I’ll admit I have a Myspace.com account that I never use, I use Facebook extensively, becoming active with the addition of the Newsfeed and later API/Applications. Biggest reason? I was able to hook iPhoto up to Facebook via Exporter and put up pictures of my kids. Combine that with mobile uploads and then the Blackberry application, and my friends and I can share pictures of our kids. The dragged my family on, because not everything was making it to Shutterfly or other online album software. The walled garden aspect doesn’t bother me, I’m not terrifed that random people will be unable to find pictures of my kids on tricycles.
That said, Myspace.com has completely disappeared from the news. However, Mashable is reporting that Myspace.com still rules the critical teen demographic. This actually makes a lot of sense to me. Facebook with its public adding of friends is perfect for those of us out of school, married, and reconnecting with high school/college classmates, but if I was in middle school or high school, I’d be terrified of the in your face nature of Facebook. The idea that a relationship breakup is quickly messaged to your entire school seems terrifying. The clean nature of the Facebook interface is perfect for college students with a more relaxed sense of social moors (and a larger world than a middle school), and it lets you track your friends at other schools, but bringing the competitive social nature of middle/high school online, terrifying.
Myspace’s flexibility drives me crazy, but I’m an Internet professional specializing in usability, SEO, and correctness in markup. So why does the Newsmedia talk about the importance of Twitter and treat Myspace as an also ran, despite Myspace being easily 5 times the size of Twitter and dominating the entertainment world. As far as I can tell, the rapid assignment of followers (unlike two-way friendship) works perfect for a celebrity-driven culture, and therefore works perfectly for the media world. Myspace is about self expression, Facebook about sharing your life with your friends, and Twitter about disseminating your life/views/events to people that are listening but without requiring a two way conversation. Which one of those matches the media?
The media’s cultural biases (coastal, liberal, urbane) also come into play, where Myspace’s focus on alternative music genres, popularity with subcultural groups, and ownership by News Corp (Fox/Fox News), the epitomy of low brow markets. Despite the media lavishing attention on Twitter, Twitter appears to be making little traction with teenage users, and Myspace/Facebook still dominate this demographic. Twitter depends on users always being on, Facebook/Myspace fill you in when you return. Twenty-something entry level employees at a desk all day are perfect for Twitter, teenagers with technology restricted at school and possibly at home? Twitter doesn’t make sense.
Social Media players should look past their biases and realize that Twitter may have the Buzz, but Facebook and Myspace have the users.