The pioneering social network Friendster is dead. The site is deleting all user content on May 31st and will reboot as an "entertainment and fun" service for Asians. In honor of its passing, want to hear your best Friendster memories.
In late 2004, author Chuck Klosterman described the Friendster fever sweeping the nation's hip 20-somethings:
Here is the experience most people have with Friendster: For a few weeks, they hear their colleagues discussing something that seems to make no sense. They hear sardonic buzzwords bandied about in the bathroom and around the Xerox machine. They start getting e-mails that seem like spam, except the messages mention acquaintances by name. And then people start incessantly asking them if they are on Friendster. "I'm not retarded," they inevitably respond. "Why would I waste my time with that shit?" They vow never to join. Everyone does this (at least for a while).
The buzz around Friendster had long died by the time it reached its peak of 115 million users in 2008. Today, the reaction to the Friendster apocalypse—on Twitter and Facebook, of course—has been a collective "meh."
But Friendster was a formative social network experience for a lot of people and a genuine cultural phenomenon. It was where people honed their internet stalking skills and first confronted the stress of crafting the perfect profile. It spawned a dog-themed parody, for chrissake.
So, dear readers, we invite you to share your weirdest, scariest and/or funniest stories from the early days of social networking. I'll post the best tomorrow. Remember: An entire micro-generation never even had a Friendster account and never will. Maybe they'll teach your story in internet history classes some day!
- Put your entries in the comments section of this post. (Some of you have already shared in an earlier post; I'll include those as well.) Please don't email them to me.
- If you're not currently a commenter, find out how to become one here.
- Text is fine, but pictures are especially encouraged. Post your awkward Friendster profile pics if you've got them. They're going to disappear from the web forever on May 31st.
- Entries will be judged not only on content but also storytelling prowess. Make us feel what it was like in the heady Friendster days. But remember, be concise.
- The deadline is noon tomorrow.
- There is no prize but our undying love and admiration.
[Image via Shutterstock]