By Ben Spielberg and Katie Funk
If I were forced to write a paper about avoiding the Internet at all costs, LiveJournal would definitely be the subject of my thesis. The formula was simple enough so that just about anybody could figure out how to create an account and tell the masses of their successes and tribulations throughout the day. Its ease of use led to millions of twelve and thirteen-year-olds cutting and pasting their favorite song lyrics into every post. LiveJournal’s slightly more embarrassing alter ego DeadJournal marketed itself to a more depressed demographic, featuring the same theme while utilizing skull emoticons and dark layouts to their advantage. Unlike LiveJournal, DeadJournal may actually be ironic enough at this point to become cool.
Xanga believe it or not was the precursor to modern social networking sites. The layout was almost as bad as my old Geocities website, but they were the first to accomplish what all of these websites strive for: providing a space for your voice to be heard. While I would never consider using it today, Xanga used to be a decent vehicle for people to immediately create their own URL extensions and start posting about their days. Needless to say, it was revolutionary… until the next year, when LiveJournal came out and surpassed Xanga by millions of users and a much more efficient (if efficient is synonymous with enabling 5th graders to post about their celebrity crush) layout.
We all remember the days of bathroom mirror self-portraits and customizable profiles accompanied by a catchy soundtrack. MySpace was simultaneously a middle schooler and aspiring street artist’s dream come true. Quite possibly the most addictive aspect: the ability to know how many times exactly your page had been visited at any given time. But then Facebook entered the scene. Trading ‘profile flash’ for simple, interactive functionality, it quickly trumped MySpace as the primary social platform. Now the only ones who still use MySpace seem to be struggling musicians and a few people who just can’t seem to let go.
4. Black Planet
I’m not sure how to talk about this without sounding racist.
5. Chat Roulette
Just by entering the site, you can be connected via video chat to someone across the world. Experience all the fun of meeting a stranger without the risk of abduction, right? Well, after about ten seconds you will realize that most of the users on this sight aren’t aiming the camera at their face. I think you get it.
You probably haven’t heard of it, but Yammer and I crossed paths a little while ago at BTS Communications. Its icon has been sitting on my desktop for about a month now. In an effort to establish some sort of in-office communication, my boss had everyone install the app, which functions like Facebook except that it’s internal to your business. Considering that at BTSComm we all work in the same room, we didn’t have much use for it. I’m still waiting for a Yammer revival.
- Rumor: Justin Timberlake Creating ‘MySpace’ Music Competition? (divamission.wordpress.com)
- News Corp is Selling MySpace for $100 Million (socialtimes.com)