MySpace is the most popular “networking” sites, specially among young people. Networking sites basically allow you to create a page about yourself (your “profile”), and specifiy who else you know by linking in some way to their profile.
The principle behind MySpace, as explained in Boyd’s Friendster loses steam: Is MySpace just a fad? article is interesting for all designers of social software: MySpace engages its users, encourages tinkering, enables them to hack the site, learn new tricks, not necessarily cushioning them in high-usability, enables users to BuildIdentity? by being able to construct a personal artefact.
I think the main thing that has contributed to MySpace’s success is the 2M factor: Music and Murdoch.
Music is a powerful force that brings people together. By giving bands a simple way to create their own page and promote their users, MySpace tapped into already existing communities of fans.
Murdoch owns News Corporation (who own Fox Media Interactive, who own MySpace) one of the worlds biggest media empires. Having one of the worlds biggest media corporations regularly promote a site makes a big difference. Lots of people that use MySpace have never even heard of Social Networking sites, but understand what you mean when you say, “you know, like MySpace”. – JosefDaviesCoates
Let’s just collect some basic observations… Add a point and sign your name, discuss, hypothesize, etc. in a separate section.
I’m interested in comparing it with openBC. That one’s pretty popular right now among professionals. I find it totally boring, too. The motivation is to network in order to earn money.
In MySpace, you network because it is fun, and you make friends. Bonds on a human level, not on the economic level. I have the nagging suspicion that MySpace wins out in the end. That includes the economic sphere.
openBC reserves functionality for paying members. Some of that is really basic. For example, I added my company to my profile, and clicked on it. This returned a list of eight other people working in the company. The names were hidden, and it seemed impossible to visit their profile as a non-paying member.
This is plain aggravating.
The obvious focus on work-related profiles also makes some choices difficult: Should I mention free software? Should I mention my blog? At first I did not mention my day job, but then people including clients started finding my profile via coworkers and wondering whether I even worked for my employer. This is why I decided to put my work information there and remove all my personal stuff.
And with that, my profile appropriately degenerated into a boring business card. No fun at all.
I wrote some more on Geschäftsbeziehungen via openBC in German.
Alex; You’ve brought it up so much, I figured we should finally have a space for it.
I had a thought: Perhaps you are interested in making OddMuse more “Myspace-like friendly?”
Per-page CSS? Making it easy to have section boxes? Have you been thinking about this sort of thing?
I’m imagining SunirShah’s reaction to wiki pages with per-page MIDI music. “This is not wiki! Ward’s Wiki was never like this!”
It seems to me that replicating the basic mechanisms of MySpace would be fruitless – why a replica? The principle behind it all, as far as I can tell from Boyd’s “Friendster loses steam: Is MySpace just a fad?” article, however, seem more interesting. Assuming we want to engage our users, encourage tinkering, enable them to hack the wiki, learn new tricks, not necessarily cushion them in high-usability, build identity by being able to construct a personal artefact (a page, a set of pages, a wiki namespace): Would Oddmuse cut it? I think it could. We already have lots of extensions that can be used to surprising effects (eg. the Oddmuse:Long Table Markup Extension), there’s per-namespace user-editable CSS, and a founder or maintainer can easily add more text formatting rules. It would work. Per-page or per-div CSS might be interesting in such a context.
Other than that, I don’t think there’s anything I could do as maintainer of Oddmuse. As founder of Oddwiki, however, there might be more opportunities. I’m not sure I want to take Oddwiki there, however.
Yeah, I’m not talking about a replica. I’m talking about an “inspired by.” I don’t know. I’m just making up ideas.
There’s an emotion feeling to MySpace, and it strikes me that it could work in wiki, too.
I’m exploring an idea, not making any particular recommendations.
For us, here, we’re fine with what we have. I’m just streaming out rainbow fireworks.
Yeah, hang on, I need to go buy some hairspray first.
We could do Emo.
Seriously, though: I perceive a tension point here.
I actually believe there’s something super-powerful going on here.
What it is, I haven’t quite pieced together yet. But I’m staring at it.
There’s something about living far larger than life, and the semiotic life of the mind.
I think it’s entirely plausible that, within 50 years, we will actually see high-tech vigilantes.
I try to tell myself it’s rediculous, because that’s the normative assumption, but: There’s no two ways about it. My reason tells me it’s got to happen.
Our present existence is unsustainable, given the dreams in our heads, and our technical capabilities. Or, the technical capabilities we are soon to have.
There’s a state of consciousness you get into at the movies. It’s very particular, and quite magical.
The WikiWay is but one way of doing it. Given that nobody uses MySpace to write a manual or discuss a particular topic, the WikiWay seems to be totally inappropriate for MySpace users, in fact. If you want to network, make friends – ties that bind! – then you need to have fun, let people express themselves, even in silly and obnoxious ways. MySpace is all about what we call OffTopic: Relationships, personality, color, hobbies, friends, and foes.
(perhaps a FuturesWiki? would be a better place to discuss this trend)
“my profile … degenerated into a boring business card”
That’s too bad. My own website is on the brink of suffering the same fate.
But somehow it feels wrong to pull friendly, wacky, fun, amateur stuff off the internet, and leave behind only (a) serious, boring, business-like stuff, and (b) slickly-produced marketing campaigns that insist that people can’t do anything for themselves, they must send in their money and let the professionals at company X do it for them.
“… high-tech vigilantes …”
In the last couple of centuries, individual humans have gained more and more physical power.
Once it took a dozen or so soldiers and a ram to smash through a castle gate.
Now a single teenager in a subcompact car has more than enough power to smash through an identical castle gate.
Once it took centuries to build a cathedral. Now roughly the same number of people (?) – using modern construction equipment – can build a cathedral in a couple of years.
Already we are seeing individual people doing things that remind me of things I have seen in the superhero comics. For example, Waffle Woman, Homayoon Kazerooni, professor of mechanical engineering at UC Berkeley, performance artist Stelarc, Prof. Sankai of Cyberdyne Inc., and test engineer Bruce Crapuchettes.
Well, OK, so technically only Angle-grinder Man is an actual vigilante.
Alex, I was responding to Lion’s “I’m imagining SunirShah’s reaction to wiki pages with per-page MIDI music.” and not to the idea of wikifying MySpace. Has anyone seen TheDailyShow? episode segment TrendSpotting? - on social networking sites, it was fab.
I saw it; It was awesome.
WikiWay be damned; I want to see the wiki that supports MIDI!
What’d be even cooler, if you could lay out MIDI tracks with some WikiSyntax musical notation.
It would be nice to read some rough summary what MySpace is supposed to be (for these people, who stumble upon this on this page for the first time). It seems to be a FOAF-Site with some special features ?
Interesting – somebody must be trying to exploit the system. I’m getting a friend request every few minutes, now. All very good looking young ladies. Some of them too young, in fact. When you look at the girls’ pages, you’ll note that they have an overlay covering their entire page, linking to some other site – probably spam, or malware, or something.