Social media has been around since the late ’90s. Though Facebook and Twitter have become household names, plenty of social networks have floundered — and even failed — over the years. Just think, MySpace was all the rage in 2002 and by 2009 it was struggling to maintain relevancy.
As sites like Pinterest, Instagram and Foursquare make a play for ad-based sustainability, it can be easy to forget about the networks that came before. The challenge with social media is the fickle nature of social media users. Digg and Xanga both seemed done for but could become studies in the art of the pivot.
Indeed, upon closer inspection of social media’s brief history, perhaps the mega successes of Facebook and Twitter are simply anomalies. And who knows, maybe 10 years from now, when we’ve moved on to the next big social media phenomenon, we’ll all laugh at how important today’s popular networks seemed.
Here’s an infographic, created by the folks at WhoIsHostingThis detailing the rise, fall and return of some of the early social networks. Can these relics make a comeback? Time will tell.