MySpace vs. Facebook

MySpace, for those not in the know, is a social networking website where people can create their own profiles. In these profiles, you can add friends, reveal personal information, blog, join groups, add pictures, and much more. Its rival in this web-linked society is Facebook.

First things first. What's in a name? The name Facebook originates from literal paper facebooks, introducing college students — with pictures! — to their new campus community. MySpace, however, has an obvious connotation. It references the network's ultimate goal: to provide one with the ability to create and personalize what was once dead space into your space. In a few short years, MySpace has become the pinnacle of social networking.

On Facebook everything is divided into smaller networks. For example, if you're a student or employee at the University of Memphis, you can view people who are in that network. But let's say you know someone from Rhodes College and want to look at his profile before sending an "add friend" message — sorry, reader, you can't. Facebook is a sequestered community, while MySpace is open to anyone. This format allows people to interact with others from around the world with similar interests. For me, that's what social networking is all about.

MySpace is further enhanced by the diversity of tools it offers. On Facebook, you are given a set template and are only allowed to alter the copy you've displayed. On MySpace, you can add color, modify fonts, change the layout, place imagery, etc. You name it, and you can do it.

As a designer, I find it crucial to manipulate my environment. On MySpace, not only can I change the view of my little home on the web, but I can also tickle my eardrums with the latest from, say, Hootie and the Blowfish or whatever jingle fits my mood.

A final friendly fact: Face-book connects users only to people they already know. MySpace, on the other hand, allows us to blog our thoughts not only to friends but to the casual viewer as well. It lets us meet new people, and — still most importantly — make it our space.

— Christopher M. Myers

There are three things in life of utmost importance to me: (1) Good, clean, functional design. (2) Never having to wait. For anything. Ever. (3) Appearing classier and more presentable than I really am.

These core values are why I've allowed Facebook to become my friend. It meets my standards.

Unlike MySpace, Facebook designers actually have a sense of information hierarchy. The options more frequented or valued by users show more dominantly. For instance, I can update my profile, check new messages and notifications, and stalk recently updated friends with incredible ease. The layout, simply put, makes sense.

MySpace's layout, on the other hand, is so cluttered and nonsensical it could induce a seizure. Also the search engine is seriously sub par, making it all too difficult to locate that long-lost classmate. A social networking site is pointless if you can't find anyone.

More kudos to Facebook for understanding that too much user control can be dangerous. That's why it doesn't offer the user option of profile customization. The uniformity allows people's pages to load quickly and consistently. Sure, you can argue that aspect of Facebook limits adequate self-expression. Honestly, though, people who express themselves through tiled Star Wars backgrounds that take 35 minutes to load and destroy all readability and taste principles — well, I wouldn't want to be their friend anyway. Plus, I don't have 35 minutes to waste. I could be grooming my cat or meeting my neighbors.

Consider it this way. MySpace is whom you secretly date and Facebook is whom you bring home to mom, become engaged to, and eventually marry. In fact, my mom has met Facebook, and she likes what she sees. She's even initiated a side relationship and is now an avid user. (Sorry you had to find out this way, Dad.) Overall, Facebook is more presentable than MySpace. Its image is cleaner, with a more functional design and prompt responses to your commands. You really don't get any surprises with Facebook. It's classy and reliable, just like my future husband . . .

— Hannah Johnson

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