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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?

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

    Dan,
    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.

    -Jim

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