From August 3rd, Twitter decided to officially remove ‘Fleets’ from their social media platform.
If you are unfamiliar with Fleets, it was the section that appeared across the top of the Twitter timeline, and was a way for users to share tweets that expire after 24 hours. The short-lived format is coming to an end due to low usage, after launching worldwide just eight months prior.
Twitter had not seen an increase in the number of new people joining the conversation with Fleets as they had hoped. So, users will now just see active spaces instead (Twitter’s live chat rooms) at the top of the timeline, along with the composer for traditional tweets now updated with more camera editing features from Fleets, like text-formatting and GIF stickers.
New features, new users
For many years now, encouraging new users to post regularly has been a key Twitter strategy, rather than simply consuming other people’s tweets. Fleets was a way to introduce a story feature – a similar offering to popular platforms like Snapchat and Instagram.
Twitter’s Vice President of Product hoped for more. Ilya Brown said: ‘’We hoped Fleets would help more people feel comfortable joining the conversation on Twitter.’’ But the participation soon fell flat.
Now the feature has been removed, it made us spare a thought for the social media platforms of the past – the forgotten and the failed.
Arguably one of the first, most popular social networks in the early 2000s, MySpace was the biggest social platform in the world from 2005 to 2008. Originally it was intended for aspiring musicians to share their work, and UK superstars like Calvin Harris, Lily Allen and Adele were all discovered on the site.
Co-founded by Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe, MySpace soon became the most visited website in June 2006, even passing Google in visits. It was innovative, revolutionary, and a space where people could create personalised profiles, enjoy music and interact with other like-minded people like never before.
During its heyday, 320,000 new users were creating an account every day and it was soon valued at a whopping £8.6 billion. Sadly, by 2010, the newer, ‘cooler’ social platforms like Facebook and Twitter made their mark on the new generation and MySpace soon lost half of its loyal users.
Ignorance is not always ‘bliss’
MySpace made the mistake of ignoring Facebook, simply believing it was just another imitation that would pass. However, it was soon clear that Facebook was becoming a phenomenon that couldn’t be ignored.
The only solution for MySpace was to copy Facebook’s strategy and design in an attempt to keep up the pace, in which they were already left behind. It then attempted to rebrand itself entirely as a music platform, but, unfortunately, it was too late.
MySpace failed because it was too invested in what competitors were doing. It wasn’t created by a team of technical experts who knew how to create an effortlessly coded website. It was run by people in the entertainment industry who limited their unique selling point in comparison to Facebook.
It was never officially a ‘real’ company, it was simply a part of a large marketing company that wanted to create the site with the sole purpose of advertising products. After seeing how popular the social platform, Friendster, was, they discovered that they could also create the same reaction as a way to gain new customers. With Facebook, user experience always came first.
The downfall of MySpace just goes to show how fragile the industry can be, and what was originally the most popular, untouchable social network soon became a shadow of what it once was.
At its height in the mid-2000s, Bebo had 40 million users – which saw over 1 billion page views per week. Bebo was a social network that was incredibly popular for younger teens in the UK from 2005 onwards when the company was founded by UK developer Michael Birch and his partner Xochi.
Bebo was something that was popular in playgrounds across England and soon overtook MySpace as the UK’s most exciting new social media platform for the younger generation. Although business was booming, it was short-lived – and its downfall was expected.
The network had minimal features and was lacking MySpace’s creative flair of cool templates and the ability to have music playlists. Users began dropping off soon after AOL purchased the platform in 2008 for a whopping $850 million.
A lack of innovation
As MySpace and Facebook continued to grow and introduce their innovative features, Bebo began to disappear into the shadows. It came to such a quick ending that AOL CEO, Randy Falco, lost his job over the purchase. The BBC dubbed the buy-out to be one of the worst deals ever made in the dot-com era – which is not exactly promising to hear. In 2010, the platform was sold and declared itself bankrupt not long after.
If you mentioned the Vine app to most groups of children, teenagers or adults, it’s almost guaranteed that you would be hit with ‘iconic’ catchphrases from when the social platform was in its prime.
Considered a social media ‘legend’, Vine helped pave the way for the video to become a marketing phenomenon. It was something way ahead of its time, and the creative app set the bar for how social media and video could work together in harmony.
Vine encouraged users to share six-second video clips that would play on a loop, much like the app TikTok. Many famous stars were discovered on the app, who soon went on to become YouTubers after the platform came to an end.
Launched in 2013, the app had more than 300 million users by 2015 and was the most downloaded free app in the U.S Apple Store during its reign. Up until then, it was the most successful video app ever released.
Unfortunately, after other platforms, such as Instagram, began introducing video features to their applications, interest soon declined and the app came to an end in January 2017.
Vine simply couldn’t compete with other rivals, especially as other video-based apps like Snapchat continued to adapt and grow.
Today, TikTok is now considered the ‘new Vine’ and continues to thrive as one of the biggest social platforms in the world, especially during the prime of the pandemic in 2020.
For social media networks to truly exist, it seems they have to keep their eye on the ball, have the ability to advance features and encourage new users to join – all while relating to the masses. It’s a difficult task, but platforms like Facebook and Twitter continue to keep their name in the game. It’s a learning curve, but channels can either die or thrive at the touch of a button.
Here at Rooster, we curate posts that inspire, educate and entertain. All content is generated in the tone of a brand advocate, which is always meticulously measured and reported in a simple to understand way so clients can see great results with ease. We believe the right approach to social media can make a real difference for your business. Get in touch with us today to discuss your social media strategy.