For the past five years or so, there have only been a few social media platforms that have remained dominant in the social media world – particularly Facebook, who is clearly the undisputed champ and has been for quite a few years now. While Facebook is paving the way for communicative social media, apps like Instagram have overtaken its parent company, Facebook for the photo sharing crown among young people. Snapchat, an upstart whose popularity continues to skyrocket, revolutionised photo sharing instant messaging and rose to prominence with disappearing photo sharing features that facilitate fast, informal communication. Twitter on the other hand arrived on the scene not long after Facebook and built a following by combining real-time content with a new thriving sense of security and social interaction built on specific topics like comedy, sports, music and politics.
While these social media platforms have helped define millennials, many of us grew up with alternative websites that groomed us into the sarcastic adults we are today. Let’s take a look at some of those nostalgia-inducing names and examine where their influence can still be seen.
For many of us, Myspace was the gateway to the world of social media. Before anyone knew what “Likes” and “Pokes” were, many of us experienced a little different features, including the all important “Top Eight Friends” and “Profile Songs” you used to express yourself. Myspace came to prominence in the early 2000s when Friendster was running out of steam and slowly dying out.
Eventually, Myspace began to slow down thanks to the upstarts like Facebook and Twitter rising in popularity, which of course became the platforms to cash in on the world-changing potential earlier platforms had shown. But what Myspace established lives on today in the way young people approach social media and built a new way individuals express and advertise their own image and art online.
AOL Instant Messenger was a hub of anonymous chat rooms back in 2010 which was a meeting ground for people to meet digitally and communicate. While the popularity of the service has drastically declined, you can still to this day “chat, share and connect” in a window with that little yellow guy in the corner you grew to love so much.
Although, today’s AIM service isn’t like it used to be completely, as it now serves as a clearinghouse for other, more popular chat services. Now, you can chat with your Facebook and Gchat contacts through it, view your Instagram and Twitter activity, and text message numbers in the U.S. or otherwise.
Chances are if you know what Neopets is, your beloved personal virtual pets you cared for each day probably died out long ago. However, Neopets, which “began way back in 1997,” is actually still online and releasing new content and games for it’s players to enjoy. The site these days is a little different in terms of layout, which tends to come to the change in trends, and has unfortunately lost money and users steadily since around 2010 which has no doubt impacted it’s in-game currency.
Unfortunately, as of right now, there are approximately 3,500 people playing the game steadily.
Friendster, which also ran of the social networks that launched in the early 2010 has been officially reincarnated in Asia. Shortly after the network launched in 2002, it became popular among Americans in San Francisco, who quickly spread Friendster to their family and friends. By 2006, Time reported, the company was opening sales and engineering offices in the Philippines and Singapore, and by 2008, three-fourths of the site’s users were based there.
The company ended up being sold to MOL Global — one of Southeast Asia’s largest Internet providers. MOL Global eventually rebranded Friendster as a “social gaming platform,” and it still draws inspiration from it’s original appearance.