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Is simplicity the secret to social media success?

Matt Kapko | Oct. 7, 2015
Successful social networks tend to abandon their original simplicity. Many of them instead take a 'Swiss Army knife approach,' adding seemingly endless features and losing their focus along the way.

Instagram evolved much more quickly, according to Berkowitz. "It's still about sharing photos, though looking at threads of comments to posts from popular photographers there, it often feels more like a rambling message board than a photography app," he says.

Instagram added video a little more than two years ago, and its private messaging feature came soon after, in an effort to compete with Snapchat and other popular messaging apps. Apps such as WeChat, Kik, Line, Facebook Messenger and others, which started out as simple text, photo and video sharing services, eventually added a wide range of features, including gaming, ecommerce, event planning, news and more, according to Berkowitz.

Very few apps get more streamlined over time, he says. "Instead, it seems that every time an app posts an update in the App Store or Google Play, it's adding some new feature."


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