How a social network dies
A tentative typology about how any *people to people connection* platform declines
· People who you don’t know add you as friends or contacts.
· People who you only met once add you as friends or contacts.
· People who you used to know and never now see add you as friends or contacts.
· People who are your enemies add you as friends or contacts.
· More and more features get added which appear to be of no use to anyone that you interact with on the network.
· You feel like all you ever see when you log in is the same type of news or status update.
· You realise that when you log in all you are seeing is the same type of news or status update.
· You realise that actually, it’s not a glitch and all you are seeing is the same news or status update.
· Meanwhile, money gets involved. Serious money that makes people take the platform far too seriously indeed, so seriously that they start talking about how they can monetize friendship, like they think that they can actually do it, willfully misinterpreting our acceptance and use of their simulacra for it – a lesser noun or verb, to like, for example– as proof that they are right, rather than the fact we might not be all that bothered.
· People claim you can start a revolution on the platform.
· People claim you can end a revolution on the platform.
· Someone declares that the platform has changed the world, with a straight face.
· Meanwhile, someone decides to make a film about the platform, and in doing so presents the creation of the platform as merely some weird expression of psychosexual payback, ridiculing the idea that the platform was designed to change the world, rather than reinforce the existing power structures and hierarchies of modern, Western capitalism.
· People are aggressively watched while using the platform, by people who are not directly on the platform.
· People realise that they can be aggressively watched by using the platform, by people who are not directly on the platform.
· People start to feel grubby when using the platform.
· People grimace and bitch and moan about the fact that they feel compelled to use the platform.
· People decide digital passive aggression is not the only mode of online rhetoric they need to express, or participate in.
· People see lots of posts on other platforms about how this particular platform is dying.
· Cool kids laugh at you for longer than normal when you mention you still use the platform.
· Shamed by all of the above, but especially the last factor, you move on.
· The platform doesn’t.
No doubt there are other elements to the typology that I have forgotten here.
I would also like to suggest that the most truthful brand name for a social network would be Black Hole. Not only because of it what it does to your time, but that’s how the majority of them will end up, metaphorically speaking.