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Questions about MySpace and Facebook

I'm not entirely a luddite. But. Well. MySpace and Facebook? They make me feel bemused and almost entirely incompetent. But I know there are a bunch of people in my flist that probably don't feel either of these, and I thought I would, you know, badger you for helpful advice.

1.* How does it work? I recently created a MySpace account and then ... kind of clicked in circles because I couldn't really figure out how to do anything, or in fact even figure out what I was supposed to do. My oldest son and my friends mock me mercilessly in Facebook, and because I love them, I want to avoid having to kill them, so I haven't yet created an account there.

2. Have you found it helpful?

ETA: * as in rudimentary step-by-step instructions as if you were speaking to your 5 year old dog. Because I in theory understand that you are suppose to build a friends-list there, but cannot figure out how to do this.


( 39 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 19th, 2008 01:44 am (UTC)
I find MySpace useful to keep up with some friends that I see at a concert annually. I find Facebook useful to keep in touch with graduate students (I'm staff and not an advisor; just a person who helps smooth the bumps in academia).

I am not even close to that state. Mostly, I am at the: How do you create a friends list on MySpace exactly? stage.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 19th, 2008 03:06 am (UTC)
Well, Max Barry basically posted to his blog, "Hey, I'm on Facebook!" and his legion (ha) of followers followed him there. ;) It's a pretty low-key way to go about it initially. Facebook pops up notifications on your home page when your friends do something noteworthy like add a friend or join a group, and a lot of stuff gets propagated that way, assuming of course you and your friends and their friends all like the same stuff. ;)

As for friends, Facebook should have a wizard that, if you don't mind letting them look through your e-mail address book, will search for the e-mail addresses of anyone you know and notify you whether or not they're on Facebook. If not, it will give you the option to invite them to Facebook and add you as a friend. They've also started looking through the friends of your friends and suggesting people that pop up on a lot of your friends' lists that you have not yet added, so you can find people that way. (Although my friend noted that this feature tends to pop up people you don't like, as friends who've you've had a falling out with tend to be the "missing links" in your social circle.) Alternately, if you're a privacy freak like my husband, you can search manually by name, interest, what have you. (Friends --> Friend Finder should take you to a page where you can do all these things.)

Personally I loathe and despise MySpace, even though Facebook can be kind of sketchy I'll take that over the eye-searing profiles of MySpace any day. But the process is pretty similar. If you click on the friends link below your user icon in your profile it'll take you to a page where you can search for names, e-mail addresses, people from your hometown or high school, all that stuff. They have some new features that are supposed to make it easier to keep track of your friends, but as they've basically just been, in my opinion, copying Facebook, I haven't bothered to learn how to set it up. ;)

Edited at 2008-04-19 03:06 am (UTC)
Apr. 19th, 2008 03:13 am (UTC)
Thank you for all of this :D.

Actually, I have a bunch of friends on Facebook, but I've avoided it in terror because my son is on Facebook and my friends are on Facebook, and. Well. Did I mention they mock me, to the delight of said son?
Apr. 19th, 2008 04:48 am (UTC)
Heh, yes, as a member of the Michelle Sagara West Fan club, I noticed a lot of people in it who also pop up here on your LJ. If it weren't for the mocking I'd say setting up your page is exactly the sort of chore perfectly suited to computer-savvy children. Builds character. Of course, then you run the risk that all MY friends who had me set up online presences for them ran, the possibility that they would fill your profile with erroneous information. (The friend who got the profile that listed ballet as one of his hobbies was not nearly as amused as I was.)

But since you have adoring fans, that may be the easier way to get information, mock free. ;)
Apr. 19th, 2008 11:17 am (UTC)
The very phrase "formality of email" has, all by itself, made me suddenly feel a thousand years old.

(Deleted comment)
Apr. 19th, 2008 01:45 am (UTC)
I'm as mystified as you. I created a facebook account partially because my uncle seems to think its a good thing to do (in terms of networking, I guess keeping in touch with people you've met) and mainly because he posted a video of my grandmother cooking that I wanted to see. But I got bored pretty quickly. I had the same problem; I have no idea what I'm supposed to do on the site.

