Tuesday, August 15, 2006

What Problem Does MySpace Solve?

A lot of people just don't "get" MySpace. Why is it so popular?

A product manager tackles this question by asking, "What problem does it solve?"

The answer, I believe, is actually quite simple. MySpace solves the problem of keeping up with friends and family. More specifically, if you have a lot of friends and family, you most likely:
  1. Tend to forget about some of them unless you see them on a regular basis.
  2. Don't know what's happening in their lives without contacting them frequently.
  3. Don't feel "close" to them without seeing their faces when communicating with them.
Before such social networking sites as MySpace, to overcome this problem, you had to spend a lot of time and energy making phone calls, sending e-mails, updating a personal web site, and setting reminders for yourself to contact friends. With MySpace, your friends (or at least those who use it) stare you in the face when you log in. It's hard to forget about them. And it's easy to get a good idea of what's new in their lives simply by visiting their profile page.

If you haven't used MySpace, or don't have a lot of friends and family who use it, you probably don't recognize or appreciate the extent of this problem and its facets. The problem is dormant; users only become aware of it after they've fully experienced a new way of doing things.

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