All things die.
Humans die. Plants die. Stars and planets die. And so, too, do your favorite social media networks become shrouded in that inevitable darkness that descends upon us all.
Okay. So that’s a bit dramatic, but yes, like all things, even our favorite social networks have a lifespan. An app will debut, quietly rise to become the must-have platform, ride the wave of popularity, and eventually fall into decline as we move onto the next big thing.
But just because we find other networks doesn’t mean those once-loved platforms are erased from our hearts.
Here are 7 social media sites you totally forgot about (and what happened to them in the end).
Has there ever been an app that has burned so brightly and fizzled out so quickly as Peach?
The app, created by Vine’s Dom Hoffman, was a social platform that allowed users to both chat with their friends and post updates on a public profile. (It’s “a sort of a mix between Twitter and Slack,” reported Mashable tech reporter Karissa Bell at the time.)
When the app debuted in 2016, it quickly went viral … for no discernible reason at all. Maybe it was just a particularly slow news cycle? Maybe people were charmed by its logo, which was the ever-suggestive peach? No matter what, Peach quickly blew up and just as quickly fell into obscurity, demonstrating that it was perhaps more a fad than anything.
However, Peach is actually still alive and kicking. You can still download the app and in the notes of a 2017 iOS update, Peach wrote “So you might have noticed that we don’t actively support this app as much as we used to … still, we don’t have any plans to take it down.”
Yo will forever live in infamy as the app that let users do exactly one thing: say “yo” to each other. But the story of Yo’s birth is almost as absurd as the app itself.
The idea for the app came from Moshe Hogeg, then-CEO of photo and video sharing service Mobli. While working there, Hogeg noticed that he was sending a volley of texts to get his assistant’s attention. Frustrated, Hogeg asked iOS designer Or Arbel to design an app with one single button to help him notify his assistant. And thus, Yo was born.
Despite its simplistic premise, the app had a pretty meteoric rise. The app quietly launched in April of 2014 and scaled up the rankings in the app store. By July, the app reported that it earned $1.5 million in funding from investors; in August of 2014, Yo added the ability to attach links and hashtags to yo-tifications; and in September, Arbel told Mashable that the app had 2.7 million registered users and 1.2 million monthly active users.
But, as the saying goes, what goes up must come down. In February 2018, Yo posted a message on Medium, asking users to donate to its Patreon to keep the app alive. As of now, the app still lives, though its future remains uncertain. While researching for this post, Mashable saw that Yo was no longer available to download in the Apple app store. But the app’s developer tweeted that it was a technicality that caused the removal and the app was back up shortly thereafter.
If there is has been a single app that has defined The Culture™, it’s Vine. The app debuted in 2012 with a simple premise: allow users to create and upload short, 6-second videos and share them with friends. But the results were something that not even the earliest Vine adopters could have predicted. Vine soon became a hub for art, with a thriving stop-motion animation scene; it launched the music career of Shawn Mendes; and it got downright weird, in the best, most delightful way. (It also introduced the world to Jake and Logan Paul, so there’s that too).
But sadly, nothing gold can stay, Ponyboy. In 2016, Twitter (which acquired Vine in 2013) announced that it was shutting down the short-form video site for good. Twitter was having its own financial woes at the time and also laid off 9% of its staff.
But the platform’s demise was anything but simple. Twitter’s announcement of Vine’s closure came on Oct. 27, 2016. Later in December 2016, Twitter said that it would it would keep parts of Vine and launch “Vine Camera,” a simplified version of Vine that lets you take 6 second videos to post to Twitter or save to your phone. (i.e. Vine but without the community / social network components to it). The app finally shut down on Jan. 17, 2017.
But plot twist! In November 2017, Vine co-creator Dom Hofmann announced that he was working on a follow up to Vine, which became known as Vine 2. And then plot twist again! In May 2018, Hofmann announced that V2 was being postponed indefinitely.
Meanwhile another one of Vine’s co-creators Rus Yusupov went on to launch a little app you may have heard of: HQ Trivia. As to the longevity of that app, only time will tell. It’s massively popular and also features high profile collaborations with The Rock and The Voice. However, after reportedly accepting funding from tech super-villain Peter Thiel, HQ Trivia faced significant backlash and a #DeleteHQ campaign.
