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Is MySpace Scary….?

OK – I’ll answer it first – YES!
And, it also exciting, dynamic and a place to look for the community metaphors we as libraries are trying to create.
Hypothesis: If something truly creates a sense of community people will flock to it, engage and stay. Is MySpace an emerging model?
So, here’s some questions and data that I picked up from Jeremy Wright’s Ensight blog:
Jeremy assembled a few quick ‘facts’ from the information that MySpace is releasing about once every month or two:
MySpace is Bigger Than Blogging: There are now nearly as many MySpace accounts as blogs (about 30M vs about 100M. More of them are started every day than blogs (about 250,000 vs about 100,000). There are more posts per day being made on MySpace than on all blogs combined (about 1.5M vs about 1.4M)!
MySpace is Accelerating Faster Than Blogging: Considering it is much newer than blogging, this should be obvious. While it is currently smaller than blogs, at the current rate of growth and acceleration, it will be larger than blogging by this summer. That is ALL of blogging.
MySpace’ers Network. Fast: It isn’t that unusual to find MySpace accounts with thousands of connections. While many (outside of MySpace) might think that these connections are useless, the truth is that they represent the ability for networks to form quickly, and when graphed they do show that certain people are more likely to connect nodes and groups of nodes than others.”
He asked a few great questions too. You need to read them here.
Wilfred (Bill) Drew who is Associate Librarian, Systems and Reference at Morrisville State College Library has been experimenting / piloting with MySpace and Facebook accounts for the library to participate in the student space. This is a very good initiative and I find Bill’s irregular reports on his learnings very useful.
In short, I feel that we spend too much time focusing on Google and its ilk as a competitor or model. Many sites have much higher traffic – including the Yahoo! properties, MySpace, the Facebook, et al. Many sites are infinitely more engaging. And we, as libraries are about so much more than search and technology! What the more popular sites have in common is that the build a sense of community and libraries can do this too and have done it for a long time. When you look at some of the combinations of new technologies we see at MySpace’s homepage – Browse, Search, Invite, Rank, Mail, Blog, Favorites, Forum, Groups, Events, Games, Music, and Classifieds. So many of these are aligned with things we’re doing in libraries, virtually and physically. They connect people based on things that they share in common – neat!
Stephen
p.s. Yes I am aware of the worries about privacy and safety in these spaces and think that the community will eventually deal with the issues. It’s important but doesn’t rise to the point where we can ignore it. Like most of the Internet, you can’t regulate too soon. We’d probably still be using Gopher and Archie if we had. ;-0

Posted on: February 22, 2006, 12:57 pm Category: Uncategorized