MTV/MySpace Presidential Dialogue & YPulse Tween Mashup Request

Posted on September 27, 2007. Filed under: Conferences of Interest, MTV, MTV News, MTV/MySpace Presidential Dialogue, MySpace, Tween, work, YPulse |

Today is the historic MTV/MySpace Presidential Dialogue featuring John Edwards.

The MTV/MySpace Presidential Dialogue with John Edwards will take place Thursday at 12 p.m. ET. The entire dialogue will be webcast live through both and, and will then be rebroadcast on MTV on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Tired of scripted, old-style Presidential debates? MySpace & MTV join forces to empower you to ask questions directly to top Presidential candidates and respond to their answers in real-time.

… Because of this, I am not at the YPulse Tween Mashup conference I was talking about back in August (see My Musings: Thoughts on Tweens and the Mashup (I want to go) ). Is someone going to be liveblogging at this conference? I hope so.

Definitely visit or right now to catch the live stream. And of course, check back at for the on-demand version that we will be working on all day. It’s pretty exciting to be involved with something that has never been done before. Will it be successful? What kinds of questions will the kids ask? We’ll find out…

EDIT: The on-demand version has been online since 3:30pm. Click here to watch!

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My Facebook User Experience, App Awareness, and Thoughts On the MySpacing Threat

Posted on September 14, 2007. Filed under: Facebook, Idea For Facebook, My Musings, MySpace, MySpacing of Facebook, Twitterian |

The Back Story

I deleted my MySpace account four months ago for two specific reasons – both an overload and lack of information. To be more specific, I was frustrated with spam and the inability to keep it away from me, as well as the inability to keep track of updates.

I tired of receiving phony email messages that were supposedly from my friends, but were really from bots. I was sick of deleting attempted comments that were full of spam, sick of avoiding friend requests from phony accounts created to produce spam, sick of invites to join groups created solely to attack me with spam, etc.

The last straw was when my account was hacked and I noticed that my profile had sent some Viagra message to everyone on my friends list. As, Ricky Bobby would say,

via the scrip


Facebook = Information Freedom

Running away to Facebook has definitely helped. I’ve experienced a blissful four months of virtually spam free social networking paradise. I’ve been enjoying the news feed, the ability to customize my experience down to which updates I receive on my cellphone, who can see what on my page, and integrating my other social tools like Twitter, Flickr, Last FM, etc.

I like being able to see all updates from all contacts within my home page – it’s a huge time saver. MySpace counts on your lack of information to bombard you with ads – unless someone posted a bulletin and I subscribed to their blog, I had no idea what was going on with them and rarely bothered to check because I hated all the ads I had to go through to get what I wanted. My loose ties with quasi friends/contacts were in danger of being severed, and the internal pressure I felt to keep checking my cross country close friends profiles was starting to wear on my nerves.

Facebook helps me to stay informed, and lets me control how I receive my information – without bombarding me with ads (for now). I’m privy to social and work related news at a constrant stream, and I don’t feel this insane compulsion to constantly check everyones profiles. I just look at my feed – one page, one source of information, two hours becomes ten minutes. Slotted in my feed as well from time to time, almost discreetly, are featured ads. It’s a “byte” of information, easily digestible, and quickly scrolled past if it’s useless to me. The ads are usually supported by a richer user experience – a promo for a film may allow you to join a related group, get free gifts, or offer some other pay off for clicking. The choice is yours – click or don’t click. I’m informed but not annoyed, and my time isn’t wasted.

Kings of Sticky

But all this time saving isn’t a threat to Facebook’s stickiness. According to Tech Crunch, the average Facebook user spends two hours a day logged in. I would say my Facebook enthusiasm (as it pertains to time spent) is limited to checking the feed, leaving comments, viewing photos I note in the feed that are of interest, and reading invites.

I do acknowledge however that updating some of my Facebook apps can be a huge time sucker (bad for me when I want to go to bed or do laundry), however smart parties are taking notice of how these apps are being used, shared with friends, sending traffic to sites, and developing their own time suckers – good and bad for everyone, depending on user behavior (See Mashable’s list of “30 Awesome Applications for Facebook”).