No matter what, Rus Yusupov has one bit of advice from the death of Vine:
Nowadays when you want to shit talk your friends, you just craft a lil subtweet. But back in the day (and by “back in the day,” we mean starting in 2013), there was another tool to post your gossip: Yik Yak.
The app was an anonymous messaging platform that used geofencing to group together communities. The app then allowed those groups to covertly dish the dirt on what was going on in their lives (or other people’s lives). Basically, the app was a collection of anonymous forums for small communities like schools, neighborhoods and so on.
Predictably, the app was rife with scandals. In November of 2014, for instance, two schools shut down in the same week because of threats posted on Yik Yak. And in 2015, the app was at the center of racist incidents at Colgate University.
Eventually, in 2015, Yik Yak began allowing users to make pseudonyms, a notable departure from its core requirement of being anonymous. That didn’t stop the app from being hugely popular, especially among tech investors. In November 2014, for instance, the Wall Street Journal reported that Yik Yak was valued at $300-$400 million dollars after just 13 months.
But for better or for worse, the app is no more. In April 2017, Yik Yak founders wrote a blog post thanking its users and announcing that the app was “winding down.“
That said, Square acquired Yik Yak’s engineering team for $100 million.
Vero was a social network defined not necessarily by what it was but rather what it wasn’t. The app was created in 2015 as an ad-free photo sharing sharing network, seen by many as an Instagram competitor. For years, the app flew under the radar, but, at the end of February of 2018, Vero suddenly surged up the app store, going from fewer than 150,000 downloads to nearly 3 million downloads in about a week.
It’s unclear what exactly caused that influx, but many speculated that Vero suddenly dominated the news cycle because of a backlash against Instagram and its algorithm.
However, that dramatic increase in users didn’t only bring forth good news for the social platform. Users complained that the app kept crashing, unable to handle the sudden increase in users. Frustrated, Mashable’s deputy culture editor Brian Koerber declared, “Vero won’t be the new Instagram because Vero sucks.”
Ouch. But while Vero may not be the new Instagram, it’s still alive and well, despite the fact that we may not be talking about it anymore.
Nowadays, when we think about streaming, we tend to focus on Facebook-owned properties like Facebook Live and Instagram Stories’ live streaming feature.
But in 2015, mobile live streaming had another home: Meerkat.
Meerkat launched in 2015 and became the must-download app after SXSW that year, wooing everyone from media professionals to concert-goers. The enthusiasm for the app eventually led to headlines like “How Meerkat took over SXSW Interactive” (Mashable), “Meerkat stole the show at SXSW. Sorry, Twitter” (CNN), and “How Meerkat conquered all at SXSW” (The Verge).
Sadly for the live-streaming app, it wasn’t all blue skies for Meerkat. The tool connected users through Twitter, and when Twitter launched its own live streaming service Periscope, it cracked down on Meerkat and limited its access to the Twitter API. Though the app did say it saw a 30% user base jump), ultimately, the move indicated that Meerkat was reliant on another platform for user growth which led JP Mangalindan to write for Mashable “The Meerkat bubble is bound to pop. The only question is when.
And pop, it did. The app officially died in October 2016 when the service was removed from Apple and Android’s app stores.
Ello debuted in 2014 as an ad-free social network that valued privacy and would not collect user data. Because of this mission, the app became known as the “anti-Facebook” and quickly gained a passionate user-base, particularly after Facebook instituted a “real name” policy.
But, as Lance Ulanoff wrote for Mashable in 2015, “You can’t build a new social network purely on outrage or even the “less is more” principle.” In 2015, the team behind Ello began actively resisting the notion that it was “a Facebook Killer” by hiring Rene Alegria as CEO. “The media created this catfight last fall — the catfight amongst social networks — positioning us as the anti. That’s not what we stand for,” Alegria told Mashable in 2015.
Finally, in 2017, the app rebranded as a network for creatives. Ello still exists now (the last iOS update before publication of this story was in May 2018) and Elllo currently bills itself as “a global community of artists dedicated to creative excellence.”