November 30, 2016
I was recently talking with friends about the life and death of Vine, and how we personally used it. When it first came out, we were avid content creators, making mini-sketches and quickly documenting funny happenings in daily life. Of course, a little thing called Snapchat came along that helped capture that informality we were looking for, and slowly Vine was an app of our past.
It’s not anything new. Social media and networking sites all have their moments to shine before eventually being replaced by something new and improved. But it has me thinking of the other networks and sites that were once such a large part of my life that have gone to the wayside. Put another way, this is the way kids of today will be reminiscing about Musical.ly one day.
Below are some of the sites you probably would have seen bookmarked on my beloved Blueberry iBook (another item I dearly miss).
Xanga was the online journal turned middle-school popularity contest that I sincerely miss — not so that I could start posting again, but so I could relive my chronicling of life as a 13-year-old. It was the first form of blogging I was ever exposed to or contributed, and I remember racing home after school to read my classmates’ entries and hear what they did over the weekend. And because middle school is terrible and petty, every post basically consisted of mentioning whose house you had a sleepover at on Saturday night and humblebragging that your travel basketball team won your weekend tournament. I can only imagine how dumb the posts were, but I did actually learn a lot from Xanga about the basics of HTML and designing my own layouts through simple coding. Sadly, Xanga deleted all old accounts if you hadn’t logged in in recent years, so all my entries and super-sick layout are gone forever. R.I.P.
The words “Chat Roulette” bring me straight to high school parties in someone’s basement with everyone huddled around the screen hoping for something “crazy” to happen. You simply entered the site and you would be connected via video chat to someone across the world. Innocent idea at first, but it ended up getting creepy. Fast. Yeah.
Online dragons/animals/pets that you get to name and feed and dress? Eight-year-old Sam says, SIGN ME UP. It was described as an online cross of Pokemon and Tamagotchi, the game allowed you to purchase virtual items (like food, toys for your pets, paint to make your pets a different color) with virtual currencies, and it even had its own stock market through Neopoints. You could say it was a kid’s intro to an economy. And the good part was that your Neopets never died, so there was no fear of a meltdown over rejection when your Tamagotchi packed up shop ran away. Still scarred.
I laugh thinking about how formal I was when searching for things on AskJeeves.com. Unlike Google, where you would just enter in phrases, people would enter in much longer sentences and include punctuation, as if “Jeeves” was a real person responding. It probably explains why my search results never worked out too well. Sadly, Jeeves was given the boot from the “Ask” name around 2006.
This one is obviously low-hanging fruit when you’re talking about “old social networks,” but can we just address the stress of having a Top 8 and seeing your friends’ rankings?!