The Status Updates and third party apps are info streams that supplement the feed. Those brief Twitterian-like glimpses into my friend’s and coworkers head spaces on a constant basis are adding to my overall awareness of who they are. I don’t take an update as an encapsulated definition of their being, but it helps to know when someone is feeling sick or needs help moving.


***If Facebook were to ever offer Twitter-like tools within Facebook, Twitter would finally have some real competition. You can already make and receive Status Updates from your cellphone, and if Facebook were to offer Updates as an archive and in widget form, what need would I have for Twitter?***

How Apps Enrich Off-Line Relationships

Ilike and Movies have increased my knowledge of my friends/co-workers/business contacts’ personal tastes and recommendations (see “Facebook/Work Culture: Just Good Times Or A Requirement To Stay Connected?”) in ways that could never happen face to face. Who has time to get a movie review from each friend every time they see it? But it takes ten seconds to read one, and it’s a useful service, at least for me.

For some reason seeing my peers’ updates in my feed and the mini description almost always lures me in for a closer look. I end up caring more than I initially intended to, and that is one of the two holy grails of site use that Facebook is currently the king of:

#1 By giving users the freedom to control their experience, it entices them to go deeper into that experience

#2 Creating Successful Word of Mouth

You’ve Been Bitten!

– via tychay’s flickr

At WidgetCon back in July, we learned that RockYou’s Zombie App was (and is still) the top Facebook application. RockYou is a great example of a company succesfully transferring it’s popularity from within MySpace into Facebook, with the help of the news feed and word of mouth.

How? …As soon as you see that one of your friend’s has added an app, why not give it a try? Simple to ad, simple to remove. App “hit” status shouldn’t be measured solely by how much page life it gets – how quickly it spreads is just as important.

Creating An Army Of Unintentional Advertisers

It’s so simple that I’ve been scrambling to try to find examples of this happening before. It’s had to have happened before! I’ll keep looking but right now, I have squat. So I tentatively say that Facebook has set the precedent for this ad model:

1 – Generating a feed source that aggregates information from a user’s “friends” activities and displays it in a central location (homepage upon login), and offers it through mobile updates

2 – Displays app additions in the feed source as updates and offers the ability to add it to your own profile from within the feed. Provides option to purchase items relating to added interests/reviews.

3 – Inserts targeted ads (based on the users interests) into the feed

4 – Allows click through to other sites from apps and widgets (not afraid of losing traffic ala MySpace blocking javascript and many flash based widgets), freeing up the user experience to incorporate content from a wider range of sites.

The combination of these four observed tactics is a marketing/advertising formula that should have MySpace more than a little concerned. But then again if it’s not broken, why fix it? As long as MySpacers have to constantly go to each friend’s page, one at a time, for updates (beyond the bulletins) they are willingly submitting to a barrage of ads.

But are those ads truly resonating with their targeted audience?

I think as the web becomes more and more customizable, advertisers and the social networking sites they partner with are going to have to become more savvy about how they push their product. I ignore most billboards and posters in the real world, I have no interest wasting a second of my time online viewing the equivalent.

Thoughts On the Threat of “The MySpacing Of Facebook”

John Chow recently posted an interesting blog entry called “How Much Can You Make Off 1 Million Facebook Users?”

It’s a great example of how shady types are already attempting to exploit friend networks to sell unsanctioned-by-Facebook ad space (Facebook already addressed this specific situation).

I feel that marketing infiltrators will continue to prey on users interests in a myriad of ways, and Facebook will continue to be vigilant about identifying the real from the phony. As long as it stays that way, users won’t experience that much of an inconvenience. The benefit of Facebook not being owned by a huge entity like News Corp (I would assume) is that site issues like these can be addressed immediately, instead of having to travel through endless channels. The Facebook blog often addresses issues like this and calls for user input. There’s a sense that a real person is “on the line” so to speak.

