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Facebook vs. MySpace: Who Does What Better? is a slideshow presentation made on October 17th of 2006 for COMM 121 class at Ferris State University. The objective of it was to determine which was the better social media site in 2006; based on accessibility and customizability, along with other factors. To add flair to the presentation in class, the slides in PowerPoint were decorated to make it look like a Freddy vs. Jason parody. Facebook was played by Freddy, whereas MySpace was played by Jason.

ContentEdit

Skinning: Why Do It?Edit

The first content slide established the presentation's overall fascination with the skinning options available to either site, and the justification behind anyone wanting to customize a site. For starters, skinning allows users to show off their individual tastes in a more unique manner. It argues that default styles "are boring." Another justification for skinning is that learning to customize appearance on the site helps educate users on practical applications of UI tools.

Customizing Facebook required the Greasemonkey add-on, which used a JavaScript tool to pull off the skinning procedure. This gave users a reason to want to play with JavaScript for those purposes. MySpace allowed customization by letting users tamper with the CSS, much the way that Tumblr does as of 2012.

Skinning FacebookEdit

Facebook skinning through direct JavaScript manipulation is not allowed, so the page showed users how to implement the Auto-Colorizer plugin for Greasemonkey to allow the page to be customized at someone's local client. The local client approach means only the individual sees any customization, as opposed to everyone. It worked by taking the Facebook user's profile picture, and developing a color scheme based on the most predominant hexidecimal color values in said image.

Skinning MySpaceEdit

This slide went over the CSS customization options for MySpace at the time, making a special point of emphasizing MySpace's insistence on forcing manual customizers to resort to substandard coding protocols. While the hash tag "#" is required in most CSS to make a hexidecimal color value render properly, MySpace at the time caused all hashed hex colors to render as black. Therefore, all hex colors had to be written without the hash. MySpace at the time was also idealized for 1024x768 screen resolution. Whereas Facebook banned CSS modifications, MySpace banned JavaScript.

Features Unique to EitherEdit

The Facebook newsfeed and mini-feed features of 2005-2007 were thought by some to be a privacy concern.[1] A lot of this had to do with limited support at the time for filtering who could and could not view which stories in an individual's newsfeed. Essentially, anything someone posted could be viewed by anyone in their friends list at any time. There was no such thing as saying that only a particular circle of friends was allowed to see posts pertaining to a particular type. Poking was another topic of much controversy, as there is a lot of ambiguity about whether or not poking is meant to be casual or sexual in its nature.[2]

MySpace differentiated itself from Facebook's formula by not limiting itself to college students. Facebook would soon learn from that model, and would open its doors to the world. Another way MySpace made itself different was to be very friendly to music, unlike the very silent Facebook. At one point, MySpace even went so far as to allow YouTube videos to be embedded. However, when Rupert Murdoch of NewsCorp purchased MySpace, he tried to stop that practice altogether in order to force his inferior video system to be adopted. This especially came on the heels of news that Google had purchased YouTube in 2006.[3]

Target AudiencesEdit

FacebookEdit

From the very beginning, Facebook and MySpace had very different ideas on how to attract an audience. And in spite considerable overlap, the different targets were clear. Facebook in its original, pure form was for one college and one college only. It became a database for all colleges about a year later in 2004. By late 2006, they decided to add high schools to the list. Many college "purists" were sharply offended that "these whiny little high school brats" would pollute the stream. When Facebook opened to the world in 2007, the bottom dropped out for the purists.

Facebook users tended to be lower-to-medium middle class; and delighted in the indulgences of college and in posting photos on Facebook along those lines. Little did they understand how employers would start using this as a tool for discrimination. Those trying to use Facebook for professional promotion were often met with scorn for doing so. The arrival of LinkedIn came as a huge source of relief for those seeking professional social networking. The one-size-fits-all approach to styling on Facebook helped further ensure that Facebook's mentality at the time was one of conformity, rather than of flaunting one's personality through style sheets.

