For New Social Networks, Offering an Audience is No Longer Enough

Vine, one of the more exciting social platforms of the last 5 years, is officially gone. If you have been paying attention, this shouldn’t be surprising. Numbers have looked stagnant for at least a year and the top creators have long moved on. Vine is to date one of the fastest networks to mint top creators who went from unknowns to millionaires off the platform alone. It had everything that a new social network looks for: dedicated users, an entire community of its own, big company backing, and instant pop culture fascination. So what happened?

To examine at least one major reason for its failure, you need to look to the landscape of social platforms a couple years pre-Vine. For a brief moment on the internet you could build a product, let the world create content for free, and then repackage and sell ads on that content and reap the rewards. These products still exist, and surely hundreds are started, and fail, every day. It was a glorious time for entrepreneurs, you could create new media types, assume the network would lock people in, and hope the space you have created gets filled by creators.

The evolution of social networks over the last couple years has shown that people’s networks turn out to be much more fluid than expected. A creator's network is already fragmented between platforms and shifting them from one that is impossible to monetize to another which they can monetize is not hard.

For social platforms, this creator churn is as deadly as any other user churn. It is important when designing a product to make sure you are able to stop it or your platform will end up in the best case just being a stepping stone for creators.

If thinking about problems like this, especially relating to podcasting, is interesting to you and you are a platform engineer Bumpers is hiring.

Thanks to LINA LOVES IT for helping me edit this.