Saturday, September 04, 2010

Bragging Rights: Facebook Won, MySpace Lost

Recently, an event made me get back on MySpace again. Well, it didn't force me--I went on voluntarily. I was trying to get in touch with a friend--my last friend who used MySpace exclusively. His page was gone. I was a little down-trodden, but so it goes.

I realized this morning, though, that he was the last reason I ever got on MySpace. I'd never have to go back. I remembered that four-years-ago, I made a step into the unknown based on what I could observe. MySpace was ugly; Facebook was not, so I decided to get a facebook.

As it turns out, I gambled right. MySpace lost, and they lost hard. But why? One of my reservations in gambling in their favor was their strong user base. How did Facebook overcome MySpace's biggest obstacle--a massive user-base? Why did they leave? And what did MySpace turn into?

Soon after getting on Facebook, I read an article--maybe it was in Wired--about how MySpace had been bought. This douche in a suit was quoted talking about how he was gonna make MySpace into this-and-that, probably something or other about media distribution. That was their first problem; they got bought and let a suit run it. Suits can't run websites. Their MBAs taught them about revenue, not users.

I'm sure the users didn't leave because a suit showed up. They probably cared less, or if they knew, thought it sounded good. The best image I got of why MySpace failed was on Facebook when they released their API. The entire website performed the internet equivalent of a riot. People did not want to see Facebook turn into "another mySpace." They knew that MySpace was tacky and couldn't be navigated without hearing hundreds of different songs, seeing tacky color combinations, and feeling irritated. Facebook users feared this would be the fate of Facebook.

So far, Facebook's been kinder than MySpace was. Initially, the applications were in "profile boxes." They looked cluttered, so most users avoided installing but a particular few that were popular or useful. These are being fazed out. We still have to put up with Farmville, but Facebook retains usability.

I haven't looked around MySpace in years. The site looks slightly cleaner, but still cluttered. There's a giant ad for Machete on top, and movies and other crap all over the front page. At first glance, I can't tell you what the hell the website is even for or why it's worth joining.

The main page still looks like a mess. Big gif ads, and I can't find anything. Oh, right, everything's located on a thin bar on the top of the page.

Ooh, I have messages, let's see what they say:

Mark your calendar to
go dorm shopping at

Tuesday, Aug. 10 - Thursday, Aug. 12


Shop early for the best savings and personalize your new college home.

Wow, Wal-Mart. That's cool.

I also have a message from Step Up 3D. Apparently, there is "Live Stream Tonight – Flo Rida, Ne." This is just exactly what I wanted, really. I didn't even sign up for this crap, and it's being deposited directly into my inbox. Thanks for the unsolicited junk mail, MySpace, this is just what I needed.

Ooh, I have a friend request. From a rapper I've never heard of. Named Atrophy. Good luck there, Atrophy, but a pro-tip--you should be concerned with your flow, not your friend count, and especially not your friend count on MySpace. MySpace is Babylon declining. Get out before it drags you under the sand.


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