To those who went to college between 2002 until the third quarter of this decade, the experience would be incomplete without being a part of the then very popular Friendster. We reconnected with long forgotten high school and elementary schoolmates as well as maintained bond with people we saw in school everyday. We exchanged pictures, sent messages, received testimonials and comments, sent messages, and for some, stalked people we thought interesting. It was the coolest thing invented that time.
In 2006, Facebook was introduced. It took a while before it achieved a level of acceptability in the Philippines, until it has become a near-universal that it is now. Now everyone has a Facebook account, from a 13-year old teenybopper to, I heard it from somebody, 92 year old granny who regularly updates her status and checks what her friends have in mind or what keep them busy at the moment. It is as cool as owning an iPad or being a green activist.
In this age of shameless self-promotion, Facebook capitalized, almost schemingly and smartly, in everyone’s tendency to constantly talk about themselves and to know what their friends and other people are doing, regardless whether the pieces of information are of importance or simply plain ranting and whining.
But what is more worth noting is the very quick oscillation of how we view ‘coolness’ of an object, a concept, or to be more specific of, a social networking site from being the pinnacle of what can be referred to as innovative and great to being something amusing and an artifact from our past.
Despite the spectacular relaunching of of Friendster to recapture its lost members, the attempt grossly failed because the overhaul was too late. Facebook has already dominated the scene leaving Friendster with nothing but those die-hard fans that may have not been aware of Facebook’s existence that’s why they remain stuck in Friendster.
In a conference on blogging I attended yesterday, less than three people raised their hands for Friendster when the speaker did a quick survey of the networking sites the audience are a member of. I even saw some very funny reactions whenever Friendster was mentioned, as if it is a contagious disease. People are running away from it like the plague.
The experience taught me that pubic opinion is very fickle and that our lot can change as drastically as we may be aware of or allow. What we can do, and this applies to companies, businesses, including us, is to constantly be on our toes ready to change, innovate, and adapt to whatever challenge that comes our way.
I’ve never opened, much less updated my Friendster account for more than half a year now, but whenever I receive notification in my email that somebody has left a comment on my Friendster page or to remind me that today is somebody’s birthday, I cannot help myself but to feel nostalgic about what has been and the good ol’ days of Friendster-ing (it does not sound good at all, probably that’s why Facebook-ing has become more popular).
I miss Friendster just as well.