I'll probably figure them out about the time they're no longer popular, since I seem to be completely hopeless for my generation.
Apr. 19th, 2008 01:46 am (UTC)
I have accounts in both places, due to some best-forgotten lemming episode. I don't use them, though - I might log in to MySpace once every month or two, IF I get a private message there. I see Facebook a little more often, but it's mainly a nuisance now.

I know that MySpace is de rigeur for musicians, maybe because of that whole "put music in your profile" thing, and I frequently get event notifications from a local musician via Facebook. I don't think either is really that great, but you might find more readers looking for you in those places. Especially the young ones.

I hate hate hate MySpace. It has been the source of malware more than once. So do be careful whenever you visit there!
Apr. 19th, 2008 01:51 am (UTC)
I hate hate hate MySpace. It has been the source of malware more than
once. So do be careful whenever you visit there!

Well, that's good to know. In a not good sort of way.

I admit that I'm comfortable with LJ, in part because I like the overarching discussions that pop-up when you cross flists and chase interesting bits; it's a lot like a conversation, but with more people. And, it's text, and I get text.
Apr. 19th, 2008 01:52 am (UTC)
I have a My Space page, but as of late I haven't visited much. It's not as interactive as LJ. I know there are discussion groups and blogs and such, but that immediacy of conversation just seems to be lacking.

That being said, I did connect with a couple of readers. I will probably start up a Facebook page as well, just because so many folks are there. They're like big calling cards.
Apr. 19th, 2008 02:24 am (UTC)
That being said, I did connect with a couple of readers.

How? Do you search on interests, and 'invite' these people, or do you wait until they notice that you're there? That's about where I'm at, at the moment =/.
Apr. 19th, 2008 02:57 am (UTC)
They noticed me, and friended me. I know some folks are pretty active when it comes to searching interests and friending people, but I never tried doing that.
Apr. 19th, 2008 02:10 am (UTC)
I steer clear of MySpace for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it's known to be vulnerable to malware. Second, I don't like the layout and messiness of the pages.

Facebook is slightly better, although their privacy policies are subject to drastic and invasive changes. It has been useful for finding friends that I'd lost contact with.
Apr. 19th, 2008 02:13 am (UTC)
I find Facebook irritating and MySpace only slightly less so, but I know enough minimal html to manage MySpace semi reasonably. I can see someone who knows nothing being totally lost.

I barely use my MySpace page, I have it purely for author type stuff. I don't actively seek out friends there, or post a lot there, or anything. I generally find it annoying, it's just one of the places to be, supposedly. A few people I don't know--authors, some others--have friended me there, and I post publication announcements. That's about it.

Facebook annoys me even more and I have yet to figure out a use for it.
Apr. 19th, 2008 02:30 am (UTC)
I think myspace is the root of all evil. I have been finding facebook moderately useful for keeping track of friends that I haven't heard from in a while, and sort of one-stop shopping for checking up on people. I'm a slight privacy freak so, I'm careful on what I put on the site. Facebook is useful for that in that you can easily set privacy levels.

I cannot comment on myspace.

Facebook, follow the steps tp set up from their main site, and then send emails to a few key people, that you are on facebook, and your contact info for there... Generally consisting of generally your user name. Also post user name here... I suspect that you would be inundated with friends requests in short order. approve or disapprove at will for a personal page. I have no idea how to create a fan-type page.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 19th, 2008 03:46 am (UTC)
I plan on ignoring both places for as long as possible. That might turn out to be forever.

What I've repeatedly been told about MySpace (moreso than Facebook, but that could be the sources) is that on MySpace you make contact with readers. It's a different paradigm because many of these readers are not also writers, so their interest is more focused.

I admit that putting up bits and pieces of what amounts to self-promotion in LJ strikes me as not at all conducive to conversation and discussion, but I get the sense -- and I could be wrong -- that that's almost the point of MySpace; short bytes of information about current works, sales, book-related news.

