Remember Friendster? Yeah, I barely do either. Until recently, I hadn’t logged into my Friendster account since 2006, which is like the 19th century in internet years, but it did exist and when the history of the web is written, its significance will be duly noted.
In case you’ve forgotten, Friendster opened the door for Myspace to come along and take its template to the next level, only to have Facebook come along and take it to the next level from there, effectively killing them both in the process. So I think that I can say, without sounding hyperbole-ish — considering that Facebook is now like its own web within the web, and the web is a place where many of us lead second, significant lives — that Friendster, which launched in 2002, effectively changed the world.
Yeah, that may be a little too much, but whatever.
Regardless, I have to say that I did feel a little bit overcome with a sense of sadness when news broke this morning that Friendster will be deleting all photos, messages, comments, and blogs — basically most of what you could possibly have on Friendster — from its database of tens of millions of profiles on May 31.
In a message to registered members, the company is asking all users to install a custom application to export all their profile data, as most of it will be unequivocally deleted on May 31, 2011.
On the help forum, Friendster encourages all users to use the ‘Friendster Exporter’ app to download or export their profile information, friends list, photos, messages, comments, testimonials, shoutouts, blogs and groups. Options include porting content to Flickr or Multiply.
On May 31, Friendster will move to wipe out all photos, blogs, comments and groups uploaded or created by its users. The company will, however, keep all accounts alive, along with user friends lists, games details and basic profile information.
Friendster is making the changes under the guise of reinventing themselves as a service focused on “entertainment and fun” (which sounds exactly like Myspace when they started feeling the Facebook heat for real) … The new Friendster should be going live in the coming weeks and focus mainly on Asian users.
The focus on Asian users isn’t actually that much of a surprise, as the site is, for some reason, still sort of popular there (Friendster is to Asia the way David Hasselhoff is to Germany, apparently). And sadly, I suppose the deletion of the majority of the site will make it impossible for future “internet archeologists” to made discoveries like the one made in this hilarious Onion skit.
See you on the other side, Friendster. You were my first encounter with a brave new world and I can still recall that sense of wonderment I felt overcome with when I headed home after scoring my first piece of social media ass. “I can’t believe the internet just got me laid!”
Thanks for the memories, friend.