Thoughts regarding Myspace, Facebook, and… Friendster?

Whilst I was listening in class regarding the comparisons between Myspace and Facebook, and the reasons for the eventual success for the latter, I was reminded of Friendster, a website myself, and many peers of my generation frequented. Both Friendster and Facebook exhibit similar qualities at that time (around 2008, Facebook already existed but wasn’t very popular yet (only in September 2009, did Facebook break-even). At that time, both sites offered an ease of access, a simplified interface suitable for the technological-dummies – basically targeting similar demographics, in comparison to Myspace whom *bla bla bla* (prof has already covered in class!)… In fact, in the year 2008, Friendster had a membership base of over 115 million registered users, exhibiting a continued growth in Asia…

Well – I am thinking – could the reason be the “openness” which professor was talking about? Did widgets exist back in 2009, which led to easy integration and the eventual mass migration over to Facebook?

Photo on 1-23-16 at 3.15 AM #2 Hmm.

One thought on “Thoughts regarding Myspace, Facebook, and… Friendster?

  1. Thank you, Zhong, for your valuable opinion!

    Although I have not been a fan of Friendster, in S. Korea we did have a story similar to Friendster: I Love school was a big hit in the late-1990s and early-2000s; then, in 2008, Cyworld reached fever-pitch (for a while more S. Koreans used Cyworld than Facebook);
    Orkut also was similar (and by 2008 was a “most-visited” website in India and Brazil). Similarly, Friendster in 2008 had the highest number of visitors in Asia, and when it relaunched as a social-gaming site in 2011 it reported having 115-million+ users, but it suspended service in mid-2015 …

    So we notice that 2008 was the tipping point for Facebook diffusion, which eventually disrupted all social media platforms which until then had been local-market leaders.

    While I do not claim extensive expertise on Friendster, I do believe the reason behind “Facebook success vs. Friendster failure” rests mainly in cultural factors. As I mentioned in class, Facebook started as a US-college culture, then easily and quickly penetrated the general population … Many reasons for this, one being that it originated in that iconic homeland of the collective mind: Harvard! Other reasons are that Facebook has become the benchmark standard of a widely-used social media platform providing general users the combination of “easiness, simplicity, openness, and connectedness (or sense of being connected) to the global network.” Another directly-relevant indication that Facebook itself has become the “community norm based on the global standard” is that EACH and EVERY member of OUR class has his/her own Facebook account!

    Yet, network effect (e.g., Chinese population) + government policy (that bans Western social media, and claims that otherwise the Internet would be simply another form of American hegemony) has been canceling Facebook diffusion in China, Russia, etc …

    In sum, many concepts/theories we covered in class explain the Facebook dominance in local markets and why and how it deepens. Think, for instance: Network effect/ bandwagon effect; cultural imperialism (Western media/content tends to look superior to Eastern media/content, e.g., Hollywood); diffusion innovation; open API (Yes! Facebook leveraged on openness – many people easily could migrate to Facebook via their Gmail accounts…); ubiquitous mobile technology; etc … Since 2007/2008, all these factors widened Facebook’s user population into older/more general/more global sectors, right?

    Any other thoughts or comments?

    Here – via cyworld’s own logos – is an appropriate image-summary of the above theme:

    Like

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