When I first saw Michael Arrington’s post at TechCrunch titled “MySpace v. Facebook: ‘It’s Not A Decision. It’s an IQ Test’” my first thought was, “Well duh.” When I read it, though, it turns out that he was talking about 3rd party people chosing a network to target. The choice would be between MySpace with its massive user base but unfriendly tactics, or Facebook with its smaller user base and open API which allows developers to keep any revenue they make. If you’re a developer, this is a pretty simple decision. Facebook is much more friendly towards 3rd parties, and they have an incredible “stickiness,” which refers to how often users are there.
The quote, though, extends to beyond just developers. I think it works for the users too. To give an example, my friend said something along these lines a couple years ago.
I had to join MySpace to be with my friends from high school since you had to go
to college to get on Facebook.
This was, of course, before Facebook opened up to anyone. Even still, though, the type of person that gets on Facebook just seems to be different. I think that this is largely based on Facebook’s origins, but I also think it has to do with the way they’ve made their site. Facebook is a clean, well designed, stable site. It doesn’t experience horrible loading speeds, downtimes, or the abilty to have 5 videos load on a page at the same time. The appeal of Facebook is the more intelligent design that went into its creation. The better interface appeals to a more sophisticated crowd. Look at car commercials for an analogy. Kia commercials are loud, flashy, and generally incite homicidial thoughts in me. By contrast, a Lexus commercial is quiet, simple, and makes you feel relaxed. Same concept here. The class of people that get on Facebook are just a different breed than the MySpace crowd.