Archive for September, 2007

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FaceBook vs mySpace

25 September, 2007

Reading today about the battle (so called) for the social network space. Will it be facebook, will mySpace? Will it be both of them, one or the other? Does it really matter?

In my discussions with GenC a couple of consistent themes come up:

  • we go where our network is
  • we prefer to message people through the social network application
  • we want to say what we want to say
  • we like ‘playing’ with who we are

So a couple of thoughts on this. If my classic GenC (17, female) is on mySpace; yet my classic GenX (44, female) is on FaceBook, why is it? Our GenC likes to say she lives on Christmas Island (even if all her friends live in Sydney’s inner west); she likes to say she is 99 (but doing her high school leaving certificate); she likes to be friends with Pink (who has has met) and Tom (who is friends with everyone) and lots of people she doesn’t know; she knows her mySpace is vivid and loud and her mother would hate it – but it’s all about HER – ok?

And my GenX – she only really wants to talk to people she knows, or who come recommended, but who she is pretty sure are real; she is more interested in seeing what other people are doing than in making statement about herself (loves the news feed); she doesn’t mind playing, but sees FaceBook as a bit of a time waster and is starting to get to the point where updating it is difficult and tedious (FaceBook Fatigue).

Maybe the biggest difference is two fold – where their community is; and where their sense of self is – internally focussed or externally. In reality, does it matter? Some of us are comfortable in more than one place and we might never chose one network over the other.

But then again – if home is where the heart is, social networks will end up being where the network is. I’d be interested to see the possibly different networks we keep or develop on these different sites – do they reflect different elements about who we are and how we connect?

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Email is a Window-Face Envelope

13 September, 2007

First – no excuses for the silence, but sometimes work gets in the way of a good idea!

I was recently at a session on social networking with a couple of school kids who were talking about how they communicate with each other and with their networks.

On the whole, their preferred manner is through the network application (mySpace in their case) – notably if they knew their friends were online *now*. If not through the SocNet, then their next preferences were Instant Messenger or SMS (text). In fact, they commented that they used IM and SMS for private conversations; SMS for speed; and the SocNet for the public comments (more on this later).

They don’t like email.

Yes, in fact they really don’t like email.

Why not? Well, the only who they need to talk to who aren’t on either their network or their IM buddy list are clearly not friends. They are parents, teachers, supervisors – authority figures of some kind, with whom they communicate through the ‘legacy’ communication systems of their elders choice. Email.

Remember the days of snail mail? Hand written or even machine addressed envelopes were fine, looked forward to, exciting. But when a window-faced envelope arrived, well, that meant the bank or the lawyer or, more likely, some bill for something. You dealt with window-faced envelopes reluctantly, as a necessity. This was authority encroaching on something that should be fun.

And that’s how GenC sees email. Just like a window-faced envelope…..

Makes you wonder if long term, this might have an impact on how FaceBook sends out alerts. While email suits those tied to their inbox, if I live on IM and SMS, the alerts are going to dead air. Only when I join the workforce and my inbox rules my day, will those little alerts become a have instead of more hell.