Easy come, easy go: When was each social media platform generating its peak search interest on Google?

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Remember Myspace? What about Friendster or Bebo? In the short history of the internet, there have been many social media platforms that have shot to fame before fading to black. We've charted the Google search volume for 9 of them since 2005 to see when each was generating its "peak buzz" on Google.

Easy come, easy go

For the old school platforms the charts offer few surprises — steep rises and sharp drop offs as they were replaced and forgotten (we still love you Myspace Tom).

Some, such as TikTok, ascend to mainstream adoption like a rocket ship. Others, such as Reddit, have had a much more gentle path. Since its launch in 2005 it's never been anywhere near as popular as Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat — but for those 15 years search interest for Reddit has always climbed, and just this week the company raised a fresh round of investment at a $6bn valuation.

Twitter turns things around

Perhaps the most interesting trajectory of any company in this chart is Twitter. In 2015 the number of people searching for Twitter was dropping off and it was failing to attract new users at the same rate it used to. For most social media platforms, this was usually a one-way street — once a decline had started, no other had managed to reverse it. Then things changed.

Maybe it was the election of President Trump, who used Twitter more intensely than any world leader before him. Or maybe it was simply because Twitter's often text-first content was timelier than the image and video focus of other platforms. Whatever the reason, Twitter has turned things around, and is once again growing — their most recent numbers revealed 192 million active users, up 27% on last year.

So maybe you can turn a social media platform around when it starts to stagnate, but relaunching one completely from scratch — surely that's too hard? We'll soon find out, because it's exactly what the original founders are trying to do with Bebo — which they plan to relaunch this month.

Want us to add more social media platforms to this chart? Hit reply, and we'll add them next time.

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