. ElzbthMllr 08:31, Feb 1st, 10

      Honieh, I am the same way about Facebook (I don’t have an account, which is really rare for someone our age) because I share the same concerns about privacy. Although after all the readings this week and not using google for almost five days I realize that not using Facebook is seriously only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to privacy.

      I had a couple thoughts about your post which I think is really interesting. From a privacy standpoint, it might be worth investigating to what extent, if at all, users have been instrumental in forcing Facebook to alter it’s privacy policy. Does Facbeook listen to its users in this respect? Do they care? Are they exploitative? What is their public stance with respect to the data that gets published etc?

      Second, as you “travel” from MySpace to Facebosome really great research being done by danah boyd (whose article on privacy we read this week) about the class division between the two. I saw her speak at the Personal Democracy Forum last year on the topic. Here is a link to the video of that speech http://personaldemocracy.com/taxonomy/term/97 as well as the text from that speech if you’d rather read it. It’s called “The Not-So-Hidden Politics of Class Online” http://www.danah.org/papers/talks/PDF2009.html.

      Also, if you don’t know it, the website TechCrunch.com would probably be a good place to look for articles and data with respect to users and statistics on both the social networking sites. This morning they had an interesting article noting that 175 million people log into Facebook every single day. http://www.techcrunch.com/2010/02/01/facebook-coo-sheryl-sandberg-world-economic-forum-davos/
      Hope this helps!

    2. Leslie 15:09, Feb 1st, 10

      Hey Honieh, I agree that it’s interesting and worth researching why MySpace seems to be on its way out, while Facebook is continuing to be successful (in the sense of engaged members). They both became popular around the same time, but at a certain point, began heading towards different directions. MySpace started to add more features at one point (and became pretty cluttered, in my opinion), while Facebook stayed on the simpler side (although, not so much any more). I wonder if this had anything to do with it?

      Also, maybe part of the MySpace mishap has to do with the very beginnings of the two social networking websites. While MySpace let anyone sign on and become a member, Facebook was more selective, only allowing college students. As Elizabeth noted with Danah Boyd’s speech and article about class division online, maybe there was an evident class division at the very beginnings of these two sites, which continued to carry throughout the years. This could have helped to shape how the two websites were used and the type of people a user found themselves interacting with on each respective site.

    3. mushon 20:00, Feb 1st, 10

      I was hesitant to respond here as I am completely repelled by your use of YouTube in a sensitive time like this.

      With that being said, I’m happy Elizabeth already linked to Boyd’s article and talk, it is a very revealing research.

      Another thought is – You chose MySpace vs. Facebook. Since FB is the leading platform its choice is obvious, but why MySpace? Why not LiveJournal, Xanga, hi5, Orkut, Bebo, Frienster… I would like for you to make the case for why is MySpace the right service to compare with FB and in what context.

      Speaking of addiction to web services, another relevant link for you is the web 2.0 Suicide Machine. We also wrote about it in a chapter in our book titled Death Is Not The End.


    4. HoniehBarak 20:09, Feb 1st, 10

      I chose MySpace because it was the first social community I joined. After MySpace I joined Friendster, Orkut, but never used either one. I stayed with MySpace till a good friend of mine convinced me that MySpace was turning into into “dirty” community site and that I should join Facebook because it is “cleaner.” I will take a look at the other sites as well as the links you have posted. This travelogue topic is not *finalized* so I will take this all into account this week during my research.

      Thank you! :)

    5. DanJee 22:27, Feb 1st, 10

      I think another interesting perspective could be why MySpace is decline (and Friendster heading to almost non-existence in North America) while Facebook is becoming the end all to ultimate social media machines. Exploring a bit more into why Facebook has been able to not only survive, but thrive might provide some interesting insights.

    6. Jimena 14:26, Feb 2nd, 10

      Hi Honieh- I think the topic is very interesting, but I would also vote for a comparision with a different platform; especially one that has attracted mainly non-US users, such as Orkut. That would open up the field to understanding if the use that people give to social media is somewhat different to the US, to compare the Western influence through this media, etc.