ThreeSixty Journalism: MySpace vs. Facebook

THREESIXTY JOURNALISM

Social networking sites have become more than just something fun to do in one’s spare time, but a necessity for teens everywhere. Two of these sites stand out in particular: MySpace and Facebook. These two sites, and the differences between them, have become a hot topic at among teenagers. The ultimate question is: Which one is more popular, MySpace or Facebook?

When asked which teens preferred, some said MySpace and some said Facebook, but everyone asked was very firm about their answer, like they had made their mind up a long time ago.

“I like Facebook better because your image doesn’t matter as much and therefore people aren’t so fake. On MySpace, people post 20,000 pictures and stupid bulletins. I hate bulletins,” said Holly Corporaal, 15, a sophomore at Park Senior High School in Cottage Grove.

“I definitely prefer Facebook. It’s more grown-up and networking, more sophisticated, more freedom, and not for little kids, and I like the profile design,” said Paul Slack, 16, a junior at Robbinsdale Cooper High School.

There are also those who prefer MySpace over Facebook. “I like MySpace because I like how you can have layouts and songs, so I like the look a lot better, and I think it’s easier than Facebook. And also on Facebook, I don’t like how it tells everyone what you say on somebody else’s page,” said Haley Brown, 16, a sophomore at Park, referring to Facebook’s News Feed.

It is still up for debate, but the majority of people talked to agree on one thing: Facebook has been increasing in popularity.

“I think Facebook is more popular. Everyone I know does Facebook now, the first and second generation of MySpace are now gravitating to Facebook because it’s more mature. Eventually, in about two to five years, there will be a complete cultural flip to Facebook, because that is what the older crowd is doing, so the younger kids will follow, and it will remain that way until the next best thing comes around,” Paul said.

According to visitor tracking figures from tracking site comScore Inc., Facebook had been slowly catching up to MySpace in number of unique visitors – matching the number of MySpace’s visitors in April 2008 – and has been steadily widening the gap even further since then. A September comScore Inc. graph showed that Facebook surpassed MySpace in the number of unique visitors. Facebook saw about 150 million unique visitors that month, while MySpace maintained its 100 million unique visitors.

So what’s the big difference between MySpace and Facebook anyway? They are both social networking sites that have many of the same features. But they do differ in the way they are organized, and some features that they both provide are used avidly on one and ignored on the other.

“Facebook is just cleaner. Otherwise there isn’t really a difference because they both have apps and whatever,” said Lauren Li, 16, a sophomore at Burnsville Senior High School.

One major way they differ from each other how they are set up in terms of privacy. “On Facebook, your information is more accessible by everyone, and everyone has similar profiles. On MySpace, it is more secret and you can say and do whatever you want,” said Kyle Gross, 15, a sophomore at Park Senior High School.

Sheri Li, 14, a ninth grader at Lake Junior High, puts it this way: “Facebook has a ton more applications, while MySpace is more of a blog.”

Some groups of people are more likely to use one site than the other. There is a distinct age difference between the two.

“Facebook is more for older kids, sophomores and up. MySpace appeals more to younger kids, freshmen and under,” Paul said.

“I used to think Facebook was just for older (people), like college students,” Haley said.

It is obvious that social networking sites are a big part of most teens’ everyday lives. MySpace and Facebook are both still extremely popular but it looks like Facebook is growing in popularity.

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