Sunday, February 22, 2009

How facebook kicked myspace's ass, and other tidbits

Myspace used to be cool. It was customizable, so the need to create your own personal web page to put up your bio, resume, personal pics of you and the family, and your trunk novel, was over. It could all be put on myspace, for free.

You could connect to old friends and new, never having open the possibility of losing touch with someone because of a change in email. If your best friend in kindergarten kept up with their myspace page, you had a permanent connection to him or her.

Myspace kicked facebook’s ass in terms of popularity, too. Facebook was cryptic, hard to use and not self explanatory like myspace. Besides, everyone you knew was on myspace. There was no need to maintain TWO social networking sites. Many had accounts with both, but ignored facebook. Facebook eventually gained some ground with college kids wanting to separate themselves from high school students. I’m of the opinion that college kids only liked facebook because it was college trendy. I wouldn’t be surprised if the marketing department at facebook paid –er, donated, to college departments to promote facebook, maybe even requiring that students set up a facebook account. Mind you, I fear being sued so I’m definitely not making this allegation. I’m merely saying I wouldn’t be surprised if this make-believe story were true.

Myspace was riding the superior-in-every-way wave, much like Microsoft did before the internet became popular. Then came the media reports. Pedophiles were using myspace to find children to have sex with. I never actually heard of someone having sex with a child as a result of myspace, but there were loads of law enforcement officials saying that they caught many a child molester having accounts online and having children on their friends list. Suddenly, it became quite unpopular for adults to have myspace pages. It was obvious that myspace was fighting that stigma by featuring comedians, novelists, musicians and other artists on their pages. They had some success at keeping their popularity, for awhile, and it grew as a marketing tool for celebs promoting their next project.

What did it in for myspace, you ask? The fricken Mob Wars bullshit application. Before anyone starts accusing, I’ve earned the right to call it bullshit after becoming a number one capo with billions in the bank and owning more beach front casinos than the U.S. actually has of coastal real estate. Every surf and turf restaurant, surf board and bikini retail shop, and sail boat rental store in the country would have to close down to make room for my 5 star casino, but what do I care, I’m the “gahdfahduh”. I’ll kill ‘em all, it’s just business.

In the mob wars and mafia apps, you grew strength and could only win battles by having a larger family. People addicted to the game had no choice but to make friends with complete and total strangers. I found this requirement super odd; myspace was now encouraging kids to make friends with potential child pee-pee lickers. To use the appropriate internet lingo, WTF? Myspace converted itself from being a social networking site, to being a gaming site and in the process, opening the pedophile portal. They pulled it off it quick, too. Suddenly, what was supposed to be friend’s bulletins was nothing but inundated notes by complete strangers bragging about their new condo being built, or their plea that you join their mob. Join as you like, but that didn’t stop the flood of bulletins. Now, I’m not keeping up with friends, not finding out that the kid I shared my Oreos with in elementary school’s favorite bar drink is some weird Goldschlager and Peach Schnapps concoction. All I see when I log in is whiney pleas for me to join their crew. Something I’m pretty sure isn’t done in the real life cosanostra (I say that with authority too, I’ve seen the Godfather trilogy dozens of times).

Personally, after realizing the monotony of the game, I removed the app, and deleted the 200+ friends I’d had purely for the sake of the game. But even then, my regular friends seemed to stop posting bulletins and blogs, and the only proof I saw that they still actively visited their myspace page was their “please join my mob” bulletins.

So now, facebook is the big boy on the block. As a nerd, I see a war coming. Not a conventional war, mind you, nor one involving a gangster app that lets you virtually chop your coworker into bits with a machete. A war of the social networking sites. I’m reminded a lot of the instant messaging “wars”. First, there was ICQ, followed by AIM, then Yahoo joined in, and eventually, Johnny-come-lately, also known as Microsoft. Some downloaded and used all instant messaging software, but some got fed up and stopped using them altogether (Dad!). Then the consolidating software arrived, that let you use them all through one interface. None ruled supreme. Right now, there’s myspace, facebook, yahoo360, tagged, twitter, yearbook, plaxo, and others. Microsoft will have one out soon, no doubt.

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