@*uxdesign* I understand what you mean when you said, _"I’m not totally sold on “asymmetrical,”? these things have to suit the situation.“_
Perhaps a better way to look at asymmetry is to view it in a non-dualistic way. By that, I mean that symmetry and asymmetry are ideals, not fixed points that you can achieve with 110% certainty and aspire towards. It’s likely that every layout you create will land somewhere on the continuum between the two.
Seeing asymmetry in this manner may open up some possibilities that may have seemed unavailable to you when working on a layout that felt balanced but dull, and lacking some sort of spark. Somewhere in the space between the two ideals is the right solution, and the final result may not require the label “asymmetric.”
@*Matt C* - I agree with you, it’s good to aspire towards a great result, but it isn’t perfection you’re striving towards. This is often where we see great print designers flame out when they enter into doing some form of complex interaction design.
@*Daniel* The vast majority of social networking sites fall squarely within the Page model if you’re talking about user interface design. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and MySpace are all like bulletin boards with notes and type shifting around in a 2D plane. What’s interesting about Facebook is that through their inclusion of user-created applications, you can bring in experiences that conform to the Garden and Petri Dish models. This creates a greater variety of ways that you can interact with the Facebook website as a whole, which leads to the ‘cess pool’ effect that you’d mentioned.
Perhaps a way to think of Facebook or MySpace in that ‘cess pool’ sense is to consider how their sites have been architected systemically. Instead of shaping a world of content that is designed to present a controlled experience, they have ceded control of content and simply created tools for users to come in build their own bulletin boards. It’s fancier than a high school yearbook, but still a poor substitute for a dinner party.