Social networking sites are changing the way we interact with our peers. The National School Board Association and Grunwald Associates LLC released a recent study about how "teens and tweens are creating content and connections online." They reported that 96% of students with Internet access use social networking technologies.
While it may seem that Social Networking Sites (SNS) seem to be vulnerable to the next new site, we can't deny that MySpace and Facebook.com are here to stay.
What are the characteristics of a good SNS? What are some of the key differences between them? How are the good sites holding the interest of its users?
I thought the best way to answer these questions was to create profiles for three popular sites, Friendster, Facebook and MySpace. I wrote a mock user profile from the position that I was the actual site I was writing the profile for.
About Me: I was the original Social Networking Site (SNS). I have lots of technical problems as can be expected with a pioneer. All of my friends are searchable through google.
Occupation: Computer Scientist
Favorite Books: Inspirational
Favorite Music: Top40, Oldies
Friendster is one of the original social networking sites. MySpace really took hold of the population that was originally using Friendster. One reason may have been that information about Friendster's users was made publicly available online. In addition MySpace became more popular because it allowed its users to upload music.
About Me: I am really popular. College students love me.
Favorite Movies: Animal House
Favorite Books: The Wealth of Social Networks by Yochi Benkler
Favorite Quote: "You are beautiful. But no offense, he, he is the king. You are having pie and coffee with a living legend."-Old School
Facebook has doubled its users to 26million between September 2006 and May 2007. It was first popular among college students in the US when Facebook required you to have an email from an institution in its network. It later was available to high school students and now you can use any email address to join. Some of the key features are the ability to "poke" your friends, give gifts, and add video to your home page.
About Me: I'm creative. Check out the new look and format to my page!! J Check out the SouljaBoy video. I just posted-totally hot!
Music: Amy Winehouse, Peter Bjorn and John, Beirut, Athlete, Feist, Sigur ROs, Willy Mason
Movies: Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Me and You and Everyone We Know, Lost in Translation, Empire Records, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Quote: "Art is anything you can get away with" -Andy Warhol
Cool Song dude! Check out this band: _________
Friends: Tom Anderson
Who I'd like to meet: People with interesting profiles.
MySpace has over 200 million accounts as of September 2007. Many of its original users were originally on Friendster. Its users range in age but when Facebook required its users to be in college high school students were active users on MySpace. A key feature of MySpace is that allows musicians to upload up to four songs on their profile pages and the site allows users to change the appearance and layout of their profile page.
The point of this exercise was to better understand these social networking sites. We can't deny the popularity these sites are having. It isn't simply a fad. These sites transcend time and space, educational backgrounds, culture and language. Anyone with an email address can join and connect to other people.
We seem to be at the beginning of an era-where not only MySpace and Facebook will continue to reign, but also where new sites will allow us to have more game-like experiences. New SNS such as Cyworld and XuQa make social networking more game-like. Hopefully, we will see sites that also mimic a key characteristic of games such as being able to create multiple identities through one account.
Other sites abroad such as Bebo, Faceparty, and hi5 may become more popular in the US as more Facebook and MySpace users make more connections abroad through gaming or by meeting in various spaces on the Internet. I'll be tracking the innovative trends that emerge among these sites.