So I don’t believe the MySpacing of Facebook is an external threat. If it ever is an issue it would be entirely based on company decisions from within Facebook.

So, what “MySpacey” issues would force me to leave Facebook?

1. Lack of Relevance

Another huge reason I left MySpace was that I didn’t feel I was being “found” by the right people, or coming across any new people who weren’t (sorry) complete idiots. There wasn’t any information I was getting by logging into MySpace that I didn’t feel I was already getting off-line. When I joined as a 21? (I think) year old, my social networking needs were different. I grew up, but MySpace didn’t.

Currently, I use my social networking profiles primarily to share information with work colleagues and potential business contacts. I still leave comments and send gifts to friends, but I am not overwhelmed with the urgency to create a new layout for my profile twice a week. I feel comfortable with the idea of an employer looking at my Facebook profile (I can limit access) – All MySpace offers is public or private.

As long as Facebook continues to be relevant to my life and adapts to my constantly changing user behavior, I see no reason to leave. A truly successful “lifestyle social networking site” (one that supplements all daily behavior versus targeting a specific interest, ala Flickr) has the flexibility to grow with its users and the foresight to anticipate needs and developing interests.

2. Too much Bacn

There’s Facebook bacn (ads, invitations, etc.) and friend bacn. The kind that is starting to take it’s toll on me already is friend bacn. I suppose everything in the News Feed could be considered bacn, but these are items I have singled out that, for me, define the term in the context of Facebook:

– Invites to charity functions (sent several times for the same event)

– Requests to fill out question are app (Who should I date?/What are you doing this weekened?/Where should I take my date)

– Requests to donate to charities

– Invites to “just for fun” groups

– Requests to join political groups/causes

Anything essentially that is asking something of me beyond passively looking at an image/video or reading profile updates (Status, adds/removes, etc.) is Bacn, to me.

I control bacn to a certain degree by adjusting my feed preferences. I can’t control Facebook from inserting ads into my feed, but so far they are so infrequent and subtle it’s not an issue at all.

3. Mass Friend Requests

As we all know, there are many MySpace users who are add whores. They add anyone, anywhere, anytime. You inbox becomes cluttered with friend requests from people you don’t even know. Often these people are phony accounts created to send you spam.

I don’t really see this being a problem on Facebook as they are pretty excellent about removing false accounts, and friend whoring is not an aspect of Facebook culture (from what I can tell). There are the few who insist on adding everyone they ever knew since they exited the womb, but that not the same as indiscriminately adding for the sake of adding. That is just fulfilling your bizarre need to remain in touch with everyone you ever met. Whatever, I just ignore those people.

With so much freedom to customize your Facebook user experience and the unobtrusive ad placement, I don’t see the MySpacing of Facebook happening any time soon.

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Today’s Musings: MySpace/Facebook class differences & Movie Breakdown

Posted on July 26, 2007. Filed under: class, Dana Boyd, Facebook, interesting people, Movie Reviews, My Musings, MySpace, people I follow, Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and M |

– image via flickr

Dana Boyd responded yesterday to the severe backlash re: her posting entitled “Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace”.

I discovered Dana last year when doing research on social networking and conferences of interest. This year alone she has been a featured speaker at Etech, Mashup, and more. I hope she will be speaking at the Tween Mashup in September, a conference I would love to attend!

There’s a rave review of her on BoingBoing. You can download a discussion with her on

This was the gist of her initial post:

What I lay out in this essay is rather disconcerting. Hegemonic American teens (i.e. middle/upper class, college bound teens from upwards mobile or well off families) are all on or switching to Facebook. Marginalized teens, teens from poorer or less educated backgrounds, subculturally-identified teens, and other non-hegemonic teens continue to be drawn to MySpace. A class division has emerged and it is playing out in the aesthetics, the kinds of advertising, and the policy decisions being made.

I left this comment to her response post that addressed the backlash:

I enjoyed reading your original blog post. You are right – many Latino/Hispanic teens interact with family members of all ages on MySpace, and often have profiles on both Facebook and MySpace, with the majority of their family members mostly on MySpace.

