Tuesday, June 26, 2007

MySpace versus FaceBook

An interesting study by Danah Boyd that we've been pointed to by Mashable, looks at the socioeconomic differences between your typical MySpace user and your typical Facebook user. Overall, she concludes that Facebook users are more educated and "good kids" while MySpace users seem to be those that are "bad" and that live in the fringes of society. Income had little to do with the outcomes of the study as a struggling actor/waiter making $12,000 would fall into the Facebook camp and that the differences emphasize a matter of upbringing. She also notes the banning of MySpace in the military while Facebook is still allowed and used by most officers. Finally she notes the cleanliness of Facebook's white background as opposed to the clutter and noise on some MySpace pages.

The results are not of a surprise if you look at the origins of both social networking sites. Facebook started at Harvard and while the network is open now to anyone, you tend to be on networks where your friends are. Hence, Harvard folks are friends with other educated folks and so on. Further, prior to opening up, you needed a .edu account to join Facebook. On the other hand, MySpace started on the fringes with the underground music scene. Soon it spread pretty quickly, but with anything mainstream, pretty soon everyone's on it. I think MySpace has lost the most value recently with the openness of the site. I get more spammers posing as lost 20 year old girls than real people, more bands and films trying to build a following, and more people that I don't know that want to be my friend.

I think that in the MySpace world - it's all about carving out your piece of the Internet; you have your own URL and many use it as a "resume" of sorts. In Facebook, its true social networking. You can't link to anyone randomly. That's the benefit of sites like Friendster and LinkedIn. To get access to others, you must REALLY be my friend (although there's a bunch of ways to get around this). Is that what Danah Boyd is trying to say? That socioeconomic upbringing is about me, me, me? Ego is everything? That kids understand why they went to Harvard, not necessarily about the education, but about your classmates and building networks? The interesting thing is that we can now track how Facebook will grow given its open nature and see if this is true.

No comments:

Post a Comment