I really enjoyed Paul Boutin’s article “A Grand Unified Theory of YouTube and MySpace.” He suggests that YouTube and MySpace have become smash hits not because of their social networking features, but because they are “easy to use, and they don’t tell you what to do.” Here are some highlights:

“Given up on BitTorrent because it feels like launching a mission to Mars? If you’ve sent an e-mail attachment, you’ve got the tech skills to publish on YouTube.”

“I think MySpace’s popularity has to do with its puppylike accessibility. A typical page looks like something a Web-enthralled high schooler might have put up in 1996, but with more pics and a soundtrack. I agree with design guru Jesse James Garrett, who says the site’s untrained layout sends a “we’re just like you” message to newcomers. That encourages them to experiment with content genres the site’s designers didn’t build into templates.”

“The easier it gets to use, the less geeky the Net becomes, and the more it starts to look like real life.”

What do you think?