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June 22, 2008

MySpace Versus Facebook: Where are the Highschool/College Students Going?

UPDATE: See response from 23 year old blogger/writer Vanessa Van Petten  below...

Andrew Chen from the blog "Futuristic Play" posted with an international analysis of the traffic and ad revenue of MySpace versus Facebook.  The summary had an interesting conclusion: "MySpace leads in the major market (the US) but is losing ground overseas".  That post lead to a discussion on Techmeme, with blogs like GigaOm who added "....Social Networks need to find new purposes for people to come back every day and be loyal."

I can't comment on the international market, but I can comment on the US. I like to use my "completely unscientific" analysis which is just talking with random people to see which social network they use. While some college students are sick of what is out there - which relates to GigaOm's point that social networks need to find new purposes - the overall trend is online social networking becoming the "default stop" for all college students. A neighbor of mine, who has a son entering college next fall, said his son joined the college's Facebook network and has already found a local gal to go on a few dates, a roomate and friends.  College students are using Facebook events, applications, groups and even Facebook pages (good purposes for people to come back). When I ask the teens, they mention both MySpace and Facebook, but say that many are "leaving" MySpace for Facebook. When I asked why - they just said because Facebook is "cool". The Facebook terms of use allow teens starting at 13 years or older to create profiles, but they must be in highschool. MySpace's terms of use specify 14 years or older, without the educational requirements. The educational requirement has turned into an advantage for Facebook, highschool and college students I talk to joined to be part of their school's groups/network.

Therefore (said in a research voice) my completely unscientific finding was that Facebook is "cool". My prediction is that as long as Facebook remains "cool" their US market share will grow..... Add to that the growing population of moms joining Facebook - NOT to friend their kids - but to develop their own social networks. If moms are more familiar with a social networking application, they will be more open to their (highschool age and older) kids using it. Even though kids have the right to sign up on their own when they reach the eligibility age, it is still up the parents to make sure they have a strong foundation in internet safety and privacy. This will help kids have the right start in what will be the first step in a future of online networking.

Related links:

UPDATE: Vanessa of "You're Grounded" gave a great comment about her thoughts on MySpace Versus Facebook:

I am 23 and find that there are a few commonalities for us:

1- Music lovers tend to be on MySpace more, they might also have a Facebook, but they like MySpace to discover and friend underground bands.

2- We do not like the creepy aspects of MySpace. There are so many people not split up by networks, you get creepy people messaging you and looking at your profile more often than Facebook.

3- Facebook has a more web 2.0 interface which we appreciate.

I also work with teens on staying safe in technology and find their preferences are similar.

thanks!
Vanessa
teen author of You're Grounded!

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this is a really big issues even for us!

I am 23 and find that there are a few commonalities for us:

1- Music lovers tend to be on MySpace more, they might also have a Facebook, but they like MySpace to discover and friend underground bands.

2- We do not like the creepy aspects of MySpace. There are so many people not split up by networks, you get creepy people messaging you and looking at your profile more often than Facebook.

3- Facebook has a more web 2.0 interface which we appreciate.

I also work with teens on staying safe in technology and find their preferences are similar.

thanks!
Vanessa
teen author of You're Grounded!

I'm 15 and I have had a facebook for over a year now, and I'm deleting it in the near future. Facebook is really getting boring, and most of my friends are inactive on it.

Also myspace allows a lot more customization, and more people comment on your stuff there.

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