MySpace – Stay N Alive

Where is Your Audience?

Google+ is all the rage right now. For those that can get in, it’s all they can talk about on Google+. For those that can’t get in, it’s all they can talk about outside of Google+. Or so it seems – that’s what the people I follow and pay attention are doing. It doesn’t mean that’s what the people in your network are doing, and in fact, there are many people out there that don’t even know what Google+ is at the moment – I would predict that’s the majority right now.

Google+ is all about “Circles”. We all have different types of “Circles” of friends. Each of these “Circles” is a different audience and each of them probably talks about different types of things. I have an entire circle of hundreds of LDS friends (I work for the LDS Church) on Google+, and their conversations are much different than the Circle I have of Tech bloggers and influencers. At the same time I have circles that aren’t even on Google+. My family, for instance, minus one or two, are all over on Facebook – that’s where I go to talk about family related stuff, and you’ll probably find a much more personal “me” over there. In fact, if that’s your audience, come see me over there.

At the same time, I have certain “circles” over on Twitter that don’t exist on Facebook or Google+ – for instance, I’ll hear a lot more about what my Twitter employee friends are up to over there. Or, on LinkedIn, I have “circles” of professional friends – if I ever want to hire, or have a professional-related question, you better bet I’ll go to LinkedIn for such. The way I met people like Robert Scoble and Chris Pirillo was on Friendfeed of all places.

Did you know that Myspace is still one of the most popular networks for kids age 13-18? Now, that’s quickly diminishing as kids move over to Facebook, but as a marketer, I’d consider going to Myspace if my audience is 13-18 year olds. That would be a major part of my business strategy.

The future of “Social Networks” aren’t social networks at all. The fact is, and Charlene Li at Altimeter Group has said this numerous times, social networks will “be like air” in the future. They will be integrated into everyday “circles” that you participate in.

For instance, at work many of use use Yammer to associate with other coworkers. It makes much more sense to participate on Yammer than Google+ if I’m to communicate with coworkers – there are many networks like this. The future will be full of these types of branded “circle” networks.

Imagine branded social networks for your company, or the ability to collaborate in a social way via your High School or College’s website with your classmates. You’ll never have to go to a site like Facebook or Google+ or Twitter to communicate with those closest to you, and they’ll all talk with each other. Or what if a site like or enabled families to communicate better with each other in a branded way, just for families? There would be no need to go to Facebook to communicate with family members any more.

As social networks are able to communicate better and better with each other, and more and more standards are built to federate the different circles you participate in, you won’t go to or Google+ or Twitter. You’ll go to the brands and the areas you’re most familiar with and your friends and family will “just be there”. Those are where your real “circles” are.

The fact is no social network is going to be a “Facebook killer” or “Twitter killer” or even “Myspace killer” (remember the stat I shared above?). If anything kills any of these it will be branded experiences that make it easier for you to communicate in the environments you’re most comfortable with. In the end, it’s about where your audience is, who you want to communicate with, and the best places to do that.

This will be different for every person out there – every individual, every professional, every family member, and every marketer. We all have different audiences and it’s up to you to decide which environments are the best places to reach those audiences.

Forget Facebook and MySpace – Wall Street Journal Shares Your Information Too

It seems like every other day Wall Street Journal is talking about some other Social Networking site that is revealing all your information to 3rd party advertisers.  First they talked about Facebook and the fact that their apps like Zynga’s Farmville are revealing personal data about users to advertisers.  Next, they created, then deleted, then re-created a MySpace story about the same thing that MySpace is doing for their users.  The thing is, this is a practice any site that collects your data is doing, and their Privacy Policies protect them from doing so (You do read the Privacy Policies of the sites you visit, right?  Neither do I).  In fact, even is doing this, despite their hypocritical claims of this being an issue for so many other sites.

In some criticism I offered on this very issue, the @wsj Twitter account responded, “@Jesse To partially answer your question, we disclosed the trackers on here:“.  Wait – what?  So WSJ is basically admitting to sharing your information with advertisers?  I’m not sure where they link to this on their site, but they do link to their Privacy Policy, which, in very vague terms hints at the same type of information.

