What Kills A Social Media Platform ?

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Several popular social media websites and domains have lost their luster over the years. While most of them remain open to the public and may still be used today, they are often mere shadows of their former selves. Social media sites such as Friendster, Hi5, Myspace and my journal have all fallen behind the times. Where once millions of netizens journeyed and made much merriment lies an open bandwidth without social traffic.

So what happened to these websites? How did they disappear into obscurity so quickly? Here are a few reasons that might have been the downfall of many social media platforms.shutterstock_114700186

Out-of-Date: Growing Antiquated

Sometimes, social media sites fall to the depths simply by failing to adapt to the fast-paced changes of the Internet. Older readers may remember that social media is as old as ARPANET and Compuserve. Boards and forums were abound back in the golden age of the World Wide Web, and others discussed and debated about everything under the sun.

But as the Internet evolved, so did its social media platforms. In what seemed like a fortnight, the Internet had become a place where conversations could be held in real time, and images could be posted, shared, and discussed by the masses. Many of the pioneer social media platforms were bought out or simply vanished – they grew obsolete in the face of newer platforms that could meet the needs of the stimulus-starved Internet users.

Competition: Winners and Losers

Other social media sites simply lost out to more user-friendly or more visited sites. Digg is slowly becoming a casualty to the advance of Reddit. Friendster fell from its former seat of glory with the advent of Facebook and Twitter. But what determines the winner and loser in a battle between competing social media sites? A parallel example in the world of search engines may shine some light on the subject.

When search engines first came out, there were several sites that offered similar services. Amongst them were Yahoo and Google. Also in the running were names like Altavista and Hotbot. Today, Yahoo and Google hold the reins of top search engines, while Altavista and Hotbot remain esoteric references.

The determining factor at the end of the day was social visibility and diversification. Since search engines, like social media, rely on social traffic and submissions for greater function, Yahoo and Google ended up on top because of successful advertisement campaigns and business deals that made sure people knew who they were and what they did.

They also worked hard to develop better, faster and more diverse search results than their contemporaries. Finally, they expanded themselves into other fields such as instant messaging, news and tie-ins with other websites and services. At the end of the day, the majority of Internet users didn’t see any reason to use any slower, less diverse search engines. Based on this example, one may relate it to the death of certain social media platforms.

These are just but two reasons why a social media platform goes belly up. Even the experts don’t know just what exactly kills a social media platform. But if one thing’s for sure, it’s that failing to adapt yourself is adapting yourself to fail.

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