Sunday, July 29, 2007

Reflections: MySpace vs. Facebook (part 2)

Reasons I can see for choosing MySpace over Facebook (or indeed having both) include:
  • The bandwagon -- many bands are on MySpace (indeed, many do not bother to have webpages anymore) and it provides a forum for fans to interact with bands
  • The ability to personalise the look of your MySpace page using HTML is a draw, I would guess, for those with artistic flair, and those with technical skills (and to a certain extent these groups will be boyd's 'subaltern' teens)
  • Cultural usability: There are studies, such as Elke Duncker's work on cultural aspects of usability, that show that different cultures find different colours and layouts appealing. Given what I know of Duncker's work, the appeal of MySpace to certain cultural groups is that they will be able to make it fit their cultural preferences for colour (whereas Facebook uses colours that are accepted by mainstream western culture).
  • Reputation: MySpace has a reputation for being badass, not helped by the furore over 'predators' and the like*. If you wanna be a badass, you use MySpace. This point is sublty different to boyd's; she makes the point that there are teens who use MySpace because they are already somehow different; my point is now that MySpace has this reputation, and will attract some kids because of it.
* boyd comments on this, too. I know what she is saying, that it is extremely unlikely that your kid will be one of the rare ones who is a target as a result of his or her MySpace use, and that there are other more realistic situations to watch out for. Fair enough. However, I can also understand the panic, because if it is your kid who gets attacked by a MySpace predator, well, all the reassurances in the world that it was unlikely aren't going to make you feel better.

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