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MySpace and FB – Who has the better layout? Why? 2/7

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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    6 Comments

    1. Leslie 12:42, Feb 11th, 10

      I thought your passage about celebrities was interesting. Also, from the perspective of being a celebrity “fan” with interest in being a friend with them on a social network site, following celebrities on Facebook just doesn’t seem real because the site is so “sterile.” It doesn’t even seem like it’s actually the celebrity on the other end half the time, but rather just their PR company. With Twitter and MySpace, it seems more “real” when you follow a celebrity because the site allows for more graphical expression.

      I definitely think the physical layout & design of MySpace & Facebook is an interesting topic to explore more of. I guess it might just be a matter of finding a more specific direction underneath this? Maybe looking at how celebrities use and interact with people differently on the two websites, and maybe even Twitter, could be an interesting topic to pursue.

    2. Ryan 16:22, Feb 11th, 10

      I would say that the differences have to do with the way people use the site like you mentioned with music artists/celebrities vs. people that like to connect with their friends. Either way the layout is very important and you make a great point about the simplicity vs. complicated layouts of a social network site like Facebook vs. Myspace. I personally find Myspace more confusing but more personal in how you can express yourself. Facebook, is more for keeping in touch and staying connected. Also, can’t anyone view a Myspace page where Facebook has privacy settings? Doesn’t that differentiate the complexity and usage of the site.

      Leslie brings up a good point too – the types of people that interact with Myspace vs. Facebook and how celebrities or music artists use it.

      Maybe further explore how the two has changed and what changes they have implemented over time to stay competitive. Maybe, look at how Google Buzz is trying to compete with these two giants and create their own platform. Or stay with Myspace and Facebook and try to figure out which one has prevailed or even do a small survey on why a specific user prefers to use myspace or facebook and what they like and dislike about it. It could be like 10 people> 5 facebook users and 5 myspace users.

    3. HoniehLayla 20:14, Feb 11th, 10

      Guys – first thanks for giving me some great input on my post. You both raised some interesting insight that I would like to focus on in depth for my concluding post on Travelogue 2.

      Leslie –
      It is true that the celebrity fan pages on Facebook do seem “sterile” in the sense that we don’t feel a personal connection to the actual celebrity. Twitter feeds are a much better way of contacting your favorite celebrity, especially since there have been times where the celebrity face replies to a post.
      Even where there has been a moment in history where celebrities are touched or feel compelled to connect with their fans they mostly turn to their twitter pages. Such an occurrence was outlined in the following article on Ted Kennedy’s memorial.

      http://www.nydailynews.com/tech_guide/2009/08/26/2009-08-26_lance_armstrong_diddy_demi_moore_among_celebrities_responding_to_ted_kennedy_dea.html

      There is a more humanistic side to Twitter because celebrities are not exactly PROMOTING themselves or their products on twitter in the same way as they would in MySpace and Facebook. MySpace allows for artists to post their work for their fans to judge and enjoy. Facebook allows you to post pictures, your whereabouts interest, it’s a static profile at most because as you said Leslie – most of these people HIRE others to maintain their profiles. Twitter steers clear of this and allows users to one a small photo and just an update of 140 characters. It allows the celebrity to have the freedom of expressing themselves without going through a mouthpiece such as a publicist. The idea of a publicist in itself is becoming obsolete. There is also the aspect of twitters ease of use through mobile phones. Facebook might have a great working application for smart phones, but sending a twitter update is much easier and convenient than entering a mobile site, or mobile app on your phone.

      Ryan – your experiment sounds very intriguing – and I think I might take you up on your offer and poll a few of my friends. I think I might first try asking my friends in person, then attempt to poll my “friends” on my Facebook to see:
      1. Who still has a MySpace Profile?
      2. Why do they have it, for what purpose is it serving them?
      3. Who has a twitter account? Are they active? What is their main purpose for it?
      4. Why would they choose one medium over the other.

      These are just some preliminary questions I would like to propose to them – Any insight would help – or if any fellow classmates would like to participate I would greatly appreciate it.

      BTW – Ryan – I actually was surfing through MySpace profiles last week, without even being a member.. so that might answer your question. I will look into their privacy settings.

      I also wanted to divulge myself into researching Google Buzz, and the controversy surrounding it or lack of? For my concluding travelogue 2 entry I also would like to embark on a journey of researching surrounding, How Much Time Do People Spend on these SNSes?
      Thoughts? Criticisms? All are welcome!

    4. Jimena 23:33, Feb 11th, 10

      Hmmm… it seems to me that in some cases rather than “choosing” between the different platforms, there is a process of constructing an online image throughout all social media as a whole, using the characteristics that each platform has– for example, celebrities might cover different aspects through each one: the self-promotion, web-page type of info. thorugh MySpace; the more ‘organized’, networked relationships that Facebook offers; and adding the ‘personal’, more close-up feel you get from Tweeter. That way they get to different audiences, too.

      e.g. Demi Moore, who is pretty active as far as social media goes (or at least that’s the impression she manages to give) has both Facebook and Twitter, but she gives out different info. on each platform.

      I think the poll is a great idea. It would be interesting, in those cases where people still use both of their accounts, to compare what kind of information/profile do they have on each, or what do they “use” it for. I only have Twitter & Facebook, but would be happy to participate, of course :)

    5. ElzbthMllr 19:35, Feb 12th, 10

      I also like the poll idea…and would definitely also participate. I think your research is really interesting because I think that sometimes we don’t pay enough attention to the way in which social network sites are organized. A lot of times we focus on content rather than on the layout, design, ease of function etc (at least I know that I fall into that trap). It’s interesting to learn how different industries may rely on a certain site more than on another, and what effect that has on drawing certain advertisers to sites, who in turn influence the users. It seems to be very cyclical, and once a site gets branded (ie that MySpace is better for music), it’s difficult to get away from that. Although Facbeook has seemed to have done a better job from breaking away from its early stereotype of being elitist (to some degree). They’ve done this by expanding its users. I think it may be difficult to determine to what extent this is a result of its design, layout etc, but they are all interesting questions to research. Good luck!

    6. mushon 10:52, Feb 13th, 10

      Very interesting.
      We’re basically talking about this migration pattern: MySpace -> Facebook -> Twitter

      MySpace was very open ended, expressive, creative, chaotic. Its emphasis was much more about expression than about connection and networking.

      Facebook takes the opposite approach by building very rigid structures and a very tightly designed and controlled interaction. The networking aspect is highlighted and emphasized (which I would argue also tremendously supported it’s growth). It puts much more bars on privacy which raises the social capital of friending vs. being a fan (essentially the same thing in MySpace). This environment supports chatter, poking, and more controlled expression through content rather than design.

      Along comes Twitter and takes (what some would argue is) the best of both worlds. it is highly expressive and public like MySpace. It allows you to express yourself by changing the background image and colors of your page while still maintaining a unified layout so the users don’t need to relearn the interface on every page they visit. Moreover they deemphasize the page by allowing a very very open API that allows the users to cosume/produce/share from anywhere they want using whatever interface they want. They get rid of EVERYTHING that FB & MS provide and limit status updates to 140chars. They retract the simplistic idea of consent based friendship and replace the term with follw and be followed. They promote tons of uses by allowing other third parties to build the apps for them. It is afaik the fastest growing SNS today, and has been so for quite a while.

      I like the idea of looking at this from Google’s perspective. Google baught Orcut, the developped The Open Social standard and now they release Buzz. Google is known to “not get social”, but the insights that led it to these different attempts in this field in it’s different steps of progressions can be quite insightful.

      Interesting stuff, great conversation!

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