Believing that reaching a “tipping point” could allow a network to go viral, social networks work furiously to spread the word and encourage sharing in the early stages of the game. However, they neglect the value of growing organically, focusing on the initial spikes in early growth rather than the long haul.
Enter Ello, which was heralded as “the anti-facebook” much to early users’ delight. However, early users had to wait for invitations to join. In the meantime, interest waned. Those who did sign up found the system lacking too many features. Ultimately, Ello, like many social networks may find a niche audience to sustain them. MySpace is one such network. While achieving early success, MySpace was nearly destroyed by Facebook and other players entering the social media game. But refocusing their efforts on an entertainment audience is bring the “new” MySpace back from the brink. Others in the not too distant past: Friendster, Foursquare, Multiply. Only time will tell if the new class of networks and communities are built to last. (We’re looking at you: Meerkat, Periscope, Snapchat, and Instagram)