No this isn’t stating just the obvious, it’s stating something very important and perhaps profound in terms of how we perceive the Internet as an egalitarian place of knowledge and information. Yesterday Jim, in an uncanny bit of foreshadowing, was comparing Digg users versus MyBlogLog users and mused about Facebook and MySpace:
This makes me wonder if people go with one social network and stay with that network, not also belonging to other groups. Do people go with Facebook and not also go with MySpace? If you use one tool do you not always use a competitor tool? One thing for sure, with all of those visitors, if they had been My Blog Log members, that widget would have been smoking. Source: One By One Media ? The Digg Nation Not My Blog Log Community
Today, of course, Danah Boyd released her paper on Facebook and MySpace as societal analogues to much fanfare. I’ve skimmed over a lot of the reviews and analysis of the report, one of the benefits of writing late in the evening, and Mathew Ingram, Joey deVilla, and Tony Hung have some of the best discussion I’ve seen. Joey had the amazing benefit of hearing Danah discuss the report in person and the report is probably the best summation of Danah’s work. Tony Hung, however, points out the factor that will make many folks lose sleep…did this report just tank MySpace’s value?
Personally I’ve never liked MySpace, mainly because it’s UI and user interactive sucked. I couldn’t figure out if my profile was public or private. Facebook, reminds me of the social version of LinkedIn. Like LinkedIn is the corporate cocktail party and Facebook is like a geek meet-up at a pub. Business and networking is still going on, but the ties are loosened and some folks are wearing jeans. Having the benefit, for maybe the first time in my Web 2.0 career, of an anthropology degree, Danah’s report is fascinating and almost defers to Marshall McLuhan’s “The Medium is the Message” statement. MySpace is a nearly clean slate. You can do just about anything. Copy bits of code, trick out your space make it your own. Facebook is controlled. Sure you can “personalize” it, but within parameters.
Digg vs MyBlogLog … a similar comparison, but MyBlogLog is based more on connected spheres of influence compared to Digg which is a more insular community focused on a particular thing.
And none of this should be of any surprise to any of us. This is how society is. Don’t you think you will gravitate to the tools and online communities that both reflect your own personality and have your friends or people of similar tastes? The question is then, will these groups (de)evolve into online “tribes” that will wield their own influence and power? Something analogous to the worlds of William Gibson.
We’ll see won’t we. And I bet part of the fun of Blog World Expo will be watching some of these groups mingle a bit.