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James Altucher


How did all the top Social Networks go Viral?

Very few social networks started off at zero and then had slow, consistent, steady growth. Usually there was one or two inciting events that caused the site to explode upwards. I don't really know the answers so these are my best guesses below but I'd be curious about what everyone else thinks.

    1. YouTube

    Two things:

    A) creating the "embed" feature which allowed MySpace (the biggest social network in 2005) to allow users to embed videos.

    B) for me: I started using YouTube after I saw Andy Samberg do "Lazy Sunday", still one of my all-time favorite videos:

    2. MySpace

    At one time the biggest social network in the world and then purchased by News Corp for $580 million (and then, of course, declined.).

    MySpace was pretty flat for a long time until they came up with the idea of manually creating the MySpace pages for every local band in every region of the country.

    Here's a quote from a former employee:

    “I worked at Myspace when we were first building music pages,” says Nate Auerbach, Partner at Versus Creative and former Myspace employee. “We knew that it was the music that lived in between or outside of genres that would ignite global communities of niche kids who depended on Myspace to find others like them."


    3. Facebook

    Scarcity: It started with an exclusive community (Harvard) and only slowly branched out (all .edu, then everything else).


    4. TikTok

    TikTok started in April 2014 (it was then called Musical.ly). It didn't fully explode until late 2017, early 2018.

    How come? That's exactly when they added the Duets feature.


    5. Instagram

    There were plenty of photosharing sites. Flickr, PhotoBucket, Google Photos, etc.

    Instagram was one among many until they introduced filters. Suddenly, everyone could look good!


    6. Twitter

    Like Facebook, it originally grew because an exclusive community was using it: Silicon Valley execs and CEOs. But then, because some celebrities were getting into investing, celebrities started using Twitter to communicate with their fans.

    Ashton Kutcher became the first person on twitter to exceed 1,000,000 followers.


    7. Geni

    The largest ancestry site with 150,000,000 users. The site exploded in growth when they allowed for trees to merge. So if one person makes a family tree and another person makes a family tree that overlaps with the first tree, then they can merge. Now there are family trees with over 1,000,000 people on it.

    Question of the Day: guess who is the only President who is not related all of the other Presidents? Don't use Google!


    8. Podcasting

    Podcasting has been around since 2005. I started my podcast in late 2013 and have done about 1000 episodes since then ( @jay_yow07 , we should do a 1000th anniversary special)! BUT...podcasts really exploded with the first true-crime "podcast series" called, "Serial". After Serial was launched in October 2014, over the next year, podcasts hit over 30% of the country for the first time.

    Now, the top trending podcasts are all true crime podcasts. I have to admit, "Serial" was the first podcast I binge-listened to.


    9. If there's any social networks, strategies, facts, etc that I'm missing, please put in comments!

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