Prior to heading to MW2007, I sat down with some of the WACTAC teens to discuss Myspace, Facebook and social networking in general. I thought I had a good handle on things (since I have, in fact, used Myspace). I figured a talk with the experts would fill in any gaps I was missing.
Much of what I learned is interwoven in the notes I prepared for our workshop at MW2007. Here are some of the highlights, according to WACTAC:
- Myspace is old news
- Facebook is where all the cool kids are
- Some kids don’t even use email these days, sticking to myspace or facebook
- Kids consume a lot of media, therefore use a lot of media
- When multiple people add content to social accounts for institutions, let people know who’s doing the update
- Don’t use a different account for different departments
- Make groups and encourage people to join
- Make use of bulletins and notes
- Keep things up to date, nothing is worse than an out of date profile or events
The big thing that I took away from our chat was that it seems that Facebook is becoming the favorite among more technically savvy users. It seems due to the more refined design and permissions system that it enforces. So all the web designers who hate myspace because it is ugly can rejoice; smart users are shying away. Facebook is also more strict about who can create and hold an account. I heard from some people at MW2007 that their attempts to create a “person” for their institution were rebuffed, and they were forced to create a group instead. While that doesn’t fit with the paradigm that has happened within other social Web 2.0 applications, it does seem to be one that is more sustainable for users in the long run.
Please note that this is a rough cut and basically unedited. I am adhering to the “quick and dirty” principles we discussed in our workshop. A big thanks to the teens that participated in the discussion:
- Willy Schwartz
- Basanti Miller
- Mark Severson
- Ricardo Ortiz-Vasquez
Also thanks to Witt Siasoco and Megan Leafblad for setting the discussion up.