How Did Facebook Succeed Over MySpace?

I was trying to flirt with some ladies at the bar the other night and after reading “the Game” by Neil Strauss,  I was feeling like my new moves were working. I went to seal the deal as per chapter 9 by getting some contact information but as soon as I asked the chicks what their MySpace address was they bolted faster than…well Olympic Gold Medalist Usain Bolt. It turns out MySpace is no longer the in-thing and my mentor says if I would’ve asked them for their Facebook user names instead….I probably still would’ve struck out.

willy wonka

Everett Collection

Rule #1. Dress like a snowboarding Willy Wonka

Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg is worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $92 billion dollars whereas I assume Carl Myspace, inventor of MySpace works second shift at the windmill factory to support his three illegitimate kids. (Actually Rupert Murdoch and NewsCorp purchased MySpace at its peak so everybody is still rich.) The question is, with the same basic premise, how did Facebook rise to unheard of sites while MySpace fizzled and currently has a “for sale” sign on it?

MySpace thought their greatest feature was the ability to easily personalize your home page. You could post a couple of your favorite songs on your main profile, customize your background with .gifs, and truly give each visitor to your page a unique experience. What that resulted in was a site that looked like Homer Simpson’s web page that bogged down computers and forced multiple people into epileptic seizures.

Facebook on the other hand has a uniform design that stresses more content than imagery. Zuckerberg and his developers tapped into the human psyche and realized that the reason people were visiting another’s profile wasn’t to see a .gif of a monkey with cymbals; it was voyeuristic to see the latest happenings…’creeping’ if you will.

When Facebook realized and accepted what their mission would be, they went all in with their poker chips. Facebook soon made it easier to ‘creep’ on people by enabling users to tag their friends in photographs, check into locations, and easily chat with others who were online. The Facebook newsfeed feature ensured that people would make multiple visits to the site per day whereas others simply sit on the feed and hit ‘refresh’ every 36 seconds.

In the end, Facebook succeeded over MySpace because it strived to be personal and took more chances to draw people to the site. By focusing early on college kids who were online most of the day, Facebook was able to build their popularity exponentially. Note all the privacy settings that constantly change on Facebook. It makes my head spin. Anyway..

Instead of ball-hogging their content, Facebook actually opened up their platform to 3rd party developers…who are the ones you can thank for the 14 Zynga Bingo and Farmville requests a day. (See how to block certain Facebook apps) Either way, these apps also helped build the recognition of the site. MySpace ended up getting stale and was simply looking to make profit after going public as shareholders demand to see growth. On that note, Facebook recently was basically forced to go public and their falling shares indicate they may encounter some of the same issues that MySpace went through. I know I’m personally down to creeping on Facebook 6 or 7 times a day instead of 19 and it’s up to Zuckerberg and his crew to take the latest risk to drive popularity back to the site…either way I guess 92 billion could make for a nice retirement.


  1. Annu says

    Because myspace was slow and twitter and facebook is so much faster, you can message each other right away and it’s also mobile so it’s like recieving a text. I hate social websites but I know how they are and why they would suck, I don’t think twitter will last much longer it’s kind of slow, and what makes facebook great that it doesnt have all those annoying ads popping up and it’s so much easier and convenient to find friends.

  2. Steven Jude says

    My take on this is “hindsight is 20/20, foresight is legally blind”. In retrospect, we can see all the “mistakes” myspace made but that would not have been considered a mistake when they were on top of their game.

    Facebook had their strategy while Myspace had their own strategy. Only one could win and in this story, it was Facebook that won.

    It is only after Facebook won that a lot of “experts” started analysing what made Facebook better than Myspace.