According to’s own article, “Here is a summary of what information says it collects about users, what it does with the data, and how long it keeps it.”  Let’s start by going over, according to their site, what stores about you:

Information about you

According to WSJ, they do collect your browsing information, but all browsing and search data is kept anonymous.  However, they do collect “Files and Communications”.  I assume this means the comments you make and any profile data you store on their system.  Remember, WSJ is paywalled – that means they require your personally identifying information, just like Facebook, to identify who you are, collect your profile image, etc. and all that is stored on their servers.

Information volunteered by you

According to WSJ, assuming you enter it, they do store demographic and financial data about their users.  Facebook and MySpace also do this in various capacities, also optional (gender is required on Facebook though).  Keep in mind that in order to read a lot of the site, you have to have a paid account to do so, so I’m curious how many of their users all have provided their financial information to

What does this mean?

Sure, WSJ stores information about its users – so what?  That’s not the problem.  You store your information on Facebook and MySpace as well, but what is complaining about is the fact that Facebook and MySpace are allowing other services to share their users’ data with others.  The thing is, WSJ goes on to share that they do exactly the same thing:

How WSJ Manages your information

According to WSJ, they do allow outside trackers, aka advertisers, to collect your data – they do provide a link to opt out of some of those trackers (note the “some”).  Specifically, WSJ even quotes, “We may combine the information that we collect from you with information that you provide to us in connection with your use of other Dow Jones products, services and web sites, or information we collect from third parties.”  So, basically, WSJ is sharing your information with their partners as well, and, according to their Privacy Policy, those sites can also take that information and share with 3rd party sites.  In fact, they state that they don’t even disclose when they delete that data!

So how is this different than Facebook and MySpace?

The fact is, it’s not.  In fact, if anything is different it’s that has the ability, legally, to share even more information about its users with 3rd parties than Facebook is legally obligated to.  For some trackers WSJ even admits they don’t have an opt-out.  Per Facebook’s privacy policy, Facebook is bound by the privacy settings of each user.  The very minimum amount that Facebook can share, without your permission, is your name, your city, your gender, and the same for your friends – that’s all!  It should also be noted that Facebook wasn’t even explicitly allowing developers to share this data with 3rd party advertisers.  Most of the developers were just placing the Facebook IDs in their URLs in order to identify Facebook users, and advertisers were taking the referring URL to take this information, a common practice across the entire web (albeit not able to do much with it).

So why all the hype by WSJ?  Are they looking to get us all upset and riled up to generate clicks and views?  It certainly has gotten people talking to the point that even my local TV station contacted me for an interview about it.  The fact is, everyone does this, especially WSJ, and WSJ isn’t telling the entire story.  In fact, after this hoopla, Facebook actually pulled the accounts that were doing this, and has since put out a notice that they are working to now encrypt these ids, making them even more private in what they share with 3rd parties than WSJ itself!

I think WSJ owes Facebook an apology here.  They’re hiding behind their own ignorance and someone needs to be talking about this.

What do you think?  What other information is WSJ sharing that readers need to be aware of?

Horton’s Megaphone – The Competition for Discovery

There’s a lot of “Buzz” going around lately about Google Buzz being a Facebook or Myspace killer.  Jason Calacanis, Mahalo founder and lover of Tesla, goes to the extent of saying with Buzz, Facebook lost half its value.  Thomas Hawk, an amazing photographer and avid FriendFeed user, stated on FriendFeed that Google Buzz is going to “Kick MySpace’s A**”.  While I don’t doubt that Myspace is already having difficulties, I really don’t see Buzz being competition at all for the Facebooks or Myspaces or even Orkuts of this world.  It’s a matter of apples and oranges, or metaphorically speaking, just dust in an elephant’s trunk.

