Some of the key takeaways on Danah Boyd's paper on Friendster vs. MySpace:
- Relationships meant something in Friendster, but were loose and somewhat meaningless in MySpace. "Friends" aren't really your friends in MySpace; it's merely an acknowledgement you exist. So there were really no barriers between circles of friends in MySpace. Friendster had these barriers, which limited the organic growth -- people would get there and have no one to look at. On MySpace you can lok around without having registered.
- It's so much about the RULES. MySpace didn't stop the users that hacked the system to create interesting profiles. Rather they evolved with users while Friendster became more restrictive. Templates aren't personalization. MySpace better capitalized on the need for individuals to develop their online persona, to be anything they wanted. Friendster painted users into corners.
- Friendster saw themselves as a dating site, while MySpace knew there was more to an online community than dating.
- Friendster's web site was painfully slow during its growth phrase, which alienated many users. God knows I tried 4-6 times throughout 2003 to check out Friendster, and I just couldn't.
- The path through MySpace is wide open, with all sorts of treasures around every corner and interesting nooks and crannies, plus the way to "remember" your path (friends list). It's people surfing, whereas Friendster is much more limited to just those within your offline list of friends. MySpace is 10 miles wide and 10 miles deep, and the searching sucks.
- I love this quote "The primary value right now has to do with identity production and sharing". This is what I think social networkers really like -- to them the Web is a fantasy world, they're no one and anyone at the same time. There is no privacy in the offline world, it only exists online.