Flashback Fridays: The Ghost of Failed Social Media Platforms

millennials and failed social media platforms

Admit it—you had an emo phase around 2005 when screamo music was all the rage, and Vans Warped Tour reached its peak. You spent days combing your hair to juuuust the right angle that covered that annoying pimple on your forehead to take your MySpace profile picture (probably one of your first selfies before they were even called selfies). You carefully chose the perfect profile song to match your mood for the week, and you rearranged your Top 8 Friends based on who didn’t piss you off that week. Some people just don’t get me, you thought.

While I’ve got you in the mood for a little nostalgia, let’s take a look down memory lane at some of the first failed social media platforms—the ones that attempted to connect people online way before Mark’s team of nerds monopolized the whole social media game.

The Ghost of Social Media Past

The Internet is truly a place for opportunity—but only if you’re doing things that support and engage your audience well. Doing the Internet right is a science, people. Here are some social media sites that died and the reasons why they failed so miserably.

Ping: The social music platform

Ping was a feature added to iTunes by Apple in 2010. Now, don’t get too excited about this “innovative” Apple product—it only lasted until 2012. Its original intention was to be the social media platform for music lovers. You could add friends, follow your favorite artists, check out concerts coming up in your area, and find which songs your friends were listening to.

So what was such an issue with this platform? Ping basically made users start from scratch adding friends to their profiles. Apple’s goal was to partner with Facebook, so Ping users could more easily find friends they were already connected with. However, that partnership failed. Thanks, Spotify.

Friendster failed to be Facebook

Friendster is another one of our favorite old social media sites before Facebook. Launched in 2002, Friendster was the first network that allowed users to create personal profiles and share content like videos, pictures, and comments. You could also check out events near you and the latest news in pop culture.

Unfortunately, after a site redesign in 2009, the site experienced a massive drop in traffic. The site was just difficult to navigate. Friendster failed to grow and adapt into the social media platform users wanted. They prioritized the content shared onsite, rather than the connections between users.

Orkut: Just weird and trolly

Orkut (as you can probably tell by the name) is another one of the little-known failed social media platforms. Surprisingly, it was a Google product launched in 2004 after they failed to purchase Friendster. On Orkut, you could add friends, share content, rate friends, and add them to lists.

Despite being run by the Google Giants, the platform had really crummy mechanics. It allowed users to link to anyone else on the platform. It did not require consent from both parties in order to exchange messages or view profiles. Thus, the culture of Internet trolls and harassment probably ensued.

Instead of fixing Orkut, Google focused their energy on their other social media platforms, like YouTube and Google+. Thank goodness.


Ah, MySpace—every 20-something’s favorite nostalgic failed social media platform. This site was many people’s first experience with social media. However, unlike the rest on this list, MySpace didn’t really fail, per se’. It just failed to stay relevant.

This old social media platform simply declined in popularity after the rise of Facebook. Once champion of the social media game, MySpace seemed to have the capital and resources sufficient enough to evolve with our ever-changing Internet culture. However, they just stayed the same and became obsolete.

What Makes Our Current Platforms So Successful?

The best social media platforms for marketing know something that these failed social media platforms don’t. To keep users on your site and to keep growing, they adapt, update, and listen to their audiences.

Feedback from surveys (or just complaints filed on a Support page) leads social media giants like Facebook and Twitter to better understand what their target audience wants. They grow with them. They also stay aware of the successful things their competitors do—Instagram certainly does.

Staying Relevant with Post Launch

Even though most of us here at Post Launch had our very own emo phases and spent hours on end choosing just the right eight people to be featured on our MySpace profiles, we’re far from stuck in the past. Our social media management services are forward-thinking, ever-evolving, and high-quality. Contact us to learn more.

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