Although with my total lack of HTML knowledge, I'm not sure that it wouldn't be much harder.
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 19th, 2008 04:20 am (UTC)
I can understand your worries about friending your family on Facebook, and also them mocking you in public, but if you had a page and if you let that page be viewable to people who were not listed as friends, then I don't think it would necessarily be viewed as a negative by random strangers. Inasmuch as Facebook involves social cachet (because cachet is usually between people who at least have heard of each other in real life, I think), the more wall posts and whatnot you have the better you look. But it's just as easy to set your profile only viewable to friends. One of my other favorite authors, Garth Nix, has a Facebook page that seems decently orderly; I think his profile is public-viewable, but I'm not sure. I friended him as a fan, and wrote on his wall telling him I love his books, and as a fan who doesn't want to be weird I've limited my interactions to that--although his use of the Facebook notes feature serves to keep me up to date on his books with less effort on my part. I would say your LJ does a better job of that in your sphere, though.

Can you tell I'm pushing for Facebook? Seriously, MySpace is full of malware because it's so damn easy to hack people's pages, especially those of relatively famous people. And the interface is awful. For me Facebook isn't about "doing" anything other than keeping in touch with and finding people, and it's a very efficient engine for doing that.
Apr. 19th, 2008 04:55 am (UTC)
I can understand your worries about friending your family on Facebook, and also them mocking you in public

This is one of those things that is not so much worry as certainty *wry g*. I am, however, somewhat used to this -- but I often think of it as the place my son hangs out and interacts with my friends. Although it's beginning to sound like, of the two, it would be less cumbersome.
Apr. 19th, 2008 04:30 am (UTC)
i have pages on myspace and facebook. myspace is horrible -- it's buggy and it crashes a lot. facebook, i think, is better for your reader base, as its users are older. i think it is a huge timesink, though. a lot of stupid widgets.
Apr. 19th, 2008 04:53 am (UTC)
i have pages on myspace and facebook. myspace is horrible -- it's buggy and it crashes a lot. facebook, i think, is better for your reader base, as its users are older. i think it is a huge timesink, though. a lot of stupid widgets.

Do you think the MySpace audience is more suited to YA novels and readership?
Apr. 19th, 2008 06:22 am (UTC)
Well, given the look and prose of many of the users' profiles, I would extremely uncharitably and snarkily declare the MySpace users as barely literate.. except I know that's not true. Sometimes people just don't put the effort into these sites commensurate to their intelligence. At least that's what I try to comfort myself with when forced to visit my various younger cousins' profiles with the sound off and my eyes squinted against the glare.

The one good thing I'll say about MySpace, since I know you're a Firefly fan, is that Nathan Fillion has a MySpace profile and a very, very funny blog he updates from time to time. I'm not a Firefly fan (though I loved all the other Joss Whedon shows) I do sort of like Nathan Fillion now. ;)
Apr. 19th, 2008 12:18 pm (UTC)
i do. it's more for middle school/high school, whereas myspace is more high school/college.
Apr. 21st, 2008 12:42 pm (UTC)
I recently heard that the average age on MySpace now is about 30. I haven't looked into it farther, but that really surprised me a lot.

I've been trying to figure out how to use facebook/myspace to promote myself, too, and so far haven't been really successful at figuring out where to get started.
Apr. 19th, 2008 04:15 pm (UTC)
It's those stupid widgets that pretty much keep me away from the thing. That and all the "activities" that get sent out--the wall, the so and so vampire bit you, bite back crap. I get enough junk in my inbox without all that crud, and have more than enough going for the amount of time I have in a day.

At least MySpace is easier to ignore.
Apr. 19th, 2008 06:07 am (UTC)
The way I started friending people on myspace and facebook was to go onto lj and say "here's where my myspace and facebook are" so that they could find me. :-)

I don't do much on myspace beyond friend people back--I have links there back to my lj, mostly. Facebook is another matter--because on facebook, you can play Scrabble with people. :-)
Apr. 19th, 2008 10:59 am (UTC)
Not to mention playing Prolific (an online boggle game) on Facebook!

The biggest difference between Myspace and Facebook profiles is that Myspace ones are public, whereas people need to friend you (or be poked by you) before you can see their profile.

So it works to be better networking among people you actually know, and then you can sort of cross-reference by people they all know in common who you might conceivably know or want to know.

