There seems to be a misconception about Facebook and Myspace floating around that has people thinking these two sites are virtually the same thing. Although there are a few similarities, these sites look and function completely differently. It is imperative that anyone looking to utilize these tools be aware of these distinctions.
So what are they? Here are the basics:
• The look and feel of both sites is different: Myspace profiles are all unique and users can incorporate many colors, personal photos and flash applications to their page. In contrast, Facebook profiles are clean and uniform.
• Each site attracts distinct personalities and age groups: Facebook was originally only offered for college students and although they have since then opened it up to the public, the average person on this site is currently in college or a recent college grad. Overall Facebook attracts both an educated and younger audience. In fact, the average age of Facebook users is 23. Myspace ,on the other hand, is popular with both the high school crowd and the over 40 crowd and has an average user age of 35.
• Behavior varies on each site as well: On Myspace it is more socially acceptable to friend request or message random people. On Facebook that almost never happens and it is considered border-line offensive. Your Facebook friends are usually people you actually know.
Once you have figured out all of this basic stuff you can start to familiarize yourself with the really important difference — functionality. Both sites have different applications and abilities that make them unique and the more you know about these, the better you can think creatively about how to apply them to your client or business.
Myspace’s three unique functions are the bulletin board, blog posts and music applications. The first, the bulletin board, allows users to post a message which all of their friends will see upon login. Because of it’s visibility on the homepage, it is a quick and easy way to grab the attention of all of your friends at once. The second, the blog area, appears on each profile and allows users to make blog posts without actually hosting a blog. And finally, Myspace’s most effective function is the ability to add music to your profile. This is a great way for musicians to get people to hear, share and download their music. It’s one of Myspace’s strengths and why the social network has become so famous for discovering bands and talent.
Then there are Facebook applications, a phenomenon that has taken a life of its own ever since their introduction two years ago. Facebook now has approximately one million applications that Myspace does not. (That may be a slight exaggeration, but truthfully, there is a whole bunch of them). Since it would be impossible to include them all I have listed my favorites below. Please feel free to comment me if you think of any fabulous ones I have left out:
• Events: Create event profiles and invite your friends.
• Where you’ve been: Map where you can show everyone where in the world you have been to
• Bumper stickers: Funny “flair” passed back and forth between friends.
• Sports fan: Box that shows your favorite team and their upcoming games
• Harry Potter Spells: Cast spells back and forth on your friends
• Books you’ve read: Pictures of the books you have recently read and/or are reading
• Graffiti Wall: An application where you can draw a picture on someone else’s wall.
• Drink application: give drinks to your friends.
• Twitter: Have your twitter updates show up on your f-book profile.
• Facebook Chat: Very similar to instant messenger this app allows you to chat with any of your friends currently logged in to Facebook.
And the list goes on and on. On Facebook there is an application for pretty much anything you could possibly think of and even more ways to use these apps to your advantage.
It takes a little playing around to discover which application and which site appeals to your audience. It takes even more time to discover how to use those applications to improve your relationships. You’ll see that some applications can be used to share info, while others would be best can be utilized to show your brand’s humor or personality. It’s all up to you. But the key is to be aware of what tools you have and to recognize that these sites are more than just a profile with your picture and some basic info. In the end the more you know about them, the better you can use them.