There’s a term I like to apply to the Twitter, Buzz, and FriendFeed phenomenas when compared to Facebook and Myspace and Orkut that I call, “Horton’s Megaphone”.  We all live in a personal world of friends, family, teachers, doctors, and pets.  That’s our reality.  We live in it from day to day and it is what we are most familiar with.  Yet, there’s another reality we all want to be a part of.  Without being heard we’re at risk of missing out on career opportunities, growing our businesses, or maybe even fame or fortune.  There’s a need beyond this current reality to get word about ourselves out to other realities beyond our inner circle of friends and family.  It’s a competition for discovery about who we are.

This is where Horton comes in.  In the Dr. Seuss book, “Horton Hears a Who!”, we see a completely different reality from our own, the “Whos”, whose entire reality exists in just a small speck of dust within our own.  They have mayors and doctors and family and friends and neighbors, and live a grand life.  But when tragedy strikes they are stuck trying to get an alternate reality to hear them.  Their final survival ends up relying on their voices, a megaphone, and an elephant named Horton who had the heart to listen.  “We are here! We are here! We are here!” they shouted in desperation through that megaphone, trying to get the attention of reality.  Sounds familiar.

Buzz is simply that megaphone used to create contact with the real world.  It’s a way we can get word out to alternate realities beyond our own to ensure our own survival as individuals, businesses, and organizations on the internet.  Buzz, Twitter, and FriendFeed are where your own realities get to speak with other realities you would have never come in contact with before they existed.

There is no way Facebook should feel even a little bit threatened by Buzz (unless they’re trying to grow FriendFeed).  They are two entirely different communication mediums.  On Facebook I don’t need a megaphone to communicate with my close friends and family, which it was designed for.  On Buzz I can’t find old friends from High School or even Elementary School, or old clubs or groups I used to belong to like I can on Facebook.  I don’t have groups or shared events or life photos of all those close friends and family.  Facebook is where real life happens.  It’s the Elephant, the real world, reality.  Some call it a “walled garden”.  I call it reality, where everybody knows your name.

Buzz is (and Twitter and FriendFeed are) just an entity of individuals, most which do not know each other and each having their own realities, all trying to compete for the attention of real life.  It’s a different type of communication.  On these platforms it’s a competition for attention (which is why everyone wants to compete for the highest number of followers).  On Facebook (and Myspace and Orkut to an extent) that competition is already won.

Facebook has the holy grail of networks right now – real life connections and relationships that are all able to connect and share with one another.  It is where each and everyone on Buzz wants to be.  The real value is in those real-life connections.  Otherwise we are all just specs of dust in an elephants trunk.

“We are here! We are here! We are here!”

Facebook is Not the Top Social Network in America, Yet

myspace-myads.jpgJust yesterday, MySpace announced the release of their myAds Beta self-serve Ads platform. As part of it, similar to Facebook’s self-serve Ads platform, they released an automatic statistics engine, now available to any user that goes through the motions of setting up an Ad. The new engine allows a glimpse into the MySpace userbase. What’s even more interesting is that you can do the same on Facebook, now allowing very accurate comparisons of the two platforms when determining where you should advertise or build an Application. Based on these comparisons, it would appear that, while Facebook traffic seems to be going up and MySpace traffic seems to be going down, Facebook still has far to go before catching up with MySpace in North America, at least in regards to number of users.

Here are the results I came up with – note that myAds only allows statistics for North America, so I was unable to do a comparison of the countries outside of the region. All these stats are North America-specific:

North America as a Whole:

Facebook: 33,3393,820 users
MySpace: 83,895,693 users


Facebook: 14,538,700 – 43.5% of total
MySpace: 37,653,707 – 44.88% of total


Facebook: 18,804,380 – 56.3% of total
MySpace: 46,241,986 – 55.11% of total

25+ Age Range:

Facebook: 12,649,720 – 37.88% of total
MySpace: 30,804,487 – 36.71% of total

24- Age Range:

Facebook: 20,722,540 – 62.05% of total
MySpace: 53,089,687 – 63.28% of total

Based on these statistics, as mentioned, MySpace dominates the North American market. Of the demographic break-up, the two sites seem neck-and-neck, so where you target your marketing and apps may really bring you over to MySpace first, and Facebook second. While minute, Facebook does seemingly have a stronger female to male ratio, as well as a ratio of those 25 and older. That would make sense considering Facebook reports their largest growing customer-base is the 25 and older generation.

