i think we all know where i stand on myspace right? so it’s only fitting that i was an early adopter to the new social networking upstart bebo. after an initial honeymoon period of thinking that bebo was simply the bees knees i’m now becoming more aware of it’s weaknesses as well as it’s strengths. and as for myspace? well, they have been making some forrays in the right direction and it would be churlish of me not to accept it’s place on the web. it is an incredible force in self-promotion and marketing and has a virtual stranglehold on the music industry online.
so, myspace or bebo – let the battle commence…
aimed very squarely at the younger of the younger generation it is really only intended as a means of connecting with people you allready know than of meeting new people (and will frequently remind you of this when you add new friends)
so, not so much a social networking site as a .. social .. site.
also has a rather gratingly conversational tone (“sign in Automagically for 2 weeks”) but then as a wordpress user (“howdy, marilyn’s shampoo”) i’m used to that.
typical user profile
lower end of teens. female. chavvy.
this is a 100% bona fide, copied and pasted, queen’s english mangling profile blurb:
hey lol wel im sylvi n i go ta grey hi!! im 13 n i liv n KUMARA!! yep i no haha iv got lotza gr8 m8eez dat i wuv lotz! i luuuv plaen netbal n swmn @ tha gud old race wif zeena valee aubyn n rubez! umm…. i hav a big bruva, jake n datz bowt al i can fink ov ta ryt haha um if uya no mee pleez ad me az a fwend coz i accidently deletd ma old bebo so i pwobly wont have ya az a fwend yet lolz wel fanx 4 luukn @ mi gr8 bebo!! xXx
they are also big on this rediculous font that looks halfway between greek and elvish. and is completely impenitrable.
кєєρ ιт яєαℓ αη∂ тнαтš α ρяσмιšє! ι мαу вє α вιт¢н вυт αт ℓєαšт ι`м нσηєšт! šσмє šαу ι`м α вιт¢н ; ωєℓℓ уєαн ι мαу вє вυт ι ∂ση`т яємємвєя αšкιηğ αηу σƒ уσυ нσєš тσ ℓιкє мє! ωнєη ι ωαℓк ву уσυ нαтєяš šтσρ η šтαяє! .. ωєℓℓ кєєρ σи ℓσσкιηğ ¢υz ι ∂ση`т ƒυ¢кιη ¢αяє!! ι ğσт му σωη ℓιƒє αη∂ му σωи šтуℓє! ι αιη`т тяуιη тσ ρℓєαšє уσυ σя мαкє уσυ šмιℓє!! уσυ нσєš ωαηηα нαтє . кησ¢к уσυяšєℓƒ συт вυт му ηαмє αιη`т “∂ι¢к” ; šσ кєєρ ιт συттα уσυя мσυтн =)
really good. no downtime or errors for me yet and pages seem to load and scroll smoothly even when stuffed full of pointless widgets.
has a nice ‘changes’ home pages which shows you all the new stuff added by your friends (customisable as to which items it shows) allowing you to see when people have updated without having to visit each page. the downside to this feature is that if you either
a) accept friend requests from strangers with names like
(¸,·´ (¸＊★~〃sExy BEEatch~★〃~´`)
or b) have friends who are twats
your changes page will become so rammed full of their nonsense that it will be rendered pointless.
i discovered this the hard way when i started making free skins for bebo. it’s great to be apreciated but 25 ‘lub yr skinz’ comments a day plus all the boob shots you can handle does not a happy marilyn make.
i now have two profiles and have to admit that it was almost worth it just for the cleansing feeling of performing the friend cull on my first profile.
very good. users can create their own skins very easily with a combination of minimal image editing and even more minimal css. this is tutorialised nicely on the site and is a very straightforward and hassle-free process to follow. users can then keep these skins for sole use or can submit them for other users to use for free. adding a free skin from within bebo is wonderfuly simple. you click on the skin, are shown a live preview and are asked if you want to use it or not. hey presto! like shooting fish in a barell.
not quite wordpress, but it doesn’t need to be.
decent if you are a graphic designer as you can exploit the skins-frenzy, not so hot otherwise. bebo has made a lot of noise about aiming services at authors and musicians but a combination of a pretty poor search functions and a surprising lack of googleability cripple it as a promotional tool. bebo can, for the moment, only really work as another arm of a promotional venture rather than as your sole site.
lots of widgets, gizmos and whoosits if that’s your bag. of particular note though is a rather nice feature that ties up with youtube offering an intuitive way to post videos to your page.
the up/down side of the widgetness is that you are not allowed to embedd anything anywhere else in your page (no images or videos in blog posts for example)
in one way this is shoddy but it does also prevent the site from decending into a craptastic hellpit of user embedded nonsense.
the only major geek bugbear i have with bebo is it’s unfathomable lack of hyperlink support.
currently you can only add links in this
format rather than with a tidy text hperlink.
and even more annoyingly they often truncate them to this sort of thing
giving you pretty much the worst of both worlds.
not quite of youtube level, but i can easily loose a good few hours on bebo.
i’m not entirely sure it has one anymore, one of the first social networking sites to go truley global it does definately encourage the networking bit. reach out and make friends and all that. bit of a hodge podge though with no clear ‘authorial’ tone.
typical user profile
upper teens/20’s. female. goff.
the tits-out brigade are definately making a bid for top place but i think the emo/sceamo kids still have them beat.
Ok push me and shave me give me black and blue bruisus, but in the end ur the 1 who loses. I am mistaken 4 I am being Forsaken. Comfusions,illusion is behind ever door 5,6,7,8 there for i will suffocate 9,10 I will ever speak again. I’ll shall cry 2 show my emotions and leave behind my oceans. I know why you watch me fall becasue i’m nothing at all, but thats not true i haven’t given you a clue. I’ll cast a spell were you shall fall to hell. You ran away when I needed you the most,show u a littie sign of my fright……do u know what just get out of my sight. For my soul is bind and no one can find. lying down in my bed like a lifeless doll with no worries, no cares, nothing at all……………………..?
there are a lot of good bands and artists on myspace too though, you just have to hunt them down.
slow, painful and error-filled.
so good you can join the petition…
hell to look at. hell to design for. just hellish, really.
i could go on about this at legnth but… i allready have.
this is where myspace really excells. the combination of popularity, google ranking and the ability to send bulletins makes myspace one of the worlds most important promotional tools. lord knows, it’s the only reason i have one.
for bands it is simply essential – no ifs no buts.
the importance of the ‘myspace effect’ is even being felt in as major areas as online retail. traffic analysts hitwise recently reported that myspace accounted for 2.53% of what hitwise calls “upstream visits” to shopping sites in the U.S.
“upstream” visits are when a user clicks on something leading from one site to another, like reading a myspace user’s profile that mentions a site or a product and then visiting that product’s own site.
i think the search funtionality needs overhauled (i always google) but other than that this is the key myspace strength area.
um… you can make a photo slideshow…
joking apart myspace have been increasing their extras recently most notably with a very slick multi-folder photo album within which you can now arrange the order of the pictures.
i get in and out as quickly as i can.
AND THE WINNER IS…
for me, it’s bebo.
it depends what you want out of a social networking site and i can’t knock the sheer reach of myspace but it’s just still too malformed for it be anything other than a necesarry evil in my life. i do get the feeling that tom and friends are starting to listen to the complaints though as there have been notable improvements in myspace over the last few month and i can’t help hoping that in a year or so it will be a much better place to be. it just seems to be taking baby steps to get there.
allthough there are things that irritate me about bebo so far i am finding it fun, quick, easy and fairly addictive to use.
hmmm, i wonder if facebook is any good…?