Posted on September 19, 2013

the Social Media landscape, serious relationship or flirting?

By Neale Gilhooley, Evolution Design (updated 9/1/14)

I recently came across an amazing graphic drawn to map the social media landscape. What is striking is the large number of sites/platforms/blogs  and how many are not just familiar but how many I have had a relationship with, either an ongoing one or a brief flirtation. Some of them I can’t recall the reason why I signed up, with some I don’t recall why I stopped visiting. They just fell off the awareness map and did nothing to get me back on board. A lack of ongoing evolution and innovation and failure to create relevance in our lives has cost other platforms dearly.

SocialMediaLandscape-300x300In 12 months time how many of these will just be vague memories of even vaguer brand promises? For some it is a case of easy come easy go, but others have raised millions of dollars from Tech hungry VC investors, some with little or no real revenue, just a concept and a website or a blog only. The winners are now part of our lives and the way we find and buy products of services it’s hard to imagine some not being around, unthinkable even. We are familiar with the big value well publicised IPO’s but many probably do not deserve to be around, but the user will decide, or more likely just slip away, off somewhere else.


You can see this short video giving stats on social media and e-commerce with 189 numbers, facts & stats in 3 mins with a Fatboy Slim sound track, really worth watching – (we guessed at the 189 stats it could be far more, and a few could be termed as opinions than actual facts).

Even if you were never a subscriber chance are you will be familiar with the social network called Bebo. It’s a real rollercoaster ride, white knuckle for investors.

bebo-logoLaunched in January 2005 with $15 million of funding, by early 2008 Bebo had over 34 million registered users and 7 billion monthly page views. The founder Michael Birch sold out to AOL for $850 million all cash. Top of the market and later regretted as Bebo lost relevance and users and market share to Facebook and others. Recently Birch bought Bebo back from the bargain bucket price of $1 million out of Chapter 11  insolvency. Although that fall from grace did not happen overnight the loss of stock market value of $849 million is staggering. His plan is to bring Bebo back as a phone app. A case of too little too late. The losers were the AOL shareholders, another company that has changed hands a few times.

If you want to hear founder and current owner talking about his failures and plans he has made a video which can be seen here how very social media of him.

MySpace-300x87RIM (Research In Motion is the brand owner) and its Blackberry are also a case study in how to lose the edge. But they and AOL are not alone in failing to make a bigger success of a social media network, The big boys NewsCorp also eventually failing miserably with MySpace after buying the network for $580 million in 2005. But it looked rosy From 2005 until early 2008, Myspace was the most visited social networking site in the world, and in June 2006 surpassed Google as the most visited website in the US. Then along came the Facebook juggernaut and by June 2011, Justin Timberlake with Specific Media Group jointly purchased the company for approximately $35 million. Another NewsCorp write-off.

Each year the 24/7 Wall Street site predicts 10 brands that will die in the coming year. 2014 includes LIvingSocial the Groupon ‘me too’ daily deal site. But as competitors they have also taken the gloss of Groupon’s share value which were once worth $26 immediately after the IPO now trade for $2.60.  Although that may be party due to deal fatigue by Retailers and customers as well as both Living Social and Groupon being caught inflating deal values and a huge loss of customer trust more here.

You even can buy software to create your own Groupon fully working copy website for as little as $100. That’s a real deal.

So in answer to the question in the headline; serious relationship or flirting? The ones who are serious and successful in engaging with users in a useful relationship are the winners.

Really good article The Evolution of Social Network Sites in 2014, what to expect, published in Jan 2014 by Vyacheslav Polonski (@slavacm). It covers a lot of ground in the social media landscape, mapping it even,

Snapchat logoNew names such as Snapchat have taken over the teenagers mobile phone screens, with content that last for a mere 10 seconds. So Mum & Dad cannot snoop around for old threads as in Facebook. Hence the Dancing Ghost image logo. So how much time and effort does it take to create a post, or upload an image or video for it to only last 10 seconds. An indication of how much time teenagers (mostly) are devoted to their Apps. Some call that an addiction, how do you squeeze in a 30 second advert in there?

Instagram-150x150Also due to be included is some comment on Instagram, and how their $1 billion takeover by Facebook will affect the service as they inevitably try and monetise it.

Instagram has just released subscriber figures claiming that the App has 90 million monthly active users, in defence of negative press. To read about the recent spat between Instagram  and the New York Post claiming their numbers were half-baked data set. Read Wired article here.

Thanks to Ron at Delta Digital for the social media wheel image, I cant find who else to credit the image to.