MySpace Lack of Design a Plus?

Great article by Paul Scrivens that shares, what I feel, is the secret to MySpace’s success:

MySpace
is a community site that allows you to setup a profile and blog and
connect with friends and strangers. It’s also a designer’s and lover of design’s worst nightmare because the UI of the site is atrocious yet it boasts 17 million visitors a month (and rising) and was recently purchased for over $580 million by News Corp.

…The community is what makes MySpace. If you ask someone why they are on MySpace 9 times out of 10 you will get this reply: That’s where all my friends are.

…This is the same reason why people usually only use Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger or AIM (yes I know there are apps that allow the usage of all 3 at once). If you get the community then you win the game

…I would suggest you read Malcolm Gladwell’s classic The Tipping Point for a better understanding of how events reach critical mass. In any case you have to reach the so-called Connectors in the community. Blinksale did this perfectly. If you don’t know who the Connectors are then you don’t know your audience.

…. Trying to navigate the MySpace UI is frustrating at best. So why does it work? Besides the community I think it’s the fact that you can customize your pages and if you explore the community you will see some crazy designs going on. 90% of them you can’t even read the content, but people love it.

…the design sucks them in. In a way it also causes a bit of lock-in. Once you learn the interface that is time invested that you don’t want to lose. That’s why many people will never leave MovableType because they understand how it works inside and out.

It empowers people to get their message out and make connections (emphasis mine – Karl). That’s the only way I can put it. Same reason why Xanga, FaceBook and LiveJournal are crazy popular. Get a community together where people can communicate easily and you have yourself a winner. Ask Amazon.

Besides all of that, the site sucks and I never use it, but I know that doesn’t matter much when I can enter a club and the first question out of a woman’s mouth is: Are you on MySpace?

Check out the rest of this great piece. Paul is looking for feedback. I think he’s on to something.

3 responses

  1. I think this is the same reason why an icky ISP like AOL is so popular (and were crazy popular even when they were known to be screwing people over financially and folks kept getting busy signals and couldn’t connect).

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