June 16, 2009 at 9:20 pm Leave a comment

This just in from Mashable, via the New York Times: MySpace is slashing 30% of its staff, bringing it to a total of 1,000 U.S. employees (Facebook has 850).

Which brings up the already much-asked question: Is MySpace peaking? (Or … has MySpace peaked?)

From a nonprofit and advocacy perspective, I’ve found that MySpace just isn’t as useful as Facebook. During a session at the recent Computers, Freedom and Privacy Conference in DC, many commented that what make those Facebook newsfeeds so pesky and annoying  – the applications and widgets – are precisely what make the platform useful for organizing and advocacy. (The benefits of organizing events, house parties, Causes, etc. seemed to outweigh the main drawback of Facebook: nonprofit group and fan pages cannot “friend” other users, but have to attract users to their pages).

Sure, MySpace has begun developing widgets, but it always seems to be one or more steps behind Facebook. When operating in a campaign environment, when actions need to be taken and the word needs to be spread fast, organizations like mine can’t afford to wait for MySpace to catch up.

I’ve also become disenchanted with MySpace because of the overall chaos of profile layouts. I’ve tried to “embrace the chaos,” but I still find myself gritting my teeth when I see profiles with slews of flashing .gifs, fonts and the like. “I can’t seem to get handle on myspace ugliness,” as Beth Kanter writes in her blog.

Care2 did a study of nonprofit MySpace profiles, including determining whether it was a platform for potential donors. The authors found that:

Overall, however, numbers work out to be about three cents per friend from groups with donation badges, with the median being less than a penny and the mode being $0.00. This means you’re most likely to see less than a penny per friend of monetary value directly from your MySpace profile.

So, not so encouraging on the money side.

(Care2 did bring up an interesting point I hadn’t thought of before – MySpace’s “chaos” also presents an opportunity to brand your organization. )

From a personal standpoint, my organization’s Facebook page is much easier to manage, and is ahead of MySpace in the number of followers. Part of this is because it’s easier to integrate already published content on blogs and other Web pages directly into the Facebook platform, eliminating the need to drastically rework the content. I think another part is simply because my organization is still trying to find its niche in MySpace – where do we fit among all the students, artists, musicians, and vast array of other profiles? Our niche in Facebook is much more concrete.

What are your experiences with MySpace? Do you prefer it over Facebook, or the other way around?

For more resources on MySpace best practices for nonprofits, check these out:


Entry filed under: Advocacy, Non-profit technology. Tags: , , , , , , .

Social media quote of the day A long overdue update on the Real World DC house

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