Case Study: MySpace
MySpace is one of the most popular social networking sites and is also based heavily on user interaction. As a profile article by the BBC notes, MySpace is “a site that enables anyone to build their own homepage for free, listing their likes, dislikes, favorite bands, top books, best movies, general interests, relationship status etc, and then hook-up with other like-minded folk.” MySpace, though not as organized or streamlined as Facebook, encourages interactivity among its users with a few features:
Customizable Homepages: MySpace’s homepages are entirely customizable, so that users can interact directly and define their own pages to look and feel exactly as they wish. This is the most radical extension of user personalization and customization.
MySpace Friends: MySpace users, like Facebook users, often “friend” one another, expressing some commonality in interests or a desire to remain in touch. This friending encourages users to communicate with one another online, often through comments.
Comments / MySpace IM: MySpace users can comment on one another’s profile or blog entries as a means for staying in touch. The privacy level of profiles and their comments can be set by the user, similar to the “Wall” in Facebook. MySpace features a built-in instant messaging (IM) system known as MySpace IM for its users to use as well.
Blog Entries: MySpace pages can feature built-in blogs, which are themselves a popular form of generating interaction among users. Users can blog about anything in their lives and others can comment on it, sparking conversation and interaction.
List of MySpace services on the MySpace home page:
Little content on MySpace is created by the site maintainers. Rather, like most social networking sites, it seeks to tap into the interaction between users. By facilitating this interaction and by providing a common space for individuals and, often, bands to share their thoughts or music, MySpace has become a popular website and a hub of activity and interaction online.
Screenshot of the MySpace.com home page from March 2008