MySpaceEdit

From the get-go, MySpace had a totally different attitude. Conformity was for clowns, it thought. Flaunt your personality all you want! Just don't use proper code. And no JavaScript!!! Those who could figure out a way to stylize a page and make it look somewhat professional as well were rewarded with having their peers cheer them on. However, MySpace also became a sewer for the very low-low class to lurk. Also, fears of "stalking" turned out to be more justified on MySpace than on Facebook. While Facebook had a set age demographic for users stating that you had to be in high school or above and prove it, MySpace was open to anyone aged 14 or older. Full privileges were installed for anyone 16 or over.

EfficienciesEdit

This slide went into the actual practical application performance metrics for Facebook and MySpace in 2006, as they were having a format war for who would dominate the social media market. MySpace won hands-down in the department of encouraging users to learn about CSS. It also won in terms of encouraging individuals to show off what they could do, and in finding good music to sample. MySpace also had the option to give its users blogs, complete with blog formatting. Users of BlogThings.com could import their results more efficiently. With the work you put into your MySpace page, you felt like you were more rewarded with your end result. MySpace also tended to be slightly more cross-browser compatible than Facebook.

However, Facebook was more efficient for flagging down classmates and adding them. If you needed quick feedback on something, Facebook was infinitely more reliable. In Internet Explorer, Facebook loaded considerably faster. Facebook groups had always been more efficient than MySpace groups, often garnering far greater numbers. Privacy settings in Facebook could also be tweaked more easily. There were far more limitations one what one could list as their religious affiliations on MySpace. Facebook allowed users to explain better. Facebook also made it easier to see what friends were up to, courtesy of the newsfeed. It was also easier on Facebook to write wall messages that someone would actually care to read. Date seekers also trusted Facebook more than MySpace for dating purposes. (This was before Plenty of Fish took off.) Because of this, the slideshow rules that Facebook was winning the format war by one point. "Don't rule out a rematch" was printed at the bottom of this slide, as a way of tying in the slide's content to commentaries on Freddy vs. Jason. Facebook winning was compared to Freddy winning.

OwnershipsEdit

Facebook continued to pounce MySpace after the great matchup, as it was able to boast remaining privately-owned in 2006. (A fact that would change by late 2007-2009.) MySpace, by contrast, was purchased by NewsCorp.

It was debated at the time which would win out; but the answer became pretty clear by 2010. MySpace had always been mismanaged and under-valued by NewsCorp. Far from adopting it lovingly, Murdoch's company treated it like the bastard child in the family. It was only through a retool that MySpace was able to survive at all. Meanwhile, Facebook continued to grow and grow. Eventually, it would receive some new competition: in the form of Google+ and Tumblr. Tumblr would go on to not only crush Google+, but to also draw attention away from Twitter, it's biggest competitor in the microblogging market.

In ConclusionEdit

As the slideshow put it:

Facebook is better for quick, on-hands keeping-in-touch amongst college and high school students who were once together, and have gone separate ways or will so soon. Classmates can communicate in a way that lends them extra privacy.

MySpace is much better for serving as a self-advertisement to the world, and if used responsibly, could be considered an extension to a résumé. Friends can be friends even without the need to be affiliated with a .edu extension in their e-mail addresses.

ReceptionEdit

The speech that went along with this PowerPoint was poorly received in class, largely due to the sheer and massive concentration of subject matter to discuss. It was claimed that the Dozerfleet founder was a better PowerPoint designer than an actual speaker, and the contents were barely discussed within time limits. The teacher in particular enjoyed it the least, both for creative and technical reasons. She didn't care for the use of Freddy and Jason as metaphors for the social media giants. She also got lost when talk of CSS and "#" symbols was brought up, arguing it was "way too technical" for most of the class (meaning, herself) to understand.

Classmates also found the Freddy and Jason metaphor distracting, rather than helpful. The grade was not entirely terrible though; as it was very clear to the instructor that a lot of effort was put into this presentation.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Jones, Harvey and Soltren, Jose Hiram. “Facebook: Threats to Privacy.” December 14th, 2005.
  2. University of Denver.
  3. Carlo. “So That’s Why MySpace Blocked YouTube.” TechDirt.com. January 10, 2006. 7:35 AM.

See alsoEdit

  FerrisGoldFlame Ferris State and Dozerfleet: Paper Assignments  

2006

Spring 2007

Fall 2007

2008

2009

2010

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