At long last, the Comscore year-end numbers for the major social networks are available. The numbers indicate Facebook, already the worldwide leader, is on track to overtake MySpace for unique visitors in the US by 2010.
One could see this as a victory of order over chaos.
Or possibly the burgeoning onset in the general population of video-eyeball, which in layman's terms is the lingering after-effect of exposure to thousands of flickering images per page-view.
MySpace is like downtown Vegas on a Friday night after sixteen planeloads of farm supply salesman have exited their hotel rooms for a weekend of debauchery. Loud, gaudy, and disorderly.
MySpace is the web before CSS -- when repeating backgrounds, layers, and tables ruled the net. The relatively unstructured content and visual bombardment is stimulating for a while, but requires eyeball stamina.
In comparison, Facebook is a trip to the mall. There is chaos available, but you must seek it out within the neatly arranged text. The Facebook interface appears restrictive on the surface, because it is. Not much visual tweaking can be done to a user's profile.
The two social networks bear little resemblance to each other beyond their immense popularity. According to Comscore, Facebook logs 54.5 million monthly unique visitors compared to nearly 76 million for MySpace.
At current growth rates, Facebook will overtake MySpace in January 2010, a year from the date of this article. These are growth rates, not growth in one entity and inverse attrition in the other.
Both sites are expected to increase in US visitors, with MySpace’s growth flatlining below one percent -- which, with a 76-million baseline, is more than respectable -- and Facebook maintaining its nearly 4 percent, per month, increase in US visitors.
Some key engagement metrics show more activity per user at MySpace, indicating MySpace has almost double the total time spent browsing (17.5 billion minutes v. 9.3 billion minutes). This figure comes as no surprise -- there’s a lot more to look at on MySpace. So much more in fact, these figures may be misleading.
One could surmise it takes two times as long to load a MySpace page with it's accompanying eighteen-thousand images, leading to eighty-million surfers a month spending an extra few milliseconds waiting for page loads.
The figures and projections illustrate that younger users will continue to prefer the visually stimulating MySpace. This will come as no surprise to those in the video gaming industry. While Facebook's growth will be reciprocally proportional to eye focus degradation in the population.
Ask your optometrist if it’s time to switch to Facebook.
But don't take our word for it, check out the statistics for yourself.