MSN Messenger and Cargo Cults

While Chris Pirillo’s review of MSN Messenger 7.0 is worth reading just for its lip-smacking savagery, there are some serious points here. Reading this, Microsoft increasingly reminds me of one of those out-of-it kids you met in high school who, tired of being on the outs, studies hip kids like a homework project and then comes to school one fine day aping them. Trouble is, however, that because they are only copying something they don’t understand — call it cargo-cult behavior — they go through the motions and end up looking as adrift as ever:

The Mess Called MSN Messenger

1. Why can’t I remove any of the tabs? I can understand why you think I’d want them all there, but… you’re not me. This isn’t your experience, this is *MY* experience. You really, really want me to use this and recommend it to everybody? I guess this truly is MSN’s Messenger – although you shouldn’t make me feel that.

2. I’m not on the dating scene – why do I need to see the Heart tab?! If you want to serve up something relevant, and you’re *NOT* going to let me remove the darn thing, at least refer to my Passport profile that I set up – saying that I’m already in a long-term relationship. If your service had any sense, it’d give me offers for flowers for Algernon Ponzi. But it’s not smart – it’s just loose pieces, hastily joined. A real messenger would already know that.