For my final reflection of the semester, we were asked to think about a topic we discussed that was most relevant to us. This was extremely difficult because there were so many interesting topics to choose from. The first thing that pops into mind is the topic of social networking sites. We presented a snapshot of a social media platform. I chose Meetup, a site that I am very grateful to. As someone who has moved around a lot, I have met some amazing friends through Meetup. However, like many companies, Meetup has gone through its share of trouble. Recent changes have left organizers and members very unhappy. Web traffic has dropped, and Meetup was recently bought by WeWork.
The week that we discussed our social media platforms was very interesting, because we had recently looked at dead dotcoms. We were able to examine what these companies did (or did not do) that ultimately led to their downfall. So as we went through the social media platforms, we were able to look at what current companies are doing right, or what they need to improve so that they can thrive.
So how is this relevant to me? I live in San Francisco, where startups come and go, and the big tech companies thrive. But even big companies can have their problems. In our class, we have been discussing the latest issues with Facebook. We have also seen what is going on with Snapchat. One company who has it all one day may very well go the way of MySpace or Friendster the next. I think the classes where we discussed social networking opened my eyes to just how fast things can change, and it also made me think about what companies can do so that they don’t go the way of the dead dotcoms.
In addition to having a strong content strategy, companies need to listen to their users. User testing should be continuous, and feedback and activity from the live site should be monitored, and changes should be made as needed. Users also need to be able to trust companies. We give so much information, sometimes without even realizing it, so when a data breach happens, it can be a wake up call, and people can grow wary of that company. When people lose trust and get fed up enough to stop using a social network, the results can be very harmful to the company.
I really hope that Meetup will start to listen to its users, and that the company will make the changes it needs to be successful again. The CEO had also mentioned that he plans to use AI, so perhaps utilizing new technologies will help Meetup.
I think that goes for all social networking platforms. They need to be willing to experiment, stay on top of the latest trends, and use the latest technologies. Users must be able to trust the companies, while the platforms take risks by trying new things to make sure they stay ahead of the game. But ultimately, if something isn’t working, they need to listen to the users so they don’t become just another dead dotcom.