One of the biggest knocks against MySpace — especially from me — was that the design of the profile pages was just too busy. Too much color, flashing boxes, music and spam.
I never even made a profile on MySpace because I never saw the need to enter that public online chaos. Technically, Facebook tricked me into joining by offering me a walled social sanctuary of fellow college students first…before snapping it away and throwing applications all over the place.
Accessing a friend’s profile took too long to load, and finding any info about the person on the page was like playing Mindsweeper if every box in the game flashed: DESIGN BY RaNdOmTxTLinX FLASH FLASH FLASH!
In changing up the look of the site, MySpace is saying: “We give up. You did better.”
To its credit, MySpace was first, the pioneer of modern social networking — well, besides Friendster. Facebook benefited from watching MySpace grow. Mark Zuckerberg saw where they encountered problems and where users desired more privacy and closed systems. When Facebook finally went up, they expanded slowly, college by college. This timed expansion gave them a chance to test and adapt. Of course, Facebook looked and navigated better when it hit the mainstream, and privacy features were there from the start.
While Facebook launched new advertising programs — even if they weren’t all successful — and brought businesses into its network by opening doors with applications and pages and allowing others outside of college to join, MySpace never really saw the advertising boom they expected.
Well, everything on MySpace looks like an ad, and I don’t want to click any of it. Why would a business want to throw their logo into the middle of a sea of logos, plagued with problems of privacy and illicit behavior?
The end result of Facebook’s hightened buzz and Microsoft deal was that MySpace has had to go on the hunt as the underdog. They have revised their strategy, and they are going after the application developers that Facebook loves so much.
With a redesign, they admit their biggest flaw and make Facebook look like a champ, but MySpace also finally grows up.
It was time for MySpace to get more organized, end the chaos and admit that they could do some things that Facebook showed users wanted. Otherwise, Facebook was going to keep snatching everyone up and not giving their data back.
In admitting defeat, MySpace has another chance to get back on top of the popular social networking buzz, but they will have to do more than just catch up to Facebook to come out on top.