Social Media-Girls standing over hashtag concept
Social Media-Girls standing over hashtag concept

Welcome to the nostalgia corner. Of course! Social Media is not a nineties thing but it has already been around 18 years since the year 2000. We guess, we have reached a point where we could be nostalgic about social media sites that were popular before Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp and so on took over. Here are five social media stories you should know about:

Social Media- SMS Concept
SMS Concept

SMS/MMS: Before WhatsApp took over your phone, you lived through sending SMS. All your network service providers had introduced SMS plans of 10,000 messages per month or 1000 messages per day for a quick 100 or 150 bucks. Some of us may even boast that we were able to spend all of the messages made available to us in our plans. In fact, if memory serves one right, a lot of us faced issues when TRAI but a cap on the maximum messages for a day to 150 messages.

Social Media- BlackBerry-Messenger

BlackBerry Messenger: Introduced in 2001 as an exclusive Internet-based texting app for BlackBerry users, the messenger, as well as the phone, became popular for their reliability. BlackBerry in India became anonymous with exclusivity and financial well-being. However, BlackBerry’s exclusivity was shattered when WhatsApp came to the fore, making internet-based texting free for everyone. As more and more of Blackberry’s customers moved to androids, BlackBerry introduced the BBM messenger for iPhone and Androids. This bid brought BBM some attention in 2013-2015 but this soon fizzled out as BBM’s exclusivity was lost. BBM still continues to thrive because of its loyal band of customers, but its market has largely moved to WhatsApp and iPhone.

Social Media: Friendster Logo
Friendster Logo

Friendster: Friendster was founded by a Canadian Programmer, Jonathan Abrams in 2002, before MySpace, Orkut or Hi5 were found. Friendster was one of the first of these sites to attain over 1 million members. In 2008 Friendster had a membership base of more than 115 million registered users and continued to grow in Asia. In 2011, Friendster shut down indefinitely.

Social Media: MySpace Logo
MySpace Logo

MySpace: MySpace was introduced in 2003  by eUniverse employees of Friendster. Initially, only the eUniverse employees were the users of MySpace. MySpace used its 20 million users to promote itself. By 2005, MySpace became extremely popular with teenagers. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation bought MySpace in July 2005 and launched a UK version of it, which became equally popular. By late 2007 and early 2008 MySpace was considered as the leading social media site. However, by April 2008 Facebook overtook MySpace and became the leading social networking site. My Space saw a rapid decline since then with being sold to Time Inc, in 2016.

Social Media: Orkut Logo
Orkut Logo

Orkut: Orkut was silently launched by Google in 2004. In its early days, Orkut was accessible only through invitation and garnered some interest in America. However, Mexican and then Indian users became its most loyal users. Recognising its potential in India, Orkut rolled out the site in six Indian languages, Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Kannada and Telugu. In 2010, after ruling the Indian social networking scene for 6 years, Orkut lost to Facebook and went on a decline, with Google ultimately shutting it down in 2014.


  1. Friendster and myspace are especially curious. Why did they fail? Lack of innovation Or bad timing? Why no case studies on them i wonder?

    • Hi Veena,

      There have been a couple of speculations about the failure of Friendster and MySpace. According to some, the failure is attributed to major software changes, making the site confusing for users. Others believe it was the timing. While some others argue, it was the positioning and outreach. Orkut worked so well in India because it catered to India’s cultural needs too.

  2. Not sure if SMS – or even WhatsApp – can be called social networking. While SMS volumes have definitely dropped, I’m not sure if we can consign it to the deadpool yet. Not having been on the remaining four social networks, I’ve no personal opinion on their dead or nearly-dead status. According to anecdotal evidence, Friendster’s failure was attributed to a pivot that didn’t quite work out. Touchscreen, pioneered by iPhone, probably sounded the death knell of BlackBerry, and, along with it, BBM. By the time BlackBerry launched touchscreen models of its own, it was probably too late. They say Facebook stole a march over MySpace by introducing photo sharing. Orkut’s decline is probably hardest to explain, what with its Google parentage and all. But, all these explanations are in hindsight and hindsight, as they say, is 20-by-20!


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