“You are what you share.” These famous words from Charles Leadbeater’s renowned book ‘We Think: The Power Of Mass Creativity’ are extremely apt in today’s times. Your personal and professional resume gain extra weightage, based on the number of followers, and the number of eyeballs your social posts get. The last decade in particular, has seen the evolution of social media in tonnes of growth spurts. It saw TikTok become a household name, and Tinder became the new way for people to find partners. While some social media platforms thrived in this Internet era, some stumbled off the shelf.
The increasingly competitive market space and the ingrained fleeting nature of social media forced some platforms to shut shop as well. The biggest shockers were Orkut, Google+, Yahoo Messenger, and Blackberry Messenger or BBM, as users fondly liked to it. In the face of the competition, these didn’t manage to grab their audience’s attention long enough and were forced to close down. As far as social media is concerned, this was the decade of WhatsApp, Instagram, and TikTok.
We have compiled a list of big social media networking platforms that debuted in and reigned in the last decade, and a list of platforms that succumbed under pressure. Some of the platforms that died saw significant highs at the beginning, only to be shut down years later. This list is filled with nostalgia, heartache, and is a nagging reminder to a massive life reality check – nothing lasts forever.
Instagram is one of the biggest social media platforms in the world right now. The image-sharing app was launched in 2010 by creators Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, and was acquired by Facebook in 2012. It enjoys over one billion monthly active users, and has 500 million users who use Instagram Stories every day. The app was also the second most downloaded free app on the App Store in 2018 (2019 stats still not available). Instagram allows users to share photos and videos, lets you follow friends and influencers, and even post 24-hour snippets called Instagram Stories. Currently, Instagram competes with Snapchat and TikTok in the social networking space.
Snapchat arrived at a time when Facebook and Twitter were already extremely popular, and Instagram was gaining momentum as well. Launched in 2011 by Evan Spiegel, the photo and video sharing app now enjoys 210 million daily active users (as of October 2019). Snapchat played on the idea of disappearing messages, something that wasn’t tapped into before. This feature has since been aped by Facebook in all of its properties – including WhatsApp and Instagram.
Telegram is essentially a WhatsApp alternative, and has grown quite a bit of fan following since its launch in 2013. As of March 2018, the app enjoys 200 million monthly active users, and Telegram gets new features regularly via updates. It competes directly with WhatsApp that has taken the instant messaging world by storm.
Having launched in 2017, TikTok is touted to be the fastest growing social media app out there. It has almost 500 million active users, and was the third most downloaded app in Q1 2019 with 188 million downloads. This is 70 percent growth from Q1 2018. The app looks to fill the void that Vine left, but it offers a lot more. Influencing creators on TikTok are considered celebrities, and it is well on its way to world domination. The latest data from App Annie suggests that TikTok is continuing its explosive growth around the world, with the insights company ranking TikTok just behind Instagram in terms of monthly active users through the third quarter of 2019.
Founded in 2010, Pinterest offers online discovery of information in the form of images, GIFs, and videos. As of August 2019, the platform has reached 300 million active users. Over time, the platform has attracted over 200 billion Pinterest pins, and over 4 billion Pinterest boards. Interestingly the gender parity is quite large, and 70 percent of Pinterest users are females.
Tinder, a unique dating app, was welcomed with open arms. Launched in 2012, it has now become quite popular amongst teenagers. Recent user statistics are not known, but a 2018 report states that over 57 million people use Tinder around the world, out of which 4.1 million Tinder subscribers pay for a premium Tinder Plus and Tinder Gold. Furthermore, Tinder is used in 190 countries, and is available in 40 languages.
If you’re looking for answers, Quora is possibly the place to go to. From questions like ‘Which is the best way to learn programming?’ to questions like ‘Which is the best country to migrate from India and start a new life?’ – all of these are answered in detailed manner by varied users. This platform was launched in 2010, and is now a pool of some great answers. Quora’s userbase is constantly growing. It grew from 200 million monthly active users in 2017 to 300 million monthly active users in 2018.
Facebook Messenger was introduced as a separate app by the social giant in 2011, forcing users to download the app from the app stores if they wished to continue chatting to their Facebook friends. While user base stats of the app are not known, Facebook last year introduced AI bots for businesses to chat with clients easily.
Mastodon, an open source decentralised social networking platform, is fast gaining popularity. Touted to be an alternative to Twitter, the Mastodon community has grown to over 2.2 million people. Unlike Twitter, where one corporation has full control over the rules and regulations, any user can create their own server of Mastodon and manage it.
Twitch is a live video streaming platform that was launched in 2011 and is prominently used for gameplay streaming. It is particularly famous in the US, and as of 2018, it enjoys 2.2 million broadcasters monthly and 15 million daily active users. The platform is owned by Amazon. As of October 2019, Twitch owns 75.6 percent of the streaming market, and YouTube is second with 17.6 percent.
Periscope is also a live streaming app that was launched in 2015 by Twitter. The successor of Meerkat, Periscope has managed to stand its ground in a space where many have faltered. Twitter doesn’t reveal usage stats of Periscope.
Minds was launched in 2015, and it essentially runs on the same principle as Mastodon. The open source network rewards its users with tokens for their contribution and engagement. As of March 2018, Minds has over 1.25 million registered users and 105,000 active users.
