Why did MySpace fail? Ask Quora

This roundtable discussion on Quora reflects many of the points brought up in our MySpace History and Introduction post.

First, it is difficult to overstate just how difficult people found customizing their profile pages in MySpace. The platform was founded on the idea that people wanted to mainly create spaces for themselves, thus the site’s name. In retrospect, this emphasis on “me” seems rather curious. Social networks are all about connections between people. As mentioned in the post, “The Architectures of Participation,” networks emerge out of these connections. It also seems that networks cannot be self-sustaining unless these connections are put first and foremost in a social network’s vision.

Second, MySpace was painfully overloaded with advertising. This reflected corporate priorities. Boyd’s “Incantations for Muggles” points out that as companies seek to expand and grow profits, they often lose the passion of their users. Perhaps MySpace needed to focus on building passion among its users before it sought to build profits.

Third, one participant in this roundtable points out that MySpace did a poor job of “shipping product,” meaning the novelty quickly wore off and was not replaced or fed by new experiences, such as games and other features. Facebook does an excellent job of shipping product, keeping the experience fresh. Doruff’s ‘Translocal Event’ underscores the important role of play in social, collaborative networks.


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