Bad timing for MySpace “maintenance”

Sweden’s leading business daily Dagens Industri today publishes a large article about the launch of MySpace Sweden tomorrow. With such great publicity, the timing couldn’t be much worse for the launch page to be “down for maintenance”. The Myspacesweden site, with information about tomorrow’s MySpace LIVE launch party is currently down, along with several other functions of the site. At the moment I can’t even log out of my account.


UPDATE: The event page is up and running again but it isn’t possible to log in to your account at the moment.

“Det går inte att logga in just nu, eftersom vi håller på att fixa ett problem med databasen. Det fungerar snart igen. 9/12/2007”

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Social media popular among Swedes

When the PR agency JMW asked 1,325 Swedes between 15 and 65 years of age, four out of ten used social networks of some sort. MSN is the most popular choice (72 per cent), with Facebook skyrocketing up to second place (36 per cent) ahead of troubled Lunarstorm (32 per cent) and MySpace (21 per cent).

The survey included several different types of media that may not always be associated with the term “social networks”, such as chat, text messaging, blogs, communities, social networks, downloading and filesharing (of images, music, videos), email, online games, virtual worlds like Second Life, and wikis.

15 per cent of the respondents had their own blog.

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Poor PR from Facebook

There has been a buzz recently in the blogosphere about Facebook and its implications for public relations. But what about the site’s own PR tactics? The last few days the social networking site has taken a few punches in Swedish media because users have put up fake profiles of famous Swedes. First, there was fashion journalist Sofi Fahrman who realized she had a very realistic profile on Facebook. Some of her closest friends had been invited to connect, only it wasn’t the real Fahrman who was behind the profile. Then the Swedish king, Carl XVI Gustaf, received the same treatment, even though it was quite easy to tell this one wasn’t the real thing. Today, the leading Swedish news site follows up with a new article, stating that Mona Sahlin (leader of the Social Democratic Party), Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, former Prime Minister Göran Persson and a bunch of other celebrities all have fake Facebook profiles.

Questions about identity theft and online security strike at the heart of social networking sites’ brands and can’t be neglected even if they’re from a small country in northern Europe. But when Dagens Nyheter and Aftonbladet try to get in touch with Facebook they get the silent treatment. No reply.

“DN has tried to reach Facebook for a comment, without success.”

“Aftonbladet has tried to get in touch with representatives of Facebook without getting a response.”

This is obviously a missed opportunity to manage this upcoming crisis situation. I expect that Facebook will need to increase their PR efforts if they want to continue to challenge MySpace in the social networing arena.

Footnote: Jeremy Pepper wrote about Facebook’s poor PR more than a year ago.

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MySpace is doing well despite Facebook

In spite of all the recent fuzz about Facebook, the indisputable No. 1 social networking site MySpace still has potential.

“The latest audience data show that it continues to expand faster than most top competitors except for Facebook, in a sign that there is more upside for the social networking heavyweight. News Corp. brass and Wall Street folks said MySpace has managed to boost its advertising rates and thereby profitability, making it less dependent on big future audience growth.”

MySpace’s unique audience in July was 61.3 million, (up 33 per cent year-over-year), three times larger than Facebook’s 19.5 million (up 129 per cent).

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Teens manage their online identities

Pew Internet & American Life Project today published a new report (pdf) called “Teens, Privacy and Online Social Networks: How teens manage their online identities and personal information in the age of MySpace”. The report talks about what kind of information teens share on social networks and what they keep hidden from strangers (and/or parents).

“Many teens post their first name and photos on their profiles, they rarely post information on public profiles they believe would help strangers actually locate them such as their full name, home phone number or cell phone number.”

Of those whose profile can be accessed by anyone online, nearly half (46%) say they give at least some false information. Other interesting findings about the teens with online profils are:

– 82% of profile creators have included their first name in their profiles
– 79% have included photos of themselves.
– 61% have included the name of their city or town.
– 49% have included the name of their school.
– 29% have included their email address.
– 29% have included their last names.
– 2% have included their cell phone numbers.
– 6% of online teens and 11% of profile-owning teens post their first and last names on publicly-accessible profiles;
– 3% of online teens and 5% of profile-owning teens disclose their full names, photos of themselves and the town where they live in publicly-viewable profiles.

As a result, 63% of teens with profiles believe that a motivated person could eventually identify them.

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