What would be an even more interesting study would be why users come to each of the sites. Where Facebook seems to accommodate all businesses with their “Page” business profiles, MySpace seems to be targeting the Band and Movie genre. With categorized demographics, MySpace makes it easy to generate statistics based on these demographics, but Facebook doesn’t seem to make it very easy, relying mostly on keywords that pull from the Info section of a user’s profile. It would be hard to do a comparison in this area.

Now, if you compare actual traffic, it gets even more interesting. According to, Facebook has been increasing very steadily, while MySpace traffic is decreasing. It’s hard to tell if this is a reflection of the user-base, or of simple engagement within the site. If MySpace’s userbase has been growing, MySpace needs to do some serious consideration of how to increase traffic and PageViews within the site, because in this area in general, Facebook is about to overtake MySpace.

So while Facebook is hot on the tail of MySpace, it would appear that it still has far to go in North America. Facebook still needs to double in size in North America before they get even close. If I were to target Facebook I would target a more global audience for now.

New Series: Social Coding

I’ve been contemplating for awhile now a good way to share what I know about Social Software Development and helping business owners, marketers, and developers learn how to set up their own social apps. Especially for developers, I know there are many out there looking for howtos and ways to learn more about starting their own App, promoting it, and getting it off the ground. As the author of FBML Essentials, I feel I am well suited for the task so in the next few days I’m going to start doing howtos and overviews on how you can get your own Apps together. If you’re “the business type”, I may get a little technical on you, but I do recommend you keep watching and forward these onto your IT personell – your CIO, CTO, and the like should read these so they can learn what’s possible to integrate into your existing environments. I’ll also try to throw in a little goodie here and there for “the business type”.

So, I’ve created a new category to the right, “Social Coding” – if you want to track just that, click on the category name and add it to your RSS. I’ve also started a new FriendFeed Room where those involved or that want to get involved in Social Coding can discuss, learn, and talk with each other. You can subscribe to that here.

Let’s start by going over the types of sites I could cover. Here are just a few – let me know if you have a particular interest in learning about how to code for any one in particular:

  • Facebook
  • OpenSocial
  • Google Friend Connect
  • Twitter
  • FriendFeed
  • Pligg
  • Digg
  • LinkedIn
  • MySpace
  • WordPress
  • MoveableType
  • Google App Engine
  • Bungee Connect

Stay tuned! I’ll keep posting news and other rants as we go forward – I’ll just be adding in some good howtos at the same time. Oh, and if you’re a developer and would like to do a howto in your preferred language for us, contact me – I’d love to let you do a guest post.

Live Blogging the Web 2.0 Expo: Social Strategy for Business #web20expo

Picture 8.pngCharlene Li, and Josh Bernoff are two of my favorite Social Media Experts. They published “Groundswell”, a book I strongly suggest and recommend to anyone looking to utilize social technology in their business strategy. Here are my notes:

Key roles and their Groundswell objectives:

  • Research
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Support
  • Development

Charlene talking about specific applications that accomplish these objectives:

Del Monte community, invitation only, has conversations with their customers. Del Monte asks their customers questions like, “What does your dog eat for breakfast” and gets responses back from the customers. Then, more specific questions are asked, and a conversation is started. This information is hard to measure in a focus group, but can be gathered via a Groundswell.

Now Charlene’s talking about tampons. What, don’t like the subject? Neither do most people. P&G had this same problem, and created the social network, “Being Girl”. No branding of “P&G” on the site. In articles, adds things like, “Brought to you by Always pads”. Allows the bride-to-be to create a count-down calendar on their Myspace page. Widget shows the countdown, and offers a challenge to get the widget. When a user clicks to get the widget, they go to to get the widget. With widgets like this, your fans are doing the selling for you.

