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The stagnation of social networks

I’m on a lot of social networks. And I enjoy keeping up with my online and offline friends on all of them. Building and interacting with a community each day is a lot of fun.

But lately, some of them just haven’t been as engaging or have suffered problems that set them back. And that’s led me to wonder: Are some social networks stagnating?

Foursquare: This social network erupted earlier this year as a lot of Twitter users flocked to incorporate the location-based application. It was used heavily by users to see where their friends are, see where the happening place is on a given night, and earn badges. But I think a lot of users are going through what I am, too: Not a full withdrawal from it, but a huge dropoff in check-ins. I check in to places where I’m the mayor, where I’m close to being the mayor and where I’ve never been before.

How to solve it? Mike Wisniewski of @CometBranding offered a good solution. Read it here. (GigaOM has a story worth reading, too.)

Twitter: It’s no secret that this social platform is quite popular, and growing quite rapidly. And, as a art enthusiast, I enjoy looking at the famed Fail Whale. But it’s been happening too often lately. It seems that the user base is growing — with no sign of stopping — at a rate faster than the company can handle. Even Mashable has questioned whether the company can scale up with its increasing userbase.

How to solve it? Unknown. I’ve read a lot about whether people think Twitter is scalable. But with the rollout of promoted tweets through Twitter’s API, perhaps this is the beginning?

Facebook: Well, I think we all know about this. But the main issue here for me is the terms of service. As Jim Raffel pointed out in his #MKELikemind discussion, how many times has the company changed its terms of service in the past year?

How to solve it? Up for discussion. For me, I tolerate it, only because a lot of contacts I want to keep in touch with are connected with me only on Facebook. That’s what makes this social network more important than others: Its user base is far greater, and growing all the time.

To me, those are the big three. But I’m also on a lot of other social networks and have begun to explore them. Perhaps I’ll soon come across those stagnating as well. Are there other social networks you think are stagnating?

  1. jimraffel
    October 31, 2010 at 7:48 am

    Just stumbled upon this post. First, thanks for the mention, much appreciated.

    It’s interesting that in the time since you wrote this I stopped using and am now using again four square. I actually like it again. I use it in a more limited way. Pretty much when I actually want people to know where I am or when there is a special to be had. The new Android App makes the tool more useful and easier to use.

    Also, love your analysis of Facebook. Pretty much how I feel about it.


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