The social network you probably didn’t know ever existed, is closing due to a lack of users.
Microsoft are pulling the plug on yet another one its projects. The So.cl experiment will be shut down at the end of the month joining other recent projects such as Windows Phone and the wearable fitness tracker, the Band.
The service was launched in late 2011 with many commentators assuming it was a move by Microsoft to directly challenge the likes of Facebook. At the time, such a move wouldn’t have seemed so insane. 2011 was after all, the same year Google launched ‘Google Buzz.’
The final project however, was something more of a strange hybrid where the initial target users were students. The So.cl mission was all about “collaborative consumption, not communication.”
That said, even in its genesis period, So.cl was a strange beast. Users could log in from Facebook and then share searches, collages and images and discuss them with ‘friends,’ a process that could already be done via Facebook itself.
One of the things I remember about Microsoft’s grand experiment was that it never ever seemed quite finished or fully polished. Several features such as the “Video Party” felt like they were great ideas that had been rushed to completion and then just abandoned after they were added.
In what will probably be the final blog post from the Fuse research team that is responsible for So.cl, a statement reads:
“Socl has been a wonderful outlet for creative expression, as well as a place to enjoy a supportive community of like-minded people, sharing and learning together. In supporting you, Socl’s unique community of creators, we have learned invaluable lessons in what it takes to establish and maintain community as well as introduce novel new ways to make, share and collect digital stuff we love. Through you we’ve been able to introduce many interesting ideas… From the very beginning, we’ve been amazed by your creativity, openness, and positivity. Thank you so very much for sharing your inspirations with us.”
So, it’s farewell to So.cl, the social network experiment; a good idea that just didn’t take off.