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Linda M Gallant, Gloria M Boone and Austin Heap are in this paper finding five examination guidelines (heuristics) for community spaces such as facebook and myspace.

They are

Interactive creativity
“This category encompasses the novel, the new, the risk, the mystery, the thrill, and the flow-like experience that can happen in using technology and content in new ways.” It is found – through focus groups – that this opportunity is best served on myspace(!).

Selective hierarchy
“Here access, membership, information filtering and related factors are explored. All social systems develop structures that unite, divide and assemble people into groups, systems, and networks. Selective hierarchy establishes leadership, pecking orders, and roles such as mentor, information provider, and social coordinator, and allows the ever present notion of in-group and out-group.”Identity construction
“People want to express their identities, individuality, lifestyles, and collective interests in communication patterns. The best online communities encourage identity posting; e.g., biographies.”

Rewards and costs
“Almost all users noted the rewards for posting on both sites. These included: staying in touch with friends, making social plans, communicating with others and “finding out” about them, and “dating.” Very few mentioned any cost or negative attributes such as privacy concerns or trust issues. A few mentioned the cost of time involved in interacting with Web-based communities.”

Artistic forms
“Artistic forms make the experience of the Web site interface more personalized. (…) These personalizing features and activities satisfy people’s need to develop individual style and create a social statement through the design of their personal community Web space.”

But I will argue that time (already) has surpassed the findings. Myspace may have more possibilities in presenting the self (interactive creativity and artistic forms), by means of altering the ‘wallpaper’ or choosing specific music to be played when surfing a profile. But when facebook made an API available they opened for external parts to developed ‘widgets’/’apps’/’plugins’ to the SNS, so that people are gaining thrills and risks through widgets as Pirate vs Ninjas and the IQ test. And these specific widgets might be a major variable making facebook a more social valuable SNS; they enable the possibility to play.

(I should say I am not a heavy user of myspace, and don’t know if same features are at service in this SNS)

I my opinion these guidelines seems to have some greater degree of overlap between them. A feature like group making is both able to be categorized under identity construction and selective hierarchy. The personalization under artistic forms seems to be a mean to build identity.

The heuristics helps give a better grasp of whats in play in the SNS’s, but on the face of it seems the guidelines do not completely clarify the elements of the analysis, because the overlapping is somewhat extensive.

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