Evolution of a social software platform fad

photo of a pet rock toy from the 1970sWhen I see a web-based startup hit a period of “traction” and being “it,” I think back over the past 12 or so years and realize I’ve seen this pattern before:

  1. Geeky friends of the geek who created it start using it
  2. Geeks in some NICHE* use it
  3. It’s described as a site used by NICHE-ers to do a specific NICHE thing
  4. Non-geek cool, young, influential NICHE-ers use it
  5. Every NICHE-er uses it
  6. A series of funding rounds
  7. People in other NICHES use it and it’s redefined as something that can be used no matter what NICHE you are in.
  8. More funding rounds
  9. The geek who created it leaves to pursue other opportunities (in St Barts)
  10. People’s parents start using it
  11. People’s grandparents use it
  12. Something just like it becomes a feature on Facebook, a plug-in on WordPress and aggregated by the Huffington Post.
  13. The only people who use it live in Brazil.

*NICHE – Any gender, race, religion, profession, passion, nationality, sexual preference, et al.