ITV's announcement today that it is giving up on Friends Reunited - four years after it paid £175m for it - demonstrates that social-networking sites live a precarious existence. The must-visit website or Web 2.0 tool of today will get replaced by a Web 2.1 upstart tomorrow, meaning many of us leave several out-of-date profiles sitting around on the internet untouched.
Four years ago, Friends Reunited was the UK's most-hyped social-networking site; two years ago MySpace took the title; and now Facebook is the website of choice for those who wish to stay up-to-date with their nearest and dearest - as well as 'friends they may (or may not) know' - on a daily basis.
Our recent online survey confirms the current climate of Facebook mania. Of the PCA readers who regularly use social networking services, nearly 50 percent use Facebook, with just over 12 percent using MySpace. Friends Reunited die-hards will be buried somewhere in the 6 percent who use a social-networking site not listed in our selection of the top contenders.
Having seen the pace with which social networking ‘heavyweights' rise and fall, PC Advisor has taken a rather hands-off approach to staying in touch with readers using these tools in the past. We've preferred not jump on the bandwagon by investing time updating services that could soon fall by the wayside.
So why have we started using Twitter, which is currently used by less than 7 percent of the PCA readers who use social networking services, according to our poll?
The three-year-old service has been entering the wider public consciousness over the past few months, with a growing band of celebrity 'Tweeters' boosting mainstream awareness of the tool. Indeed, Twitter traffic increased by 1,000 percent between January 2008 and January 2009.
According to online competitive intelligence service Hitwise, for the week ending 17 January 2009, Twitter.com ranked as the 291st most visited website in the UK, up from a ranking of 2,953th for the week ending 19 January 2008. UK internet traffic to the website has increased by 974 percent over this period.
Jonathan Ross and Stephen Fry are two of the UK's most high-profile Tweeters, using the micro-blogging site to provide fans with deep, meaningful insight into their daily lives. For instance, using Twitter, we learn that Ross ate "a hot banana split and strawberry ice cream thing" at 1am GMT this morning (he's on holiday, apparently).
It's not the sort of news flash even celebrity magazine editors will hold the front page for, but Ross has over 100,000 followers on Twitter, so who are we to argue?
However, for PC Advisor, we thought this micro-blogging tool could prove a good way to keep you abreast of the latest goings on in the PCA office, while drawing your attention to our pick of the day's news stories and reviews.
You can follow PC Advisor on the Twitter home page, add a gadget to your Windows sidebar or even keep an eye on things via your iPhone.
But, aside from short updates on the biggest PCA news stories and reviews, and new features on the website, what would you like to hear about?
All sensible suggestions considered.