Thursday, June 19, 2008
MySpace, Facebook: Basic differences
MySpace is a lot about self-expression and Facebook more about exchanging personal news and information among friends, according to a thoughtful analysis in VentureBeat.com, though somewhat biased toward Facebook. The distinction goes back to the two sites' origins. Back in 2005, MySpace was likened to a mashup of an alternate-reality game, online nightclub, music community, and teenager's bedroom that could be redecorated whenever the spirit moved (see "MySpace the new MTV"). VentureBeat blogger Eric Eldon says that, unlike Facebook, MySpace is "a place for people to live out their fantasy lives online," which he acknowledges is quite a generalization but works where it concerns teens using the site to explore identity, as well as online media-producing and graphic design (see "Teens rule the Web" and "Social media gender gap"). Facebook's origins are well known and quite different: It was a college social utility defined by students' need to know more about a roommate, potential date, etc., where people were quickly busted if they fictionalized info about themselves. "If they provided fake information, their friends from across the hall would simply leave comments saying so on their profile pages," Eldon writes. Both can certainly be useful in many countries - one can see the value of a social utility in other countries, within local circles of friends and to keep in touch with friends who've emigrated or to stay in touch with people they've met from other countries. Eldon's analysis describes this well (and my own experience overseas in recent months bore this out). Here, for example, is the view of social networking from Kenya.