Facebook and Twitter on the rise as MySpace goes extinct
While browsing updates on Twitter today, I came across a link for this article about Myspace losing it’s grip as the dominant social media outlet. One particluar statement that caught my eye was, “MySpace suffered a drop in visitor traffic last month and is now less than half the size of its younger rival, Facebook.”
The article continued to say:
MySpace’s loss of status as the cool place to be is an object lesson in the notoriously fickle internet, where today’s cultural icon is tomorrow’s passing fad. From humble origins in 2003, the site led the so-called “Web 2.0” revolution in which users could create their own profile pages and share content with friends. Murdoch’s purchase of MySpace for $580m was seen as a masterstroke as membership continued to soar, with celebrities and politicians joining the craze.
But then came Facebook, founded by Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg, which soon snowballed with an older and apparently more affluent demographic to steal MySpace’s crown. Gradually newspaper coverage of social networks switched from references to “MySpace and Facebook” to “Facebook and MySpace”. The rise of Bebo also undermined MySpace’s dominance, while Twitter is among the latest novelties eating into users’ attention spans.
I think it’s pretty telling that I found a link to an article about the decline of Myspace through Twitter.
I got to thinking about it and I completely agree that Myspace is a thing of the past. Aside from the web interface itself, even their iPhone app seems clunky and cluttered. The most professional and well-designed Myspace profiles aren’t sleek or streamlined and sometimes profiles can take several minutes to load. It can also be extremely annoying to click on someone’s profile only to be bombarded with an annoying song. Most of us browse the internet at work and when your computer starts blaring “Womanizer” at full volume, it’s a dead give away that you’re screwing around instead of staying on the grind. Facebook’s clean design and the absence of annoying add-ons just seems more organized than the Wild West-style free-for-all that is Myspace.
I don’t think Twitter and Facebook are really in competition with each other because they seem to serve very different functions. Facebook has profiles: pictures, favorite movies and music, quizzes, detailed school or work info, and a collection of friends and acquaintances. Despite the recent (and widely despised) Facebook redesign, which was clearly Twitter-inspired, I feel like Facebook is still valuable as a database for the collection of a person’s online presence. The photo feature, in particular, serves as a good example of the kind of thing that Facebook offers that makes it so much more than just a collection of status updates.
Twitter offers the unique experience of online “conversation” in short 140 character bursts. It never takes a zillion years to load a page and doesn’t overload you with information. It offers one function, status updates, which create an environment where people can talk to each other. I’ve always described it as a combination of a message board and a text message because it’s about public dialogue between two or more people and has a heavy emphasis on mobile integration. This makes it fun, easy and addictive. You can tweet from anywhere and knowing that you can do it sometimes makes you want to do it all the time. The sparse and immediate nature of Twitter, combined with the growing market for Twitter apps, puts it in a different category.
The rapid rise in these new outlets leads me to believe that they’re not just a passing fad. After all, many of us have been using Facebook for years since way back when it was only available to students. We’ve watched (and often protested) the modifications to the user interface, additional features and apps, and changes to the Terms of Service. We’ve watched Facebook grow from fledgling network to gigantic condor as MySpace seemed to go extinct like a social media pterodactyl.