MySpace as a cautionary tale: social media sites should consider keeping it simple

A quick thought sparked by the recently announced changes on the way for Twitter: the major social media sites need to learn that sometimes, it’s better to keep it simple. I’m sure some of this sentiment comes from my natural, reflexive resistance to change. But some of it is a real concern about changes that sacrifice usability for bells and whistles. (I’m a big fan of LinkedIn, for example, but it’s recent alignment with Twitter is a big step backwards since many users automatically synch the two sites. Sorry, but when I’m focused on my professional life, I don’t want to know what song you’re listening to on last.fm.) When MySpace decided to add features that turned the average user’s page into something that looked like a 7th graders sticker-festooned Trapper Keeper, it wasn’t necessarily an upgrade. When the community complained, MySpace ignored them at its own peril. Are Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn making the same mistake?

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