Above the fold: The Legacy of Social Media startups

Today, we have thousands of social media apps being launched at the same time. But only the truly old, grey-haired folk remember this was not always the case. What if I tell you that most apps you see today will be ancient dust in four years?

  • Anika
  • Thu Mar 09 2023 3 mins read


    Social media platforms are particularly interesting because their market is especially volatile- meaning it's a hard road up and slick, easy path down.

    However, because their lives are so short, we can easily appreciate every part of a start-up's life.

    Entering the Market: An unknown need

    To join the legacy of start-ups, it must first successfully enter the market. The basic principles of any successful initiative haven't changed since its inception.

    • Be original: Meet the grandfather of social networking sites-Friendster (2003-2011, as a networking app). It was the first network where members could share media and converse with friends.
    • Or simply do it better: Naturally, Friendster did hit the grave at some point and was happily laid to rest by Myspace and Facebook.

    So you see, there are only two ways to enter a market. Either give people something they didn't know they needed; Or, make them realize they don't need something else.
    And if you manage to do neither, you'll end up like Google+, a service even Google doesn't understand

    Navigating the market: a volatile Market.

    Once you do successfully become popular, the ball has just begun. New challenges and in return, new characteristics define a successful start-up.

    • Scalability: The primary reason you now remember Facebook but not Friendster is that Facebook handled its growth better. When Friendster began to grow, their site became slow-leading to unsatisfied users.
    • Vigilance: A slightly unresponsive site for a short while wouldn't be such a big deal is what you'd think, but that is where the true volatility of social media networks shines. This wouldn't have been a problem if Friendster were the only established platform. ( Nobody quit WhatsApp because it was down for a day.) In markets with fierce competition such as these, every start-up has to be extremely vigilant.

    Because any slip-up you make might be the only slip-up you make.

    Surpassing the market: a different face.

    Once all of its said and done, we arrive at one of the most interesting phases of a start-up -it's maturity.

    • Lack of funding: Just like any start-up, social media platforms have run out of funding and have been bought by bigger players in the market. An easy example would be the purchase of Myspace by Facebook.
    • Irrelevance: The speedily evolving landscape in this market leads to a loss of old players just as it leads to new ones. We can see that happening right now as the growth of Facebook stagnates-and they try to retaliate by offering what people like now, rather than what people liked before.
    • Organisational Acumen: Finally, a start-up might successfully redefine its identity. This is the case with LinkedIn- a superior, professional Facebook.

    So that was it for social media start-ups; they did their best to make it, and we've done our best to explain it!

    Above the Fold is E-Cell's newsletter, offering a short glimpse into the entrepreneurial world

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