The Fall of Renren

By May 27, 2014

There are a lot of news and comments about Renren recently, but it’s always about Renren’s value going down and disappearing from our life. It’s true for me that the usage of Renren went down from more than 10 times per day to 1 time per month, and I can’t really get the news from my friends as they also stopped posting.

This phenomenon is not new. It began from about 3 years ago, when Sina Weibo got popular even for university students. How did it manage to replace Renren, supposedly the platform made for students?

I still remember that vacation after the college entrance examination, enjoying the happy time escaping from busy high school life and hang out with friends all the day. A friend told me about Renren (at that time still called Xiaonei) and said it’s quite interesting to play ‘Happy Farm’, a social game where you can plant flowers, ‘steal’ from your friends and give a bouquet to them. I had to admit Renren was the most important social tool for my first 2 years in the university: the first thing after waking up and the last thing to do before sleeping is checking it. It’s convenient to search your classmates (even in the kindergarten if you remember the name) and see their recent life. It’s quite enough for the college students who enjoy their free life. But nothing could stay forever and people are always curious about the outside word. Weibo is such a good tool which is more inclusive, with all kinds of people using it, all kinds of news could be seen here. It became important for the students who want to jump from its ‘student circle’, and see what was happening in the bigger world. That was the reason people jumped out.

It’s just from my view and my feeling. I’m always thinking about the people who are much younger than me. Are they also excited the first time they find Renren? Do they also feel good to stick to the classmate circle? Do they regard it as the part of their college life? If they feel the same way I did before, then it’s not the end of the day for Renren.

But so much disruption is happening these days. We spend more time on mobile more than PC, we prefer wechat instead of SMS to send message, we put more money in Yuebao but not banks. It’s always easy to forget the past. But one day when you go through the pictures you post, as well as the comments about them, memories will flood your heart and that will be the thing you miss, the time you’ve been through.

This article was written by Hana Chen, an analyst at L'Atelier BNP Paribas Shanghai.

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