Social Networking

Microsoft Demoted To Developing Widgets For Bebo

Bebo, the social networking site known for not being quite as relevant as MySpace or Facebook (we swear we’re HUGE in Europe…we swear), is teaming up with Microsoft to launch an instant-messaging program in its network.
How will the new service work for Bebo’s users? An explanation, from the Journal:

Bebo members will be able to click a link to start an IM session with any other Bebo member, even if neither has a Windows Live ID, the sign-on used for Hotmail and other Microsoft services. They’ll also be able to exchange messages with Bebo friends who aren’t logged on, but who are using Microsoft’s regular Windows Live Messenger program. However, Bebo users will not be able to send instant messages to Windows Live Messenger users who don’t have Bebo accounts, and Windows Live Messenger users won’t be able to see if their buddies are logged on to Bebo.

The genius of Microsoft is apparent – Bebo users get a half-functional version of Windows Live Messenger that they can’t talk to non-Bebo Windows Live Messenger users with. And this move is based on the presumption that many Bebo users use Windows Live Messenger. Why do we need the middleman? Is it trying to create appeal by adding another layer of exclusivity (because it doesn’t seem to add much else)?
It’s like Facebook’s recent semi-integration with AIM. Considering you already IM many of your Facebook friends, it’s kind of superfluous whether they’re on Facebook or not.
Bebo is listed here as having 34 million users, the same number of users as Facebook (although this same list has MySpace showing 192 million users and Classmates.com as having 40 million users…I mean, sure…it’s pretty easy to be cavalier about users when they’re unmonetized).
Social-Networking Site Bebo To Use Microsoft’s IM Service [Wall Street Journal]

  • 26 Jun 2007 at 10:30 AM
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Social Networking and its Discontents

zuckerberg.jpg Apparently, social networking hinges on an individual’s quest for freedom (MySpace) and civilization’s demand for conformity (Facebook).
According to a project by tech researcher danah boyd, who is so down with dotcoms that she legally ee cumminized her name, Facebook is for college preps and MySpace is for Latin Kings, or at least economically depressed, goth-wearing, gang-banging, extreme bass-playing meth addicts.
This shouldn’t be that much of a surprise, since Facebook started out at Harvard, then migrated to other Ivy League schools (and MIT), where the site is currently most entrenched as a percentage of the student body (we completely made that statistic up, but suspect it’s true, especially at Harvard).
Class differences are also becoming apparent, with the proletariat more MySpace leaning (also no surprise with Facebook’s Ivy League bent). Almost half of Facebook (which is capitalized in the media due to the media’s giant hard-on for the site but not on the site itself) users have a household income over $75k while less than 40% of MySpace users do (those numbers are from Comscore).
A problem with any research involving social networks – about half of social networking users use more than one site, so the Harvard grad by day is most often a timpani player in a goth Architecture in Helsinki cover-band at night.
Why MySpace is for freaks and Facebook is for preps [Machinist]
Social network site users ‘are chronically unfaithful’ [Times Online]
Measuring the social networking divide [Valleywag]