Wataru Manji

June 5, 2021

Why has mixi become unpopular?

There is a web service called mixi. It was born in Japan and was a massive service that dominated the country for a while.

When I entered the university...about 10 years ago, mixi account was our profile, students exchanged information through mixi's community and communicated through mixi's diary. At that time, services such as Facebook and LINE were not yet common.

By the time I was in my 2nd~3rd year of university, the situation had changed drastically. Everyone started using Facebook and LINE, and I remember that the number of students using mixi was rapidly decreasing.

In the world of web services... especially in the field of SNS, it is common for trends to change rapidly, but for me, the rapid decline of mixi was an awe-inspiring event.

Why has mixi become unpopular?

In addition to me, other people who have asked such questions have written various discussions. What I felt by reading some of their reflections is that mixi was too advanced.

What does it mean by advanced? The fact is that mixi supported many of the features that are the subject of popular SNS in 2021 before they did.

At the time, mixi has supported functions such as tweets on Twitter, posts on Facebook, communities on Reddit, and communication through photos on Instagram. It also supported the footprint feature in dating apps and private messages between friends.

People should commend their design for combining so many features into one service without major design breakdowns.

However, only a few users prefer this kind of "advancedness" and confusing to the average user.

It is clear from the current trend of services that it is not the richness of functions but the simplicity of the interface that wins users' hearts.

Especially in SNS, the development and continuity of the service need to have a continuous influx of new users. Unfortunately, a complex interface hinders this.

I tried to do more than one thing well; the interface will get more complicated by the number. So we need to reduce the number of things they can do as much as possible.

That is the policy that can be applied not only to services used by the general public but also to services and tools used only by someone in particular.

When we invent a mechanism that works for a particular thing, we tend to make it work for everything else by appropriating the same idea and interface. Before trying to do two or more things well in the same way, I think it's good to stop and think about mixi.