The birth of Web 2.0, a second-generation of Internet-based services, offer users a variety of web based services. Social networking sites, wikis, and communication tools, let people collaborate and share information online in previously unavailable ways (Baumann). The number of “social utility” websites that allow users to create personal profiles, and join, or create social networks have increased in recent history. Hundreds of these social networking websites such as hi5.com, Blogger.com, and Classmates.com have experienced success since they started. The most popular by far, based on the number of user, has been Myspace.com (Myspace) and Facebook.com (Facebook); they are just a few of many Web 2.0 websites that are considered social networking utilities, but are far the most widely used. They both have millions of registered users and are similar in the services they offer. However, they are also different; from the number of features offered to the type of user they attract. In this essay I will discuss both websites in detail and compare them based on their features, layout and design, ease of use and the number and type of users they attract.
Myspace is home to over 2.2 million bands, 8,000 comedians, thousands of filmmakers, and over 100 millions members; on a typical day, it signs up 230,000 new users (Sellers). Myspace describes itself as, “a social networking service that allows Members to create unique personal profiles online in order to find and communicate with old and new friends” (“About Us – Myspace.com”). A contributing factor to Myspace’s success is that fact that site visitors do not need to have an account or be logged in order to use sites features. Similarly, Facebook like Myspace is also a “Social utility” in that it connects users with the people around them. Users of Facebook can use its services to share information with people in their networks and see what’s going on with their friends. Facebook is also made up of many networks: individual schools, companies, and regions (“Facebook | welcome to Facebook!”). Facebook is different than Myspace in that in order to become a member, users must be validated through a school, work or regional network. Moreover, Facebook is more exclusive than Myspace and claims to be the home of over 9.3 million users and signs up 20,000 new members a day (Kornblum). Users also must have an account and login in order to use any site features or services.
Facebook and Myspace offer their users a variety of dynamic and easy to use features, content, and services. Myspace offers an interactive, user-submitted network of friends, personal profiles, blogs, groups, photos, music, internal search engine, internal e-mail system and videos. It recently added an instant messaging application called MyspaceIM, which allows users to instant message their Myspace friends any time and allows users to find and view friends’ profiles with one click. It also provides a one-click login to mail and bulletins and provides instant alerts for all requests, messages, and comments. Myspace’s content is constantly updated and new features are gradually added and made available to all users. Similarly, Facebook also offers users personal profiles, blogs, groups, photos, internal search engine, an internal e-mail system. Facebook like Myspace allows user to join or create networks. Facebook is the number one site for photos, ahead of public sites such as Flickr, “with 2.3 million photos uploaded daily” (“Facebook | Inside Facebook Engineering!”). However, Facebook does not offer music or video content. Facebook content is mainly provided and update by its users.
Facebook and Myspace hit the mark on website layout and design and on ease of use. Myspace’s blue theme is pleasing to the eye. The home page is not too flashy or busy, see figure 3, and the websites content changes every time you refresh the page or visit the site. Myspace’s navigational elements is displayed in the blue and white logo banner at the top of every web page; you will find a search engine here which rounds out Myspace’s navigational element. Site visitors do not need to log in or have an account in order to use Myspace; however, registered users have access to extra features and content that is not accessible otherwise. Advertisements are strategically placed on every page, top, right and left of web pages, except for the home page, but are not annoying or disruptive. Similarly, Facebook exhibits a very appealing look and feel, see figure 4; the blue and grey theme Facebook chose invites the user to explore and provides a sense of professionalism and tranquility. Facebook content is robust due to user contributions. However, the main difference between Myspace and Facebook is that users must log in before they can use any of the sites features. Once logged in, the user interface provides a clean and easy to use environment. Similarly to Myspace, Facebook also displays a search engine at the top of every web page, but the main navigational element is placed vertically on the left side of every page instead of the top. This gives the user a sense of control and direction. The site is fuss free and easy to use along with its navigational elements. Facebook site design and visual layout is more cleaner and succinct than Myspace’s layout.
The creation of second generation of internet based services, known as Web 2.0, has provided people with the means to share information online in new and innovative ways. Myspace and Facebook are far the most popular of these internet based services known as “Social utilities.” They both exhibit an appealing look and feel and provide a place where millions of users can keep in touch with friends, colleagues, and family. Myspace and Facebook are alike in the services and features they offer, but are different in the types of features and the manner they offer them. As these two sites grow they will continue to offer features and services that will attract users.
“About Us – Myspace.com.” Myspace.com. October 21, 2006
Baumann, Michael. “Caught in the Web 2.0.” Information Today 23.8 (2006): 38-38. Academic Search Premier. Ebsco. Union County College Libraries, Cranford, NJ. 21 October 2006.
“Facebook | welcome to Facebook!” Facebook.com. October 21, 2006
“Facebook | Inside Facebook Engineering!” Facebook.com. October 21, 2006
Kornblum, Janet. “Facebook will soon be available to everyone.” USA Today 12 SEP. 2006. Academic Search Premier. Ebsco. Union County College Libraries, Cranford, NJ. 21 October 2006.
Sellers, Patricia. “Myspace Cowboys.” Fortune 154.5 (2006): 66-74. Academic Search Premier. Ebsco. Union County College Libraries, Cranford, NJ. 20 October 2006.