So you will probably network better among other-writers (or other areas of your life, mostly family) rather than readers, per se, on Facebook, although there are also lots of groups which one can join and participate and thereby come to the attention of readers.
Apr. 22nd, 2008 03:32 am (UTC)
Your statement about the difference between MySpace and Facebook is not ENTIRELY accurate. But the spirit is true enough... the biggest difference between the two in terms of profile viewability is that you MUST be a member of Facebook to see ANY profiles. This is not always the case with MySpace. On MySpace you can have a profile that is viewable by anyone on the internet, signed into MySpace or not.

You CAN however, have a public profile on Facebook that all other Facebook users can see, whether you are friended or not. Just as you can, on both Facebook and MySpace, have profiles that are friend-viewable only. On Facebook you can actually set yourself to have a limited-view profile, so that even people you have friended cannot see your entire profile. Facebook has more privacy filters that way, which I appreciated. I do wish though that you did not have to be a Facebook member to view public albums. It is annoying when you want to share photos with non-Facebook members.
Apr. 19th, 2008 02:50 pm (UTC)
Like me!
Apr. 19th, 2008 04:17 pm (UTC)
Although given how often this has meant I get trounced in Scrabble, maybe not the best strategy after all. :-)
Apr. 19th, 2008 04:29 pm (UTC)
Oh, did I beat you again?
Apr. 19th, 2008 07:37 am (UTC)
Some people find MySpace useful for marketing or publicity or keeping in touch with fans/readers, etc. It basically has a LOT of people on it, mostly in a certain demographic. It probably can't hurt to have a page up (unless you do get some malware, of course). You wouldn't need to active or friend anyone back, probably... mostly you could just post any announcements or whatever in their blog function.

I find the UI very clunky there... I'm not a horrible luddite, but it isn't easy for my old dog brain to figure out, either. I joined up a year or so ago but haven't done much with my account aside from friend a few people. Most found me--one of whom was a cousin of mine. Users just manage to find you out. I certainly am not going looking...

I had a friend who discovered that someone had created a fake MySpace page for her! It was actually quite a nice page and looked totally authentic--with correct information and all. I was actually fooled by it, myself. She got MySpace to take it down. Her market overlaps the MySpace demographic, but she obviously doesn't feel the need to be there.

Apr. 20th, 2008 06:43 pm (UTC)
I had a friend who discovered that someone had created a fake MySpace page for her! It was actually quite a nice page and looked totally authentic--with correct information and all. I was actually fooled by it, myself. She got MySpace to take it down. Her market overlaps the MySpace demographic, but she obviously doesn't feel the need to be there.

I admit that if I found something like this, I would probably write to the person who set it up and ask if, since it was very nice, they would mind if I actually used it...
Apr. 20th, 2008 09:27 pm (UTC)
I've never used MySpace, but I have a Facebook account. I don't do much with it, just keep track of (real-life) friends. I filled out my profile, used the search function to look up a bunch of people, added them as friends, and waited for them to confirm me. Other friends (and some cousins) found me, and I confirmed them. Some of these people I haven't seen in many years, and it's cool to see what they're doing now.

I use Facebook mainly to broadcast my current occupation and contact information, to look up my friends' contact information, or to see what my friends are up to these days. Sometimes I update my Status to say what I'm doing, or how I'm feeling, or where I am (I travel a lot). I ignore all the application requests and stuff like that.

If I was a famous author, I'd keep my personal Facebook account for my friends and family--people I want to keep up with personally. And I'd create a Facebook "Page" for my fans--for people who want to keep up with me as an author. (Facebook's concept of "friends" is designed to be reciprocal, and they created a "fans" concept and Pages to handle cases where the relationship is asymmetric.)

Hope that helps~ :)
Apr. 21st, 2008 03:25 pm (UTC)
I have a myspace page solely so I can get the blog entires of a couple of independent musicians I follow. (the music you can listen to without a page of your own) I have no friends, I have done NOTHING with the space. Partially because I can't figure out what to do or how to do it, partially because I really don't care.

I use LJ for everything.
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