The only thing I took issue with was the framing of this paragraph:

******* MySpace is still home for Latino/Hispanic teens, immigrant teens, “burnouts,” “alternative kids,” “art fags,” punks, emos, goths, gangstas, queer kids, and other kids who didn’t play into the dominant high school popularity paradigm. These are kids whose parents didn’t go to college, who are expected to get a job when they finish high school. These are the teens who plan to go into the military immediately after schools. Teens who are really into music or in a band are also on MySpace. MySpace has most of the kids who are socially ostracized at school because they are geeks, freaks, or queers.

In order to demarcate these two groups, let’s call the first group of teens “hegemonic teens” and the second group “subaltern teens.” ********

I understand what you were intending to describe and why, however to be honest my first instinctual response was to be a little offended. You identified the following categories:

“Latino/Hispanic teens, immigrant teens, “burnouts,” “alternative kids,” “art fags,” punks, emos, goths, gangstas, queer kids, and other kids”

as if they were all separate and didn’t mention any overlap. Your choice to not use “most” or “many” when making this statement was also confusing. This also caught my notice:

“These are the teens who plan to go into the military immediately after schools.”

How did you come to this conclusion? What made you say this, instead of “who plan to end up doing clerical work, credit company customer service jobs, etc?” Curiosity and a tiny bit of outrage motivates my question.

Clearly the initial requirements to join Facebook created a huge class differentiation between the two sites, and I am interested in reading more of your work as you follow migration patterns, behaviors, and conflicts. I appreciate what you are doing.



Over the last two weeks I have seen a crazy amount of movies:

(out of 5 star rating)

– Hairspray (****) – I initially did not want to see this. I think I enjoyed the audience reaction more than the actual movie. So why the four star rating? I was tapping my toes the whole time to the music, I laughed a few times, enjoyed the dancing, and was glad to see a musical being so well received. It was great for what it was.

– Talk To Me (*****) – Don Cheadle is the man!

– Sunshine (***) – I love sci-fi. I loved 28 Days Later. Did not love this. My eyeballs loved the stimulation (gorgeous), my brain was bored. Danny Boyle, what happened?

– My Best Friend (****) – French guy doesn’t have any friends. At first I poo poo’d the premise and mocked the poster each time I passed the IFC, but I had the opportunity to see it gratis and actually enjoyed it very much.

Drama/Mex (****) – I am excited about what is coming out of Mexican cinema. Not necessarily because I think its all gravy, but because there’s a lot of risk taking reminiscent of 70’s American cinema, and I miss that (as a decade, I wasn’t born yet).

– Joshua (**) – Sigh. Snooze. Boo.

– Sicko (***) – I enjoy Moore’s films because I never consider them actual documentaries. If I did, I would feel sicko.

Movies I want to see over the next two weeks:

– The Simpsons Movie

– This Is England

– Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (yes, the last person on earth who hasn’t seen it.)

– SummerCamp!

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Monday Linkage: Reconciling “Me” with Me

Posted on May 14, 2007. Filed under: links I like (today), My Musings, MySpace, VCAM |

My Dear “Me” Generation,

What’s it all about? You want to make the content, create the ads that promote the content, then send the content to your friends and make money off of them, relying on us to serve as audience and distributor. What’s wrong with this paradigm? In theory, nothing. …Yet. However the more our personal, niche interests are exploited for our own pleasure and economic gain, the more privacy we lose. Is privacy less important to the “Me” generation? Time will tell. But until then, by all means, continue to post the minutiae of your life for everyone to see.

But don’t complain when prospective employers choose not to interview you because of narcissistic video confessions. Peeps – Do you honestly think HR isn’t Googling you?
How do you protect your freedom of self expression online and still present yourself as an attractive candidate to employers?

Let’s continue observing the way life is being altered (for better or for worse) by all this connectivity.

And you’ll have to excuse the toxic levels of cynicism in today’s posting. I saw Spiderman 3 last night and had to gouge my eyes out with my straw, so I’m not in the best mood.


