As the decade comes to a close, let's walk down the memory lane to recall social media platforms that once had users hooked but are now nowhere to be seen.
With social mediascape growing by leaps and bounds, it is imperative for platforms to keep up with the new trends and dynamics. While the Facebook family and competitors kept pace this decade, some social media platforms withered over time.
Social media has gone through many incarnations over the years. Many apps attempted to capture niche, giving the basic purpose of connecting people, a technological or fun twist.
We could connect through anonymous replies or through Live streams or express ourselves with 6 seconders - the decade witnessed many social media apps that maybe only for a brief period but definitely had us hooked and now are no where to be seen.
Here is the list of some of the most famous social media platforms that rest in peace now.
1. Dubsmash (2014)
Dubsmash was launched in November 2014. Within 9 months of its launch, in August 2015, it crossed over 75 million downloads. Fans went crazy with the lip-syncing feature and brands too, latched on to it for engagement.
However, it failed to understand user behaviour, organise fan meetups, and expand marketing budget and gradually slipped into the abyss of internet memories.
2. Ask.fm (2010)
Launched on 16 June 2010, Ask.fm quickly gained popularity among youngsters. The platform allowed users to ask questions and post responses anonymously or otherwise. After instances of hate, self-harm and bullying came to light, the popularity of the application dwindled.
3. Orkut (2004)
Orkut was launched in January 2004 and proved to be a big success in India and globally. Can't get over the scrap competitions and friends' Testimonials still, can you? While Orkut bought the social media bug to India, Facebook, which debuted two weeks after Orkut's launch soon surpassed the former's popularity.
Post the success of Orkut, social media platforms such as Tagged and Hi5 also hit the Indian market for a blink and miss period.
Orkut had 19 million users in India when it lost the top spot to Facebook. Google finally shut Orkut on September 30, 2014.
4. myspace (2003)
Launched in August 2003 to offer an interactive, user-submitted network of friends, personal profiles, blogs, photos, and videos, Myspace beat Yahoo! and Google to become the largest website in the US by page views in 2006.
With the launch of Facebook, things went downhill for myspace. News Corp sold MySpace in June 2011 for just $35 million. Though it's still active, it has lost a major chunk of its userbase.
5. Friendster (2002)
Friendster garnered 3 million users within a year of its launch but shortly entered a close competitive space with Facebook and Myspace. Apart from social networking, the website allowed users to share news and event-related information.
Friendster turned into an online gaming platform in 2011. Due to slow loading time and poor design, it was disabled in 2015.
6. Google+ (2011)
To counter the popularity of Facebook, Google decided to launch Google+ in 2011. Integrated into Gmail, it offered users the option to categorise their friends into 'circles'. However, it remained a mere afterthought in social media and ceased to exist in 2019.
7. Vine (2013)
This video hosting service allowed users to share six seconds long looping video clips. The app was acquired by Twitter prior to its official launch and ended up becoming the most downloaded free app in the U.S at its peak in 2013. In India too Vine caught on like wild-fire seeing the rise of many Vine stars such as Gaurav Gera (remember the Shopkeeper videos?) Supaarwoman, and more.
However, it didn’t last long. Vine was unable to adapt as well as its rivals. On October 27, 2016, Vine announced that Twitter would be discontinuing the Vine mobile app.
8. Meerkat (2015)
Meerkat was a platform that enabled users to broadcast live video through their mobile devices. Meerkat users had the option of streaming videos directly to their Facebook and Twitter followers as soon as they went live. The app was very short-lived and was shut in 2016, a year after its launch - though it did manage to create ripples in the time frame.
9. Google Wave & Google Buzz (2009 and 2010)
Google Buzz launched in 2010, replacing Google Wave, which launched a year prior in 2009. These apps were launched by Google to develop a social media site to challenge Facebook. The platforms allowed users to share posts with friends. Due to privacy issues and complications, both platforms were doomed to be added to Google’s project graveyard in 2011.
10. Sarahah (2016)
This was a serious social media phase. Sarahah emerged in 2016, helping people provide 'constructive' feedback to users. The platform allowed people to contact users and enable replies anonymously.
A petition was rolled out in 2018 to ban the app as people started receiving abusive and harassing messages. The app was removed from Google Playstore a month later in 2018.
Social networks come and go and it becomes challenging to survive in this highly competitive space. To understand the online market, it's obligatory to keep an eye on what the audiences are liking and evolve accordingly. Social media platforms that survived the last decade have shifted their business plan with changing tastes of the target audience, which is why they are likely to be on your mobiles in 2020 and onwards.