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If you were anywhere on the internet from 2006 - 2010 you might remember Myspace, hitting it’s peak around 2007, Myspace was the first real behemoth of social networking and for many at the time, their first experience of social media.
By 2009 however many logged out of Myspace one last time and made their way to Facebook which continues to be the largest and most popular social media platform on the web. Now nearly ten years since Myspace reached it’s peak, let’s look back at what went wrong and what businesses and web developers can learn from Myspace and their almighty downfall.
One of Myspace’s major selling points was that it allowed users to create an account without using your real name, unlike Facebook which has always forced users to create an authentic profile using your full name. With Myspace you could incorporate your own handle one which you could use universality across instant messenger services and even on other social media platforms. Whilst this worked for a short while, ultimately once Facebook appeared, the option of people using fake names or user names on Myspace removed website authenticity and make the whole place feel a lot less legitimate.
Ultimately users want an authentic experience online, people want to know who they’re talking to and what they’re be viewing online.
Up until the end of 2009, Myspace allowed users to customise their own layout, letting them instal personal themes and giving users a way to completely overhaul their profiles using codes, gifs, audio and even video and overall letting many commit unspeakable design and HTML crimes. Whilst a fun tool for those wanting a unique profile it often left profiles unusable, illegible and annoying, unlike Facebook who offered one standard design and layout that couldn’t be massively altered.
Offering a standard, simple design allows users to clearly see what’s happening across the website, without too much customisation which could ultimately effect the usability and function and create a equal platforms which stays consistent and on brand throughout.
Myspace could have been a lot more successful if it has tried to utilise mobile technology. Even since it’s beginnings Facebook tried a lot harder to be mobile focused and offered a design which was both simple and practical enough to transfer to mobiles and tablets, releasing it’s first app in 2007, a full year before Myspace offered theres.
Mobile optimisation continues to be an important factor in website design and function, with an increasing amount of people using mobiles, myspace’s downfall was partially down to it’s inability to adapt to mobile devices, don’t let this effect your website.
While Myspace still exists, it’s transformed into an unrecognisable website with an interface and content which seems to combine Buzzfeed with Spotify. It’s come a long way from tacky custom design and your top 8 friends, however took too long to recover from the appearance of Facebook and the rise of other social media websites such as Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Youtube.
If there’s anything we can learn from Myspace it’s that you always need to keep focused on the future and to be prepared for changes in the market what works for your website and your business now, is unlikely to stay current for the longterm future.