Being A Small Social Network Has A low life Expectancy
So.cl is the social network you've probably never heard of. It's relatively small size was seen as a positive thing by its users, a friendly atmosphere and a creative group of people were its defining features.
For owner Microsoft that was never going to be enough, so the news that So.cl will be shutting down won't come as a big surprise.
In terms of social networking there is Facebook and then there is everybody else. And everybody else is toast.
Facebook's strength lies in its ubiquity. For any given person a larger part of their social group will be using Facebook than any other social network. This is the biggest barrier to competing for any other social network wannabe.
If a company the size of Google isn't able to compete - and Google+ is a comparative ghost town - what hope for smaller competitors? Even super hyped newcomer ello proved to be nothing more than a rounding error against Facebook's billions of users.
How open this leaves Facebook to abuse of power is open to question, certainly the US election result and all that preceded and followed is at least partly the fault of Facebook. By accident or design, I wonder?
Anyway. the death of So.cl is disappointing for community members no matter how inevitable the eventual out come was. Still, five years isn't a bad knock, considering how little effort Microsoft put behind it.