Starbucks: Suggestion boxes. All suggestions are public, and can be voted by the community. Management talks back to the community and responds to their feedback!

Keys to success for pragmatists:

  • Start with your customers
  • Choose an objective you can measure
  • Line up executive backing
  • Romance the naysayers
  • Start small, think big

Pragmatists bring companies and the groundswell together. Objectives are the key to successful social strategy. Use POST to frame your strategy. Think big, but start small.

Live Blogging the Web 2.0 Expo: Comparing Social Platforms #web20exp

Picture 8.pngUnfortunately I only have a Flip which gives me just 30 minutes of storage so you’ll be able to see the first 30 minutes below. I’m currently watching “Comparing Social Platforms”, with Dave Morin, Senior Platform Manager for Facebook, Allen Hurff, SVP Engineering for Myspace, Jessica Alter, Dir. of Platform and Business Development for Bebo, Patrick Chanezon, Google OpenSocial Evangelist, and David Recordon, Open Platform Lead for Six Apart. It’s fascinating to see the leaders of all 4 areas, including a developer standpoint from Six Apart all talking about ways to improve the Social Graph.

I’ll continue from where the video left off:

Allen Hurff said a great point when it comes to focus on Platform Development: “I love developers, but I love users ten times more”. That’s a great point and something we need to remember, and not be too demanding on as developers. In the end it’s all about the users of our applications.

Dave Morin talked about the Causes application. If the user can’t get the message to the friends that they care about such a cause, that’s bad and needs to be taken care of. Facebook is trying to focus on this, while finding balance with Applications that perhaps aren’t as impacting to ensure they aren’t being spammy and user experience is protected.

Patrick Chanezon says Google prefers the term “organic growth” to “viral growth”. Dave Morin brought up that ultimately, creating the best product is the end goal. Those applications that just focus on Viral growth grow fast, but ultimately die out. In the end you want the best experience for the user.

Dave Morin: “A lot of the times we’ll see viral but no ‘social'”. Being able to see what your friends are doing with your application, how they interact together makes it social and not just viral.

Dave Morin: Social Commerce is the future of how people do business on the web. Working on a commerce engine for Facebook. He likes the applications that are doing virtual currencies (I agree).

David Recordon: Building applications has to be easy. Extensibility is important. It has to be easier than it is today – if more successful than today next year, technology still isn’t easy enough.


  • Matt from SocialThing: will there ever be a premium model with guaranteed uptime, extended support, etc.?: Myspace says they haven’t thought of it. Facebook says they are committed to their platform – says it’s a good point and also haven’t thought of it.
  • How liberal are platforms going to be in sharing data?: Six Apart is one of the creators of the ATOM standard – bloggers should own their content. Facebook is committed to enabling people to take data where they want to. What exactly does “data portability” mean? Dave Morin posed that question to OpenSocial… “data portability” might not be the right word for it – “privacy portability” might be a better term for it. “It’s all about the user – it’s not about technology.”
  • What are the thoughts on creating an even playing field for viral channels?: Myspace will have a hard time

In conclusion it looks like the theme for this was putting focus on the users in the end vision, not the application. I’ll upload the video in a minute if it isn’t showing yet.

Me at Web 2.0 Expo

Picture 8.pngI’ll be at Web 2.0 Expo starting tomorrow, April 22 through Friday, April 25. This, in my opinion, is one of the conferences to be at this year, as I really feel we’re getting to a tipping point towards the evolution of Social Networks. Expect to hear a lot about Enterprise 2.0, Future of Mobile, and of course, the future of Social Networks. I’ll do my best to live-blog what I can on the Stay N’ Alive blog,, and I’ll be bringing along my wife’s Flip digital video camera so maybe I’ll even get some good video while I’m out there.

