One of the most notable media trends over the past year is in the social networking world, where the Facebook visitor base has rocketed from roughly 37 percent of MySpace's to pull slightly ahead with 115 million users worldwide, according to the latest figures (through April -- click the graph at the right for a larger version). By contrast, MySpace's audience has not grown appreciably over that period.
Over at VentureBeat, Eric Eldon suggests one reason behind these developments is that "Facebook is a place for people to put their real lives online [while] MySpace is more of a place for people to live out their fantasy lives online..."
Both companies have Spanish language versions, which have been growing rapidly, and contribute to their overall totals. Publishers and advertisers continue to launch widgets that can be added to the social networking sites, and if Eldon's analysis is right, the Facebook crowd should offer more reliable demographics.
That's because most advertisers prefer to know what a potential consumer's real interests are, as opposed to what their fantasy selves might wish for. Maybe if the imaginary alter-egos at MySpace start buying more stuff than their real-life contemporaries at Facebook, this could change over time.
But don't count on it.