Helo is a newly launched social media app made for the vernacular speaking audience. The app has seen a sharp rise since 2017, and it has 50 million active users in India alone. While traditional social media apps are available in the universal language of English, Helo tries to offer solace to the large vernacular speaking audience. The app supports 13 Indian languages.
ShareChat follows the same principle as Helo, and taps into the vernacular speaking audience as well. The Indic language-based social network ShareChat app has been growing steadily over the last two years. Launched in 2015, the app is now touted to be India’s largest vernacular social media platform with nearly 60 million users. ShareChat has some big investors like Xiaomi and Twitter, and latest round of funding was led by the latter. The Bengaluru-based chat app startup is today valued at over $600 million.
Wondering why WhatsApp is at the bottom of this list? Because, it was launched in the latter part of 2009 missing this decade by a few months. While this list is all about the social media platforms that launched and grew in this decade, we couldn’t leave out WhatsApp as its evolution began in this decade, changing the digital social landscape of today. The app became the world’s most popular messaging app in 2015, and as of February 2018, it enjoys more than 1.5 billion users worldwide.
Google+ was launched with a lot of promise in 2011, but succumbed to the competition from Facebook and others. The final nail on the coffin was a major security issue that was reportedly discovered, compelling Google to shut down Google+ in April this year. The company also claimed that its social platform wasn’t experiencing enough usage or engagement from its users with most sessions maxing out at 5 seconds.
Orkut was a household name in India in the latter part of the last decade, but the growing popularity of Facebook got users to migrate from Orkut, leaving it no option but to shut down in 2014. Owner Google said that other platforms had outpaced Orkut’s growth, and the website no longer exists. Google then pegged its hope on Google+, but sadly, that platform also fell off the shelf this year.
BlackBerry Messenger also shut shop earlier in May this year, blaming the difficulty of bringing new users to BBM as one of the top reasons. BBM was one of the most loved instant messaging applications of its time, but its popularity dwindled as competing chat apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger gained momentum.
In 2016, Twitter announced that it was shutting down Vine, a popular video loop app that offered users the ability to make and share six second videos. The app couldn’t compete with the rising popularity of Instagram, and users who were once considered as Vine celebrities started posting videos on Instagram instead. Instagram can be considered as a big reason why Vine became obsolete.
If you’re a 90’s kid, there are high chances that you’ve used most of the apps mentioned on this grim list. While these apps don’t exist today, they were once an integral part of our online social life. Yahoo Messenger was once such instant messaging app that died last year. In its prime years, the service was the most used as it was an alternative to emails and SMS messaging. However, with the arrival of smartphones, Facebook, and eventually WhatsApp – Yahoo Messenger lost its steam and users started to switch.
Initially launched in November 2010, Path social platform served as personal journal of sorts that you could share with your family and friends. This platform gained over a million users once, but eventually died in 2018 due to lack of proper growth and increasing competition.
Apple’s promising iTunes Ping social network failed to gain traction that it had hoped from the users. The music-based social network was launched in 2010, and was shut two years later. It is one of the biggest examples of Apple having difficulty in getting people to use its web-based services.
Meerkat, the once popular live-streaming app, closed in 2016. It was early on the scene by launching a live-streaming service ahead of Twitter and Facebook, but its fame was short-lived.
Yik Yak was an anonymous messaging app for college students that shut shop in 2017. The app rode to popularity after its launch in 2014, but soon became a breeding ground for hate speech, cyber bullying, discriminatory speech, and gun and bombing threat, all under the garb of anonymity. The company tried to bring in measures to curb the slur, while also maintaining anonymity, but it then started to lose user base, and had to wind down operations eventually.
Friendster was one of those social networks that helped kick off the social media era. It was founded in 2003, and soon lost credibility due to technology issues. There were problems in feature launches, and it soon drifted into irrelevance as Facebook gained momentum quickly. Interestingly, in the early days, Friendster investors reportedly had approached Facebook with an acquisition deal, which Mark Zuckerberg then refused. Zuckerberg later bought Friendster’s entire portfolio of social networking patents for reportedly $40 million. Friendster closed its doors on 2015.
Friends Reunited, another pioneer in the social media industry, announced that it would be winding down in 2016. The platform was launched in 2000, but couldn’t keep up with the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. In its closing announcement, the company’s founder Steve Pankhurst said, “It is clear that the site is no longer really used for the purpose it was built for … therefore, it is with a heavy heart, that we have decided to close the service down.”
Pheed was launched in 2012, and the social platform let you share texts, photos, and videos, just like the others. It managed to top the App Store charts in the social networking category in just a year after launch. Aimed at teenagers, it failed to gain the long-term momentum it hoped for. Pheed was sold to American Movil in March 2014, and in April 2016, Pheed was shut down and the technology was integrated to América Móvil platforms.
DailyBooth was a social network that allowed users to take a picture of them every day, and post it with a caption. The website would in turn generate a little flip book style video for its users. While the concept was intriguing, it never truly broke through to the mainstream, and had to close down in 2012.
Tbh app (Facebook-owned)
Tbh app, another anonymous social app, was launched in 2017, and in just a month it managed to rank number one in the US App Store. It was acquired by Facebook soon after, but its fame was extremely short-lived, as the social giant announced its discontinuation in July 2018 due to low usage.
Eons.com was yet another social networking site founded in 2006, and this one tried to cater to the baby boomers and users over the age of 40. The site was shut down in 2012, after a business issue with the service provider was not resolved. To this date, the site remains shut.