"Coolness" is about structural barriers, about the lack of universal
accessibility or parsability. Structural hurdles mean people put in
more effort to participate. It’s kinda like the adventure of tracking
down the right parking lot to get the bus to go to the rave. The effort
matters. Sure, it weeds some people out, but it makes those who
participate feel all the more validated. Finding the easter egg, the
cool little feature that no one knows about is exciting. Learning all
of the nooks and crannies in a complex system is exhilarating. Figuring
out how to hack things, having the "inside knowledge" is fab.
Often, people don’t need simplicity – they want to feel proud of
themselves for figuring something out; they want to feel the joy of
exploration. This is the difference between tasks that people are
required to do and social life. Social life isn’t about the easy way to
do something – it’s about making meaning out of practice, about finding
your own way.
– Danah Boyd, Friendster lost steam. Is MySpace just a fad?