danah has a terrific essay with her take on what caused friendster’s downfall and myspace’s massive success. according to danah, fster didnt win because the site didnt allow playing where myspace did.
my take is that friendster was more like the facebook (i’m an investor in both) in that it was a *real* network, where myspace was more like tribe, in being an online only community. friendster failed to scale its network so it got really slow. also, they failed to add more interesting applications so there was nothing to do with your people. the facebook remains a useful closed trusted resource for a college community manage their social lives.
today, people are just starting to see the value of maintaining an online identity. myspace’s comments area serves as a public message board like the old chalk boards on our dorm rooms. in fact, myspace profiles are a lot like dorm rooms, covered in crazy decorations.
the big question is when, why and how adults will want online identities and what they’ll want to do with them. seems like that remains an open space. blogs serve this purpose in a crude way, but probably way too much work. will a social network host emerge as the myspace for the rest of us? what will be the killer apps, if they’re less dating focused?