Ello, Goodbye: Remembering Social Media Networks of the Past

You guys have heard of this new social media network called Ello, right? Over the past week or so, I kept seeing it on Facebook (ironically) and around the internetz, and still didn’t really understand what its deal was. For those of you who need the DL on Ello, it’s an invite-only social network that is kind of like Facebook, but without ads. My friend described the look of it as a “hipster Facebook”, with clean lines and simple design.


Now, I don’t know about you, but if you already hate Facebook, I’m guessing you don’t want to be on another social media site. Most of the people I know who quit FB or barely log on or don’t have an account at all hate that FB inundates you with all the details about your “friends” lives, so if Ello is supposed to be an alternative to FB, why would anyone sign up? Plus, it’s just another website to forget the correct user name/password combo. I get the whole curiosity of it all, so if you’re on Ello, let me know how it goes for you.

But also remember that since we live in a world where there are more social media networks than people in China (not an actual statistic), new startups have to be one-of-a-kind and standout in the crowd. Moreover, our generation of Millennials, while we aren’t exactly close-minded when it comes to new networks (we did have to figure out how the internet worked as tweens, after all), we are also selective as to what we decide to spend our time on. While time will only tell for Ello, let’s take a look at some other social media sites that have gone to the internet graveyard in the past few years.


In Tom’s defense, MySpace was a big networking site for a long time. I admit, even I spent a little too long deciding what the theme to my profile page should be and who my top 8 were. But to me, MySpace always had a skeezy quality to it – like a prime breeding ground for Catfish. Not to mention the whole getting bombarded by singers and bands you didn’t know. Unfortunately for Tom, Mark Zuckerberg came along and stole all his thunder. Now MySpace is owned partly by Justin Timberlake and mostly used for what it always has been popular for – music.


The only reason I ever had a Friendster account was because my cousins in the Philippines all had one. It was like their Facebook before Facebook, except more boring. The concept was the same – post pictures of yourself, write about your interests and hobbies, interact with friends, etc. etc. But when I talked to my friends back home in the U.S. about Friendster, no one knew what I was talking about. And there’s your problem right there. Friendster was shut down in 2011, but relaunched as a gaming site. It’s mainly popular in – you guessed it – Southeast Asia.


Speaking of Asians, I first heard about Xanga from other Asians, except ones who were living in America. Xanga was not only a site that had a similar debate like the GIF/JIF debacle, but provided a social network with a blogging component. I remember using a lot of emoticons and tYpiNg OuT mY WorDz LykE This lolLLLzzzZ. Last year, Xanga rebooted itself and came out with Xanga 2.0, which is still a blogging webspace, but now you have to pay a fee to use it. You know homie don’t play that game.


Have you guys ever heard of Eons? Didn’t think so. It’s probably because it was a social network geared towards the elderly. That’s right, the same grandparents that can’t figure out texting let alone their remote control, were the primary demographic for the site. The site was launched in 2007, which in the grand scheme of things, was at the height of Facebook’s *ooh look it’s new and shiny* phase, so my guess is that a lot of people over 50 still didn’t get what all the hype over social media was about. If there’s anything we can learn from Eons, it’s know your demographic. Also, maybe pick a better name.


Orkut was the social media site made by Google, and named after one of its employees, Orkut Büyükkökten (The guy who made Eons would’ve probs called this site Büyükkökten instead). Google built the site over a decade ago, but it never really took off – except in random countries like India and Brazil. Incidentally, Google officially shut down Orkut just two days ago on September 30th, but luckily for the site’s users, you have until 2016 to get your personal information and files back. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for AOL Hometown page (RIP my first website).

Google +

Yes, I know Google + still exists, but honestly, stop trying to make it happen. Does anyone really use it for real? Like in a serious manner? It seems too convoluted and obnoxious. I love my Gmail and Google Docs and Cal, etc, but this thing is just too much.