This week’s Tedium newsletter dives into the disappearance of design customization on modern social platforms (e.g. Facebook, Medium, Substack, etc).
Choice quotes on MySpace’s accidental power perk of custom coding:
“On the fly, developers Gabe Harriman and Toan Nguyen, building the site on the cheap, quickly rebuilt the platform in a language they knew. And in haste, Nguyen forgot to turn on a feature that prevented end users from adding HTML into forms. […]
MySpace was often a shitshow of profiles that broke apart because its killer feature was a product of bad coding rather than a well-thought-out concept, but it was still an important one because of what it represented. […]
In many ways, the happy-accident design solution MySpace uncovered by sheer chance might have cost us some true tinkering abilities in our modern platforms.”No Room for Design (Tedium)
Tumblr — bought last year by Automattic, i.e. WordPress.com — was the last major social platform built with real customization in mind.
There’s more to the Tedium piece, including thoughtful bits about Facebook’s introduction of the news feed, and the implications of that decision on the evolution of social media and contemporary culture.