FOR THE WEEK OF JULY 17, 2006
MySpace surge shows social networking popularity
Newspapers also help readers form communities, and have been doing that a few centuries longer than social networking sites. Daily papers provide their own kinds of public forums for print or online users to share opinions, observations, tastes and tips. Ask students to find at least four different types of visitor comments as they flip through or click through recent issues.
By serving as authoritative sources of information, creativity and opinion, newspapers put into play all sorts of material that becomes part of the buzz on MySpace. Examples include fresh news about bands, videos, blogs, films, clubs, sports, fashion, recreation, books and events. Class members can compete to see who finds the largest number of buzz-worthy items in one day’s paper – particularly a Friday edition with weekend listings.
Credibility is an important part of the solid foundation that newspapers have stood atop through the decades as public attention had to be shared with radio, TV and the Internet. Invite students to discuss advantages that this medium has over MySpace and some other sites when they want entertainment profiles, professional reviews, sports news, info for school assignments . . . and even celebrity gossip.
Internet turning points seem to come and go like summer romances, and most are about as meaningful. But real attention was earned by an announcement this month that the MySpace.com social networking site overtook Yahoo's e-mail gateway as this country’s most-visited Web destination. (Overall, Yahoo draws a larger audience to its network of sites.)
An electronic traffic measurement firm says MySpace’s online clubhouse accounted for 4.5 percent of U.S. Internet visits for the week ending July 8, pushing it past Yahoo Mail for the first time and outpacing the home pages for Yahoo, Google and Microsoft's MSN Hotmail. When the traffic counters added together MySpace's home page and e-mail site, the share of visitors exceeded 7 percent of all U.S. browsing that week.
But wait, there’s more: Within its category, MySpace grabbed neatly 80 percent of visits to social networking sites in June -- up from 76 percent two months earlier. FaceBook was a distant second at 7.6 percent.
The popularity of Los Angeles-based MySpace has exploded since its launch in January 2004. It’s a virtual community for teens and others to share journals, photos, poems, videos, music, dreams and personal details. Concerns that the site is a hunting ground for child predators brought stronger safeguards last month and the hiring of an experienced chief security officer last spring. Members must be at least 14, and MySpace says it kicks out those whose postings indicate they lied about being old enough. "We take aggressive measures to protect our members,” insists the new head of security. “We encourage everyone on the Internet to engage in smart web practices and have open family dialogue about how to apply offline lessons in the online world."
Ranking firm says: “To put MySpace's growth in perspective: If we look back to July 2004, myspace.com represented only 0.1% of all Internet visits. This time last year, myspace.com represented 1.9% of all Internet visits. With the week ending July 8, 2006 market share figure of 4.5% of all the US Internet visits, myspace.com has achieved a 4,300% increase in visits over two years and 132% increase in visits since the same time last year.” – Bill Tancer, general manager of global research for Hitwise
Yahoo says: "When taking into account all of Yahoo's domains together as an entire network, Yahoo clearly remains the number one property in terms of audience share, duration share, page view share and days visited per month." Yahoo attracts 129 million unique U.S. visitors per month, it adds, which represents 74 percent of the online population in the world's biggest Internet market. MySpace reaches 30 percent of the online audience with 52 million unique visitors, according to Yahoo.
Blogger says: The traffic news “seems to confirm what we all knew already: MySpace is growing like a weed. Duh. But ‘bigger’ than Yahoo? Not by a long shot.” -- Jeremy D. Zawodny, posted last week at webpronews.com.
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