Social media has been nothing short of a phenomenon, with the success of platforms such as Facebook and Twitter inspiring people and corporations to go on to do great things.
But it’s not all gravy. Indeed, the major success stories, on both an individual and brand basis, are relatively few and far between. For every user of social media who’s really made it, there’s a dozen people who couldn’t deliver on the potential, or gave up too easily, or just didn’t have what it takes.
And the same goes for most of the social networks, too.
The failures are, of course, infamous. Myspace is often touted as the example of a social network that failed. That’s a little unfair, as for many years social networking was Myspace. But users are, if anything, fickle, and once Facebook came along that was basically it for Tom Anderson and co.
(Although, to be fair to Tom, he did manage to cash out at exactly the right time. Not that this did much for Myspace, Inc.)
Friendster was another early social pioneer. Indeed, Friendster can take an awful lot of credit for the rise in social media. It doesn’t matter. Friendster, while still active, is now a social gaming site with less than 10 million users.
Disapora was pitched as the open-source Facebook ‘killer’. It disappeared almost as soon as it arrived.
And it doesn’t matter how much money you have. Apple has an absolute boatload of cash. Ping is arguably the single-biggest social media failure in history. Everything about it was wrong, wrong, wrong.
Somewhat controversially, Google+ also makes this list. Yep, Google’s third major attempt at social networking has picked up a reasonable amount of users, inasmuch as practically everyone who uses any Google product becomes a Google+ ‘member’, but how many of those folks are actually active on the service? The platform still struggles to shake off its early ‘ghost town’ label, and with good reason: for the majority of visitors, that’s exactly how it feels.
This infographic takes a closer look at the top 10 failed social media sites, and inside there are lessons for everybody, including newcomers Pinterest, Instagram, Path and App.net. Twitter and Facebook need to pay attention, too – it’s amazing how quickly you can lose your footing in this very demanding space, often with just a single misstep.