Will Facebook suffer the same fate as MySpace?

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In 2004, when I was in my second semester of eighth grade, MySpace was the “it” place to go online. In fact, for the most part, the only reason teens went online was to update their MySpace pictures, accept friend requests, design their profile layout and message MySpace friends. It came to a point where my parents would only allow me to check my MySpace for a restricted amount of time. MySpace was popular for at least another few years. It was in 2007, my Junior year of high school that I heard of and signed up for Facebook. I then became a Facebook junkie and dropped my love for MySpace.

Facebook, which was initially exclusive to universities, soon expanded to high schools, and eventually to anyone with a valid email address, has now become the top dog in social media. Facebook has now exceeded MySpace by 400 million users. People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook. The average user creates 90 pieces of content each month in those minutes; that’s 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each month.

I just assumed that because I grew out of MySpace that everyone else did too. In many ways, many people did. With the rise in viruses, other malfunctions, and sexual predators, many MySpace users called it quits and moved on to Facebook. However, MySpace is still growing; but less in numbers of users and more with its music scene. MySpace Music is the world’s most popular music site and the number three music network in the category. Millions of musicians and over 70 million music fans use MySpace to sample, discover, and share music. Each week, MySpace adds 500 new artists, and premieres 25 new albums to MySpace users. Gaming is also very popular on MySpace. In a single day, over 1.6 million users spend 18 million minutes playing over 19,000 games and applications on MySpace.

It is clear that Facebook dominates when it comes to sharing photos, staying in touch with friends, status updates, sharing links and videos, blog posts and other online social activities. However, MySpace has not been left behind in the digital Stone Age. It has just evolved from a once active social networking site to a more heavily based music networking site.

But does Facebook have the same fate as MySpace? Could Facebook turn from a once thriving social networking site to a site riddled with viruses and sexual predators, only used to play Farmville and take quizzes on which Disney Princess you are most like? I think it all depends on the trust users have in Facebook. From a social networking standpoint, if people start to feel that their privacy is being compromised, then they will move on like many have from MySpace. Do you trust Facebook?

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Lauren Pelkey is a contributing columnist to Socialnomics helping to give a Generation Y and Z perspective on digital trends.

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6 responses to “Will Facebook suffer the same fate as MySpace?

  1. I think it boils down to 2 things. Firstly, will it still remain fun and interesting. Even the greatest ideas get tired unless they are continously refreshed. The other is trust. If people don’t trust Facebook and what it chooses to do with their data, then the game is over.

  2. No, I dont trust facebook and yes, I would leave the network as soon as my main peers would move, for any reason. No binding with the network here at all. Also the time spent on it is less then 30min a week, so I won’t be the most common facebook user I suppose ;).

    To ‘Lauren Pelkey’; nice read!

  3. Our real life is about personas. We are careful what we show to different people – friends, lovers, enemies, collegeues. FB is crap at persona, and their whole mindset seems to be about wishing them away.

    The Facebook killer will feature personas and will huristically learn what yours are and share accordingly.

    The math (and hence computational overhead) is complex though – it’s based the number of subnetworks within a network, which is a Reed’s Law 2^n issue rather than the usual, easy Metcalf’s Law, n^2 issue (plug 20 into those and see the difference).

    FB COULD do this, in theory, but I suspect that by the time it’s doable computationally, they will stuck with their legacy and thus be like MS when the Internet hit. Slow to change. And in Social, there is only room for one big player at a time.

    FWIW we tried to build a persona based social network back in 2001. We quit when we realised how difficult (expensive) it would be. But it is doable, and someone will do it, or at least a good enough approxmation.

    MySpace was the Lycos of Social, FB is the Altavista and someone, soon, will create the Google.

  4. You write well Lauren, easy to read, lovely, gentle and brilliant to hear from your generation.

    You made a great point about the privacy at the end and I hope you can follow this up with more thoughts as things unfold in the coming months. I know there is a lot of talk about privacy issues with regards to the integrated mail thing, but there are also concerns with the new advanced search function too.
    It seems to be poking about asking for information before it lets people search and some people are refusing to use it.

    Look forward to hearing more from you.

    Kay in UK

  5. Nice read.

    I am an ex MySpace employee in the UK and like the argument you have brought up here. 3 years ago, nobidy would have thought MySpace would go from the dominate force in the market to losing over half of its users within a year. So history could repeat itself with Facebook….However, i cannot se it happening.

    One of the reasons MySpace suffered was actually nothing to do with the product, more internal problems. Facebook has the luxury of being its own boss therefore (& one of the most important assets it has) it can make changes, updates and be flexible a lot quicker than most “corporate” companies. In the world of technology, thats key to survive.

    I could go on and on but i wont lol

    Great post

  6. “if people start to feel that their privacy is being compromised”

    They don’t now!? 😉

    Nobody stays on top forever.

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