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Beta Records & MySpacers: A ringtone widget match made in heaven

Posted on April 26, 2007. Filed under: Beta Records, My Musings, MySpace |


My good friend Tony’s little brother Gian, aka PROF1T, is a talented aspiring music mogul. Like most teens his age, he has a MySpace page where his fans can listen to his tracks and add them to their pages if they are so inclined. According to my oldest and dearest friend Rose (Tony’s wife), her tween aged little brother and his elementary school friends are fans of PROF1T. They have him in their Top 8 and listen/download his music. PROF1T also has the good sense to send regular updates in bulletins, comment on his fans pages, and maintain a constant presence online. He’s a true indie artist, doing what it takes to get his name out there.

I recently noticed a new widget on PROF1Ts page, created by BETA Records. Gian’s fans can (for free) have his songs sent to their cell phones. The Beta Records ringtone widget can be embedded into webpages/blogs/and (most importantly) MySpace profiles. I have seen other ringtone widgets online, but most of them were not free and were primarily used for tracking the most popular ringtones. This widget allows anyone with access to a computer the ability to get their songs on phones around the world.

If you go to the Beta Records site, you can see the array of free tools they offer members. They have a “charts” area that profiles the “Top 8” artists from several genres. I checked out their blog (which hasn’t been updated since Oct 2006) and was disappointed to not see any updates, however a quick Google search unearthed this recent news:

Via ENewsChannels – April 23, 2007

“BETA Records Invites Unsigned Artists to Dance, Party, and Interact with Music Industry Executives at the Famed Key Club nvites you to a special event May 1st at the Sunset Strip Key Club as part of MUSEXPO 2007, the annual gathering of the world’s leading music executives, producers, managers, and new media content experts.

BETA Records founders Chris Honetschlaeger and Georg van Handel invite all unsigned artists to visit the BETA Web site and join using promo code #90500. Party invitations will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis. Artists can also attend MUSEXPO 2007 ( and can qualify to win a $2,500 BETA Records gift certificate from the Guitar Center on Sunset Blvd. Several BETA artists will showcase their talent during the event.”

It seems like Beta Records is part of a whole wave of online tools giving independent artists more and more ways of getting their music out to their fans, on a global scale. I am curious to see what other web resources Gian uses to build up his fan base. He is quite the entrepreneur and I do not doubt that he will achieve anything he puts his mind to.

Gian aka PROF1T, is a great example of how today’s tech savvy kids are empowering themselves in ways that were totally unavailable to me (who is only 25). Sheesh! I’m impressed – both by this generation, and the speed of these remarkable advances in making technology accessible to the masses.

In Related News

This isn’t new but for the Nerds who I love so much, via Lifehacker:

How to make as many ringtones as you want for free.

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Hip-Hop’s Greatest Groups & My MySpacey life

Posted on February 22, 2007. Filed under: Hip-Hop's Greatest Groups, MySpace, work |

…Just added a new promo to the MTV News MySpace page…

Hip-Hop’s Greatest Groups: The Preview 

MTV’s Brain Trust sits down once again — this time to debate the best acts with at least two MCs. Watch the action unfold beginning Monday at

Getting paid to be on MySpace

Ok, so it’s not that glamorous. However, it makes me wonder how many other people out there are like me – where a pretty hefty chunk of their day is spent updating their company’s MySpace page, researching trends within myspace, reading/approving comments, etc.  

Four years ago when I first signed up and created my own profile, I certainly never predicted I would one day be paid (as part of the rest of my job) to “play” on MySpace. In fact, part of the reason I was hired at MTV News was because I was so adamant about us having a presence within MySpace.

You would think managing/updating a MySpace page  would be easy, but in fact it’s actually not and is often a bit of a pain in my behind. However, it is rewarding to work with Jane and Alex, managing editors here, who contribute their blog entries, promo decisions, and support the growth of our friends and budding community. The MTV News MySpace page started out like any other – it’s a free account and I tweaked it/”pimped” it out like any other regular user.

