Social media has been around for quite a while now. Little did we notice that it has been two decades since its rise (together with the rise of internet). Different social media platforms actually came to existence either to supplement what other platforms don’t have, or to be a platform’s competition.
According to First Page Digital, social media is “an online platform used for social networking, content creation, and microblogging.” But as technology evolved, so did the purpose and definition of social media. Currently, social media could be defined as “a marketing tool for brands to expand their reach” on top of being a tool for networking.
That being said, it is understandable why some social media platforms did not survive. Some had their glory days and took a peak for quite a while and eventually just faded in the background. Others just launched and barely made it and never had the chance to become popular.
One big reason could be because they could not keep up with the demands of their users. Hence, everybody just left and migrated to other thriving platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Tumblr.
In this blog, we try to name a few of the most popular social media platforms back then that just wasn’t able to keep up and finally ceased to exist.
Friendster was very popular back then. Those who are in their late 20s up to early 30s could actually attest to that.
Back then, Friendster was THE platform. Everybody was in it. One of the most sought after feature of Friendster was the Testimonial page. This is where your friends write actual testimonials about you! People were raving for this feature and some even asking their friends to post a testimonial about them with the promise to write a testimonial back for them. It was a bit of a conceited idea but it was fun to read what a person thought about you.
Another great feature about Friendster was that its profile page could be customized using CSS code. At that time and age, you would think everyone was an expert in CSS when actually, people just use CSS generators to help Friendster users customize which part of their profile page they want to change. Other programmers who are also good with CSS make designs and share the CSS for it for those who want to use it.
But where did Friendster fail?
The platform redesigned their website around 2009 and that’s when web traffic started sliding down for them. Site performance was low and loading time was taking too long that just shooed everyone away from Friendster and looked for other platforms like Facebook.
It relaunched as a gaming platform in 2011 but never really peaked for them. It finally closed in 2015.
Key takeaway: Loading time could drive traffic away from your website.
Google+ was something promising when it launched. It wasn’t only a page for personal profiles but it catered to businesses as well.
The platform launched around 2011 to somehow compete with Facebook. However, it wasn’t able to keep itself up par with its mighty competition.
It was promising at first knowing the powers of Google and how influential it was in reaching the general public. But it seems like the search engine giant wasn’t able to capitalize on their own social media platform.
So how come a platform that is backed by one of the largest corporations failed in social media?
Simply because there wasn’t “social” about it at all. Users found the platform rather a useless one. There seems to be no room for networking. The interface also looked too boring to even want to start a conversation or share anything to anyone. It was just a disaster waiting to happen.
Key takeaway: Remember that when we talk about “social media”, we should give importance to the ‘social’ part. Meaning, focus on what makes people tick.
Myspace was like a haven during its early years.
It’s where everyone post and share bulletins and send messages. But the biggest role that MySpace played during the early 2000s was that it gave musicians a platform to upload and share music before streaming was even the ‘in’ thing.
It was once the most visited social networking sites during its early days and has over 20 million active users. It was even more popular than Friendster (during its glory days) and Facebook (during its early inception).
But as years passed and as the needs of their audience evolved, they were just stuck and it spiralled down for them.
MySpace is still somehow lingering but can now be considered dead. After all, it has neglected the wants of their users – their interface can speak for itself as it remained to be as plain as it was before. While they boast to be a platform for new musicians to post their music and has centered everything to music now, it just can’t keep up with the changing times. They can’t even keep up with current music streaming sites! Worse, it has deleted millions of music files from it database – a proof of poor archiving.
Is there still a way to say MySpace? We don’t think so. Or maybe with a major overhaul. But if they weren’t able to do that long before, there’s no point in doing it now.
Key takeaway: Always learn and get to know your audience. Adapt to change.
Remember how huge Vine was?
It was one of the best platforms for short form videos. A lot of YouTubers and other social media sensations actually came from Vine!
Vine allows users to records 6-second short videos; quite too short if you come to think of it, but the creative people in the interweb didn’t find this a problem at all. You’ll find yourself in a perpetual loop of 6-second videos of fun, laughter, and just pure amazement.
But if it was so phenomenal, why did it die?
Just like MySpace, Vine just failed to keep up with its competitors with new features and design interface. While it was still a fun platform, people especially those who produce content were just looking for something new. While the content was always on point, there just isn’t something new to look forward to anymore.
Right now, TikTok is catching from Vine’s fall. But it would never be the same as the witty, concise content of 6-second videos.
Key takeaway: Always find something new to offer.
People always crave for some platform that they can linger in. Right now, our big guns are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.
What these platforms are doing right is that they just keep themselves updated as to what people would like to see in their apps. There are new features every now and then that people seem to be fond of making photos, videos, and other online content viral and worth sharing.
These changes allow users to interact with each other – a proof that there is something “social” in social media.
The only downside now is how Facebook is trying to monopolize everything with their acquisition of one social media platform over the other.
If we look into Instagram and Facebook, while integration of some features could make it easier for people to share content from one platform to the other, but it has become redundant, repetitive, and it makes it just one-dimensional. There seems to be nothing special about one over the other anymore.
The monopoly that Facebook has is also a huge concern on user data and how the platform uses them. Face recognition could also be a concern.
Could anyone stop Facebook from acquiring almost anything that peaks and might threaten their reign? We guess, maybe not. It would take another giant such as Facebook to bring down other social media platforms. Just like it did to the social networking sites we all loved way back.