Friendster, First of Many

January 3rd, 2007 at 12:00 am
 


Friendster was launched in 2003 as a website to cater to people with friends. That seems to be just about everyone on the planet. It’s not surprising that a few months after friendster, social networks have been popping out on the web like mushrooms!

Anyway, Friendster put social networks into the mainstream and its features have been replicated and modified by every social network to hit the net after it. So what makes Friendster somewhat the "basis" of a successful social network?

Profile

The Friendster user profile is contains basic information about a member. The information is not necessarily true but some people are still honest. Aside from basic identification, users can opt to say where they’re from, what they’re doing, describe themselves, say their favorite movies, books, tv shows etc., describe the people they want to meet. In 2005, the Friendster profile became customizable with CSS. Now, users were allowed to create or choose different templates, insert audio, video and flash into their profiles, etc.

Although the new features of Friendster failed to scoop in millions of new members since those features were already available on MySpace then, it allowed Friendster to stay in the game.

Photos

Before there was Multiply, people had Friendster (among others) to store and share their pictures to friends and everybody else. Every Friendster account is able to store 50 pictures. Any of those could be selected as a primary photo to be displayed in the profile. This feature was a breakthrough in social networking in its advent.

Furthermore, Friendster added a photo albums capable of organizing, storing and sharing more pictures. It is not displayed on the site how much you can store but I know some people storing hundreds! Today it’s nothing new or unique but still useful, of course.

Testimonials

Probably the niftiest of Friendster’s features, the testimonials is a section of a user’s profile. These are testimonial of other people about the user. There are also private testimonials, these are selected by the user and can be viewed obly by him and other people he chooses. In the early days of friendster, only text testimonials were allowed but upon upgrading to web 2.0, testimonials can contain all sorts of media. This is made possible through a very flexible PHP backend.

Other features

Most social networking sites now have a salad of features. Friendster has the essentials and these have been proven useful to their members. The feature salad include, videos (powered Youtube), blogs (everybody is entitled to one), groups, classifieds, and mobile where updates can be sent through SMS.

Friends

As the name entails, Friendster is all about friends. In the Philippines alone, friendster gets a million hits everyday. Filipinos have reconnected with long lost friends and acquaintances through the vast network of them. It’s not unusual to see cars, dogs, schools, organizations, groups, cats, shops, radio stations, businesses, clubs and infants have their own Friendster accounts.

Today, Friendster is no longer the most crowded social network since MySpace and Orkut is leading the pack. Still, Friendster has more than the basic elements needed to be a useful and meaningful social network.