For the longest time, no one could search for our page, which kept our friend #s low. We now have over 4,000 friends, which in contrast to other pages isn’t a whole lot – however considering we have no budget for promotion within MySpace, and it being more a labor of love than anything else, I am proud of what has been achieved so far. It would be nice if there was a tangible way to track how many clickthroughs we get from our MySpace page to the story/video links on, but that’s another story.

For now, it’s just nice to see all the friend requests in my inbox, even if it is a pain at times to deal with. The people who add us are a combo of MTV fans, fans of the specific artists we promote on the page, bands seeking promo/love, various small time promotional companies, record labels, and people with general curiosity. As much as people & the press say that MTV is behind the times (and in a lot of ways, they are right), it’s pretty ignorant to ignore the fact that there is still a huge audience watching, and as long as I work for this company I will do my best to nurture our community within MySpace, other social networking portals, and wherever else we are welcomed.

As far as my personal MySpace profile goes, it would be a lie to say that my activity level on it has not suffered. I definitely don’t blog within there/post bulletins as much as I used to. I check out my friends bulletins/blogs and respond to their messages, but in general my page has become kind of a dud. Oh well. I only have so much energy and I get enough  MySpace at work.

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No Excuses for me + The haps at work

Posted on January 31, 2007. Filed under: MTV News, MySpace, vlog, Webcam Correspondent, work |

So apparently I’m a horrible blogger because I fell off the planet for, oh, five days.

… Well if it’s any excuse, I was in Los Angeles for a while and wasn’t feeling particularly motivated to log on and account for my whereabouts. So in the future, if four days go by and you don’t see anything on here, hopefully it means I am on vacation again. Otherwise, please alert the authorities.

What Happens when you Leave…

Gideon quit last week, and I am purposely NOT linking to Idolator, even though they “broke” the news two minutes after the email was circulated.

One of my favorite blogs, NewTeeVee, interviewed Matt Sunbulli re: his Webcam Correspondent dispatches. Although the tone is a little nasty, I still think it’s cool that he is getting recognition for his work. Despite their poking fun at his enthusiasm, I suppose most people take into account how difficult it is to initiate anything new within a major media corporation, and truly vlogging is new terrority for MTV, sad to say. So I am looking forward to seeing what Matt has in store for viewers, and thinking up ways to help promote his packages in the future on our MySpace page.

The bilingual bands package I pitched is still a work in progress – one set back being that at the last second The Troubadour would not let the west coast crew in to shoot Los Abandoned perform last week. I am not worried about seeing this story come to fruition and I am getting better about not stressing out over the little things.  Working on the digital side of News limits how much involvement I have in preproduction (even if it is my idea), but it still feels good to be a part of the process.

When I was hired at MTV News, I knew that I would be working with the Digital team to produce content for Overdrive and for podcasts, and although some things that are created exclusively for OD do end up on air (like many of our RAWs), my role is primarily to support So any time I am given the opportunity to be a part of the on-air/production/running-around-a-location world, it’s pretty awesome.

.. But to be honest (at least on the TV side, not necessarily for film), I wouldn’t ever want to just work strictly on location or in post production again without any involvement in the digital side. It’s way more interesting to have a hand in both.

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The MySpace effect…

Posted on January 23, 2007. Filed under: MTV News, MySpace |

This morning Matt’s package on MySpace suicide aired, and it threw to our MTV News MySpace page. Does that make it finally, like, official? I created the account in (I think) September, it launched in October, and now have over 3,000 friends. Pretty good, considering that for months we didn’t show up in any searches in MySpace.

I remember the days when I was actually saving our friend add emails. Now, every morning my Outlook account is spilling over with add requests, messages, comments, etc.

I can only imagine it will get worse (but better for MTV News) now that we are promoting the page on air. I think the most off putting message we ever received were embeded photos of Britney during her “commando” incident.  That was… gross.

Sometimes even I have to laugh – A part of my job is to be on MySpace all the time, to be informed about popular widgets, to have a general sense of “what’s happenin'” in the MySpace universe.

Weird – but thankfully – fun (most of the time).

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