A lot of folks have asked me "What went wrong with Friendster? Why is MySpace any different?" I guess i never directly answered that question, even though i've addressed the causes in other talks. Still, i guess it would be helpful to piece some of it together and directly attend to this question.
* Social technologies succeed when they fit into the social lives and practices of those who engage with the technology.
* People use the social technologies that all of their friends are using.
* Social technologies need benevolent dictators who love their constituents.
* It's not all about productivity.
* It is not about technological perfection.
* Is it all a fad?
This essay by Danah Boyd is worth a read. Danah is a Berkley PhD student who has been watching this space very closely for quite some time now and has always shown some good insight. Also take a look at the followup post where she talks about the term "super publics" in the context of traditional communications theory.
Friendster lost steam. Is MySpace just a fad?