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Transumers in MySpace – research, marketing or hype?

January 7th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

The Guardian covers an interesting report: “MySpace 08: People. Content. Culture”.

Future Laboratory, who produced the report identified six types of MySpace user, say the Guardian, classifying 38% as “essentialists”, who primarily use social networking sites to stay in touch with friends.

“Just under a third, 28%, are “transumers” – those who follow new trends rather than make them.

Around 10% are “connectors”, who specialise in identifying and linking to cool content; and 5% are “collaborators”, who create events and projects online by teaming up with other users.

One in 20 MySpace users get their thrills from “scene breaking” – hunting down new bands and talent online and sharing that through the site; and 4% classify themselves as “netrepreneurs”, who use social networking sites to make money.”

I thought this was pretty cool stuff so tried to get hold of the report. No link to the original in the Guardian (they are very bad at that). Surprisingly few references on Google. Finally found a reference to the project on MySpace. Very strange – a sort of mash up between MySpace and a research site – I think they are trying to look trendy. But nowhere can I find the original report. The Guardian covers it in a blog article. But – unless I missed something – I suspect they have just rewritten a press release. No is it research, is it marketing or is it just hype.

Anyway this is what the “Future Laboratory” say about their rsearch on MySpace. Now at least they have put up something about what they are doing. And I suppose I am naive in wanting to see such work in the public domain. But it saddens me that important work on culture is now the preserve of the marketing people – not research.

“1) The research for PROJECT:CREATIVE LAB is due for completion by November 30th 2007
2) Any submissions can be made through the PROJECT:CREATIVE LAB MySpace page in the comments section or by mail
3) PROJECT:CREATIVE LAB is searching for 10 case studies only, and will make a shortlist of possible candidates before deciding on the final 10
4) PROJECT:CREATIVE LAB’s team of researchers will be responsible for choosing the final 10 case studies and hold the right to change or remove case studies from its report at any time
5) PROJECT:CREATIVE LAB holds the right to approach and choose case studies even if they have not submitted themselves or been submitted by others
6) Chosen case studies will be asked to:
a) Answer a series of questions via email;
b) Take part in a short telephone interview with a PROJECT:CREATIVE LAB researcher;
c) Submit photographs, imagery, video files, MP3 files and examples of work to support the case study,
and d) Provide further contact details for possible future research
7) All successful candidates will have to sign a media release form to confirm permission that their name, work and imagery can be used in future media and press coverage for/by MySpace UK and Lexis PR
8) Candidates will receive £200 for their participation. This will be given to the case study upon the final delivery of the report and dependent on candidates complying with all terms & conditions
9) PROJECT:CREATIVE LAB is part of trend research, insight and brand strategy consultancy The Future Laboratory, who have been tasked to create a bespoke report called ‘The voice of a generation’ on behalf of MySpace UK
10) MySpace will own the rights to the final report delivered by The Future Laboratory
11) MySpace and Lexis PR will use the report for internal and external use within their marketing, strategy and press departments.”

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