The ghouls of social 👻
Here's something that might astound you...
Once upon a time there was a world without the likes of Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. It was a truly strange time where news was watched on boxes in your house, where pictures were shown to friends and family on shiny pieces of paper, and where you'd have to shout really loud to tell people that you are at a concert. Can you believe that?!! 🤣
Social media actually started in 1978, when two computer hobbyists invented the computerised bulletin board system (BBS). This was used to inform friends of meetings, make announcements, and share information. Sound familiar?
Fast forwarding through the beautiful internet timeline have seen the likes of GeoCities, Blogger, AOL, Friendster and Meerkat come and go.
MSN messenger has a warm place in every user's heart. Launched in 1999 by Microsoft, MSN messenger was a instant messaging client which took the world by storm. In 2005 it had over 330 million active monthly users and was a big part of everybody's lives.
330 Million in 2005! Only 8% of the population had internet access, these numbers in proportion to internet users at the time are unbelievable.
When broadband started to rise to prominence the service became more and more popular but what could MSN messenger do? What made it so popular?
Send Files - To instantly send files was a pretty big deal back during the days of MSN and was relatively easy. MSN wanted to do everything e-mail could do but quicker.
Video Chat - If you were lucky enough to own an expensive webcam with an appalling camera like so many of the webcams from the early 2000's you could video chat.
Play Games - Invite your contacts to a quick game of tick-tack-toe or battleships whilst you message.
Where is it now?
With Microsoft launching Skype, MSN messenger quickly became more and more redundant and too many people’s dismay and despite some protests (probably for nostalgic reasons) the service ceased operations back in December 2014 with the last ever message being sent in China!
R.I.P MSN Messenger 1999 - 2014.
Britain's first social network to gain prominence and launch the United Kingdom into the social age back in the year 2000.
Steve and Julie Parkhurst from Barnet started the business in their home after hearing about the American website classmates.com. After a year the website had 2.5million users.
By 2005 the website had 15 millions users and Steve and Julie from Barnet pocketed themselves £150 million pound when ITV bought the website back in 2005.
So what could you do on Friends Reunited?
Find classmates - The website worked on a simple premise. The premise that we all want to know "what ever happened to...". A question we can know find the answer to quickly, but when Friends Reunited first launched this was groundbreaking stuff.
That was the feature of the website. Simple but groundbreaking. The website led to people discovering childhood sweethearts, old friends and establishing a whole new way of communicating.
Where is it now?
In 2009 ITV sold friends reunited for a loss of £125 million pounds to DC Thompson a Scottish publishing company. In 2013 the company announced the website was no longer a part of their integral plans but would keep the website running.
So why not stop by the Friends Reunited website and take a trip down memory lane...
Myspace Tom! Your original friend Myspace friend when first signing up.
Myspace was once the most visited website in the world and even surpassed Google in 2005 as the most visited website.
There's no doubt that Myspace was a real social giant back in the day!
So what could Myspace do?
Profile song - One of the biggest decisions you would have to make in life was choosing which one track you wanted as your profile song. When users clicked on your profile this song would play showing users your unique music taste!
Top friends - Very similar to Bebo, you had the luxury of choosing your top friends which would be shown publicly on your profile. Another feature of social media to ensure havoc and drama broke out amongst teenage users!
Share Pictures/ Videos with friends - In many ways Myspace was very similar to Bebo and Facebook, you could add pictures and videos to create an online bio!
Bulletin Posts- The original lengthy Facebook posts first started back on Myspace, granted they weren't usually for big political statements or poetic stories but it was a unique feature at the time!
Where is it now?
MySpace is still technically alive!
In 2013 Myspace was redesigned and relaunched as predominantly a music network. However Myspace's latest Alexa rank was 1852, it seems like a long time since it was the number one most visited website in the world a decade ago!
However unlike Bebo you can still access Myspace on a desktop so why not sign in (if you can do your best to remember your Myspace password) and access your old photos and see just how far you have come along!
"Share the Luv". Ah Bebo, the original teen social network. Remember deciding who to share your three luv's with and making the massive decision of selecting your other half for the world to see? Bebo was hugely popular when it first launched and will be many teenagers first experience of social media! So what could Bebo do...
Share Pictures/ Videos with friends - In many ways Bebo was very similar to Facebook, you could add pictures and videos and create an online bio!
"Share the luv" - You had the power to give three love hearts a day. What did this achieve? We aren't exactly sure... but hey it's a feature of Bebo and it made it pretty popular.
Selecting your top 16 friends. Yes 16! Even if you only really have 10 friends, Bebo was pretty set in it's ways. Just rank your closest 6 acquaintances to reach the magic 16.
Skins- The glitz and the glamour of Bebo skins. Bebo gave you a unique feature to give your whole profile a glamorous skin. Unfortunately being mainly used by teens most Bebo skins were sparkly playboy bunnies, footballs and fast cars!
Featured Video - Bebo gave you the chance to have a featured video on your profile. You could make a stand out statement about your political stance? Promote a charitable cause? No probably best to put a Basshunter song.
Your other half - Bebo gave you the chance to select another user to be your other half. With teenage relationships this would change from week to week and could cause some serious friction between users!
Where is it now?
Believe it or not Bebo was once sold for $850 million dollars! Then with the rise of Facebook Bebo soon became pretty obsolete. The original owners bought it back for $1 million dollars and relaunched Bebo into....well into some kind of a chat service?
It's now only available on mobile. The app is about creating an avatar to chat with.
The app hasn't been well received. And with the 1 star rating on the iPhone app store, the public will be sticking with Whatsapp for now - sorry, Bebo!
At the time Bebo launched a pretty revolutionary social networking website and perhaps even gave Mr Zuckerberg an idea or two for Facebook.
Did you know? in 2011 Facebook stocks tumbled when people discovered Mark Zuckerberg's ill-designed Bebo account. It really was an eye-sore.
With social media constantly developing and changing, who knows what could be in the social graveyard in ten years time? We'll continue to pour one out for our fallen channels however