I’ll be bringing several signed copies (by both me and Jason) of “I’m on Facebook–Now What???” with me, which, if you’re a blogger and can convince me why I should give you a free copy (I love giveaways to your audience if you have a good audience) come see me. Or, if you already have a copy of the book I’m happy to sign copies while I’m there. I’ll be posting my whereabouts on Twitter so you should be able to find me. Also, look for me at the O’Reilly booth on Wednesday around 3pm. I’ll be also promoting my upcoming book, FBML Essentials and would love to meet you!

If you want to follow where I am, again, there’s Twitter, or feel free to check out my schedule here. Also, add me on Crowdvine!

Yahoo Joins OpenSocial, Google Announces OpenSocial Foundation

Today Yahoo announced that they are joining forces with the OpenSocial platform, and will be joining both Google and MySpace to build “The OpenSocial Foundation”. This new foundation “will seek to ensure that the technology behind OpenSocial remains implementable by all, freely and without restriction, in perpetuity.” It is modeled after the current industry-supported OpenID foundation. As an addition to that announcement, Google has released “” to promote the development of OpenSocial on a standard platform away from the Google environment.

Read more about it over at OpensocialNow!

Announcing the First West Coast OpenSocial Hackathon

Utah Social Media DevelopersAfter meeting up with Bess Ho, founder of the Silicon Valley Web Builders and Facebook Developers Garage, we decided a joint hackathon, focusing on OpenSocial would be a great opportunity for both of our groups. So I’m proud to announce that next week, March 26, from 8pm MST to 1am MST the Utah Social Media Developers Group (formerly Utah Facebook Developers Garage) will be joining with the Silicon Valley Web Builders live via and Qik for a great night of OpenSocial hacking!

We’ll kick off the event with a presentation by Jason McGowan, lead developer at the Facebook App, We’re Related. He’s going to talk about some of the work they’re doing on OpenSocial. We’ll follow that with a presentation by Ted Haeger, Director of Developer Relations at Bungee Labs. I’m told he’s going to show us some cool new features of the Bungee Labs developer tools that integrate with OpenSocial, in a 15 minute timeframe. Bungee Labs will be hosting the event and providing snacks and drinks. Here’s Ted’s Bio:

Ted Haeger directs Bungee Connect’s developer program and leads Bungee Labs’ team of evangelists. An avid technologist, Ted is keenly interested in the rapidly evolving social dynamics and changes to human culture coming about as the Internet continues to develop. Prior to his work at Bungee Labs, Ted directed the open source advocacy program for Novell. He still keeps strong ties to friends throughout Free Software community and regularly speaks at various international and regional open source events.

The rest of the night will be spent just hacking and coding on OpenSocial, with the help of other developers there in both Utah and Silicon Valley to help getting started and continuing your development in OpenSocial. Both Google and RockYou have generously offered to provide Swag for the event (MySpace was offered the opportunity, but supposedly they “have already met their goals for the number of developers on their platform”. MySpace – the offer is still out there if you want it!). Thanks to them for their generous help in getting this event together. So the evening should be full of education, swag, snacks, and coding, a developer’s dream! If you’re a business that would also like to offer some Swag or something else contact me and we’ll add your name to the Sponsors list!

So if you’re a developer already or looking to develop in Social applications in Google’s Open Source platform, OpenSocial, come on over and code with us! Those interested in meeting developers are also invited. Bungee Labs, Google, RockYou, and my Social Media Applications Agency, SocialOptimize, will be Sponsoring the event.

Before coming don’t forget to sign up for the sandboxes you are interested in developing on – they often take a few days to get approved. You can find links to those environments here. Be sure to check out the tutorial here.

An interesting Fact – based on comparing numbers with Bess in Silicon Valley, it appears that Utah has the largest group of Social Media developers next to Silicon Valley on the West Coast. Our Facebook Group actually has more than they do! Let’s all get together and show the developers in Silicon Valley what Utah is all about! Please be sure to RSVP for the event on Upcoming or Facebook (join our group there!). You can find directions to Bungee Labs here:

625 E Technology Ave B2300
Orem, UT 84097