Social networks at war

Facebook
Orkut
Windows Live SpacesHi5
Bebo

Competition between giant social networking companies had been going on for quite some time now. These giant companies that I am talking about are for example Bebo, Facebook, Hi5, Orkut, Friendster, Myspace, Windows Live Spaces and many more. (If I missed out on any important social networking companies, please do let me know via comment on this post) These giant social networking companies are fighting for users and application developers to use their social network website. Friendster.com and Myspace.com had been one of the top social network website that has more than 50 million users worldwide. Since the entry of Facebook to the world of social networks since 2005 it had managed to rocket up pass Friendster and Myspace with its great number of registered users. Despite all that, Friendster and Myspace still remain very popular in Asia.

In a 2006 study conducted by Student Monitor, a New Jersey-based limited liability company specializing in research concerning the college student market, Facebook was named as the second most “in” thing among undergraduates, tied with beer and sex and losing only to the iPod.

Facebook platform is based on application that made Facebook unique. Applications on Facebook can be developed by anyone who could earn some money from advertisements. Facebook also has a photo application which made Facebook known as the number one site for photos in the United States and ahead of public sites such as Flickr, with over 8.5 million photos uploaded daily. These are a few functions that Facebook provides to its registered users that dominated the social network world. In 2006, it is rumored that Facebook is earning revenue over $1.5 million per week.

Other giant social networks are now ganging up on Facebook with the help of Google’s new project OpenSocial. OpenSocial is now live and can now be used after its opening yesterday. “OpenSocial is a set of common APIs that application developers can use to create applications that work on any social networks (called “hosts”) that choose to participate.” These applications from OpenSocial are very similar to Facebook’s application. Social networks that are participating in Google’s initiative includes Orkut, Salesforce, LinkedIn, Ning, Hi5, Plaxo, Friendster, Viadeo and Oracle. Seems like Facebook too will be joining in the collaboration very soon.

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Friendster madness

FriendsterMostly every youngster in Malaysia know what Friendster is. Friendster is one of the most popular social networking sites particularly in Asia. Now it has over 50 million registered users worldwide which most of them are from countries like Malaysia and Philippines. So what caused the rapid growth of users in Friendster? Youngsters tend to follow their friends in whatever they do. When a group has their own Friendster account, their friends would follow suit. This would then lead them to convince their other friends to register too. I guess it is like a fashion here. Other popular social network sites are High5, Myspace and now Facebook but I still notice that mostly everyone around me are still loyal to Friendster.

Whenever I use any of the computers provided in one of the labs in UNITEN, I would see students surfing the web and usually I would spot at least one of them browsing through his or her Friendster’s profile. I was one of what I call the “Friendster freaks” until I just got bored of it. I was so devoted to Friendster which I spent hours on browsing friends profile or writing testimonials (now known as comments) for friends. I had burnt up a lot of my precious time on Friendster without even realizing it. Now I am proud to say that I had finally moved on. Well not entirely since I started using Facebook which is so much better than Friendster and a whole new experience for me. I’ll talk about Facebook soon enough.

4 years back, Friendster was a tremendous place where you can communicate with long lost friends and discover new friends. Now it turned into a place used partly for publicity. Trust me when I say that more and more people are abusing this social networking site and causing it to lose its core purpose of the network. Some users register under phony names and pretend to be someone they are not just to draw attention to him or herself. Others register just to publicize their work or product for their own profits. Sad to say that Friendster is no more the social network I used to admire.

Resources say that Friendster had joined Google’s OpenSocial initiative which went live yesterday. Hopefully with this, Friendster can be less “suckier”. Whatever happens to Friendster, I am definitely not going to return. I just can’t bare the pain it brought me for the past 3 years. For those who are still loyal to Friendster, I wish you happy Friendstering :)