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Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Changes in Friendster




Friendster was one of the pioneers of social networking. Even before MySpace started to dominate the Social Networking scene, and even before Social Networking became the byword for Internet users and web developers, Friendster was already alive and making puddles among its first users. But somewhere along the way, it started to lose its relevance as MySpace, Multiply, and even YouTube took over. So many things had contributed to Friendster’s slow death: the interface made it so much less advanced than how it should be, and the users, lured by the pretty applications of Facebook, all flocked over to the Social Networking upstart.

While everyone else migrated to Facebook because it’s the newest thing on the Web, I had gone there because of the apps and because Friendster profiles that had been “overpimped” had a tendency of crashing my browser, much to my annoyance.

But lately, with all the changes that Friendster has done for its website, I’m becoming more and more impressed at how it has evolved. Today, instead of the ├╝ber buggy profiles, even the absolutely tricked-out ones don’t kill my browser needlessly. Friendster achieved this through changing the interface, and most likely, changing the code of the website.

The great thing about Friendster is that it aims to please. A lot of the youngsters now feel rather empowered because of its “Abuse” function. They can have the trolls who either copy their profiles taken down or suspended for abuse. This is just an indication of how Friendster aims to please its users.

One superfluous addition to Friendster, however, are the apps, no doubt created to mimic Facebook’s apps. For me, this was rather useless, because people befriend people on Friendster because these are long-lost friends and schoolmates or classmates. I see Facebook as a more impersonal place, judging from the people who befriended me there.

In my opinion, Friendster is, indeed, more focused on the user himself. Friendster profiles showed more of the personality of the user, rather than giving the user an escape from the real world.

Friendster shows the personality of the user by highlighting the “About Me” and the other a la slambook fields, while Facebook is more on activity-sharing through apps.

I think Friendster should focus more on its strength: the personality and the friendship-development features of the site, and stick to that rather than imitate Facebook and a be-all kind of social network.

I just happen to like the increased stability of the pages, and I do wish they’d keep being the down-home social networking site that they aimed to be, in the first place.


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