August 1, 2006
MySpace and YouTube Expanding Rapidly

User-controlled technology has been the talk of the summer across the Internet and especially here on our blog. The headliners have been YouTube, which has shown us the way to a lot of interesting fan-generated content as evidenced here and here, and MySpace, which I wrote about earlier this week becuase of the Marines now using the site as a major marketing opportunity.

Now, these two cultural behemoths appear to be poised for war. YouTube, with its incredible growth over the past couple of years, is being challenged by a viable challenger for "number one Internet site," MySpace. MySpace has seen its audience burgeoning, tripling the number of individual viewers in week-to-week ratings on the week of July 17.

The battling grounds? Video distribution. While YouTube has been identified as the unquestioned king (or queen, being gender-equal) of video sharing online, despite the efforts of Google Video and others, MySpace has seen its video viewers spike from 2.9 million for the week of July 10 to 10.4 million for the week of July 17, according to Television Week's Daisy Whitney.

Does this mean that it's a battle for ultimate supremacy? No, as the focus of the two sites are different enough that they should be able to co-exist, but these types of numbers demonstrate how user-controlled conversation and creation is expanding through the opportunities provided by new technologies. As MySpace and YouTube become greater social phenomena, the ability of viewers and readers to talk back expands, as does the ability of producers to tell transmedia stories.

And the spike in MySpace's numbers does not indicate flagging numbers for YouTube, which is also continuing to grow. These numbers are demonstrating that people, above all, love the chance to have a voice and a chance to be a part of the creative process, whether that be through creating and sharing videos or their own Web pages and personas.