Equal Access, Facebook, MySpace, and Limited Resources

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the Personal Democracy Forum conference. One of the best sessions was by danah boyd (she doesn’t capitalize her name), a researcher currently working for Microsoft. She basically whacked us over the head with the fact thatdespite similar numbers, the people on Facebook aren’t the same people on MySpace.  And really relevant to gov’t use of these sites, those on FB are (or at least are perceived to be) better educated, wealthier, and more “elite’ile MySpace is for others.

Read danah’s paper and then join the conversation on her blog.

The upshot for those of us in gov’t? If we focus only on one site, we’re missing a whole lotta people.  And if that site happens to be Facebook, we may be missing underserved groups entirely.

The challenge, as always, is covering everything with the same, limited resources.

But danah convinced me we have to try to be on both sites.  So we’ll do our best.

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6 Responses to “Equal Access, Facebook, MySpace, and Limited Resources”


  1. 1 Rebecca July 12, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    Just goes to show, that once again, we have to put in a lot of effort into really getting to know each individual online community to communicate properly, and provide the info people actually want. Great post.

  2. 2 Michael Hessling July 13, 2009 at 4:30 am

    I think she also says that teens are leaving both sites (it was a tweet, I think)! Most of FB’s growth is from older folks, while MySpace is stagnating. I don’t know where they’re going, though. One example link, from RWW.

    Maybe the idea isn’t to put efforts into both sites, since they’ll ebb and flow, but into your own. How many fans on FB? 1,860? Compare that to how many visitors at EPA.gov? EPA.gov will always be the constant.

  3. 3 Scott Horvath July 13, 2009 at 5:33 am

    This is just one more reason why you need to really have a dedicated staff for working with social media efforts. It’s hard to convince managers of that need. But this points out the need to be in both spaces if you’re trying to reach both audiences.

    Does this mean that SSA should shoot for Facebook and OPM should play in MySpace? :)

  4. 4 bbleroy July 13, 2009 at 9:51 am

    This is nothing new!

    Since the beginning of networks connections have been made by individual interest.

    I remember CompuServe which attracted the more business and technical folks and America Online which attracted everybody else.

    By the way CompuServe is history and America Online is loosing the battle with the web.

  5. 5 Jeffrey July 13, 2009 at 10:34 am

    @Michael: It’s tricky. Yes, more people come to epa.gov than our FB page. But they’re here for different reasons. And I’d bet many people we attract on FB never come to epa.gov.

    Also, the fans on FB have voluntarily said “contact us with interesting stuff” and we don’t have that same general interest request via epa.gov.

    It’s not either/or, but rather a matter of using all available channels.

    There’s also a difference (as you well know) between programmatic pages at epa.gov and how we can use FB and MySpace to engage the public. I continue to think the best mix is well, a mix: have programs mostly focus on the technical library aspect of epa.gov and have communicators use social media tools for outreach, education, and engagement.

  6. 6 programs December 28, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    Aw, this was a really good post. Finding the time and actual effort to
    generate a great article… but what can I say… I hesitate a lot and never seem to get nearly anything
    done.


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I’m on Twitter @levyj413

  • @MeghanJG Wow! Yep, I called into Science Friday when they had Tim O'Reilly on to discuss social media and gov't. 3 weeks ago
  • Just realized I've been doing social media for the gov't for 10 years! 3 weeks ago
  • @ariherzog Hi Ari. I've been pretty quiet on Twitter for a while now. Just focused elsewhere. 1 month ago

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