Microsoft will close So.cl, its very low-key social network, on March 15.
Microsoft soft-launched So.cl to students only in May 2012 and billed it as an “experiment in social search” because posts always started with a Bing search. The service was made available to anyone in December 2012 and then … crickets.
The service has scarcely been heard of since and if Microsoft has ever revealed user numbers, it appears to have done so in private. Statistics-selling service Statista doesn't include So.Cl on its list of the 22 most-used social networks, so it seems safe to assume that So.cl had fewer than 49 million users, the figure attached to messaging called Kakaotalk. Probably orders of magnitude fewer.
So.cl's death notice offers no explanation for its closure, but does say that running the network taught Microsoft “... 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.”
If Microsoft chooses to use those lessons, it has plenty of opportunity to do so as Statista says LinkedIn had 106 million active users in January 2017 and Skype had 300 million. The combined number would see Microsoft leap-frog Twitter's 317 million active users, but leave it behind the likes of Tumblr, Instagram and runaway leader Facebook's 1.871 billion active users.
Microsoft has given So.cl users eight days notice of the service's demise. The death notice has generated six (6, as in 3+3) comments in the three days since it was posted, suggesting the service will not be widely missed. ®