The Battle of the Social Networking Stars

A recent edition of AdWeek lists Facebook as “what’s in” in social networking, leaving MySpace in the “what’s out” category. As the two sites work against one another to win over everyone from tweens to senior citizens, the questions remain, which site will prosper and how is it winning over its users?

In the beginning (2005), Facebook (FB) was an elitist’s paradise, available only to Ivy League students. Shortly thereafter, it opened up to all colleges. Now it remains to be seen if the networking site can retain its credibility and sense of security since opening registration to all ages.

I make no pretense about my own stance. I’m Katie, and I’m a Facebook-aholic. But I wasn’t always this way. I started out on the pages of MySpace and, being generally opposed to change, I resisted the Facebook movement as long as I could. But alas, it won me over. I still have the MySpace account – it’s there somewhere, doing not much of anything. However, in an effort to make this post as collectively unbiased as possible, I welcomed comments from a small group of people holding accounts on both networking sites.

Generally speaking, it seems FB is often deemed better because, unlike MySpace, it has a convenient News Feed and Recently Updated Friends lists that allow you to know the exact moment someone updates his or her profile (e.g. “Katie Delach has joined the group ‘David Ortiz is a God'” – and if that’s not useful information, I don’t know what is).

On the other hand, MySpace is generally considered the social networking hotspot for local bands and artists, and has been a useful tool for musicians to garner a fan base and launch their careers. Often though, MySpace users are frustrated by the growing presence of spam and people with strange requests. Exciting people like “Candy” (wink, wink) frequently want to meet you and there are always tons of single people in your area, just waiting for you to meet them, if only you’ll add them as a friend.

Though both sites rely heavily on classifieds and advertisements, FB inserts the ads in a more subtle and tasteful manner, whereas MySpace incorporates loud, trashy banners plastered all over the page. Aside from the ads, FB is less visually confusing. Though some may say that FB stifles the creativity that is encouraged by MySpace, FB’s standardized look provides a clean, attractive interface, unlike the clutter of MySpace backgrounds. It’s downright scary to look at people’s MySpace profiles sometimes. Clicking on a profile and being immediately blasted with the music, flashing lights, videos and busy wallpapers that suddenly pop up is simply overstimulating. Some of the FB faithful are taking a stance again the recent explosion of optional FB applications that are being added to personal profiles at a feverish pace. They see applications like daily horoscopes, fortune cookies, personal graffiti walls and the SuperPoke (my personal favorite), as a potential downfall of the site, causing profiles to become chaotic and ugly.

Every networking Web site has a life cycle. People eventually get bored with the old one and move on to what’s new and hot. And so, the battle wages on between Facebook and MySpace, while new competitors like Tribe Networks, Hi5 and Piczo begin to emerge. In this, the great war of online social networking, on which side do you fall? Are you a Facebook-aholic like me? If so, write me a message, poke me, or friend me because, as we all know, Facebook is the true mirror of our lives.


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  1. Hey Katharine,
    Nice blog-piece. I hope you’re doing fine up in MA.

    Me 🙂

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