It’s abundantly clear that MySpace suffered greatly due to a cluttered, confusing interface. This article, How Facebook Learned from MySpace, merely underscores that fact.
One interesting point that this CNN Money article brings up is that MySpace, as a social media pioneer, didn’t know what people wanted in a social media platform.
… MySpace, like everyone else in 2004, wasn’t sure what would make a social network click. So it let its members figure it out, offering them to design their own pages with widgets, songs, videos, and whatever design they pleased. The result was a wasteland of cluttered and annoying pages that were as garish as the self-designed home pages on MySpace’s 1.0 predecessor, Geocities.
Facebook, on the other hand, adopted a stripped down interface that in many ways mirrored the ways people already ware using the Internet to communicate. There may be parallels here in another Internet success story: Wikipedia. This post, re-posted here from the Collaboration in Networked Environments blog, refers to a lecture by Harvard Berkman Center fellow Benjamin Mako Hill on why Wikipedia succeeded where other attempts to create online encyclopedias failed. What it all boils down to is that sometimes you don’t need to re-invent the wheel. A familiar, easy-to-use interface can help people swim in the data stream, as Oosterhuis puts it. People took to Facebook like water.