You've grabbed your snack, and you're headed to the computer. Only after that signature-forever-ingrained-in-the-brain dial up sound can you head to the web. Where are you going? Well, if it's the early 2000s, you're headed to one of these old social media sites. Because before Facebook there was the wild west of social media.
1. AOL Instant Messenger
Let's be real, the first place you went as soon as you were connected to the internet was AIM. Whether to see if your crush was online, catch up on any gossip you may have missed since you were online, or throw up a classic AIM away message (I am unavailable because I am playing a computer game that takes up the entire screen.), this was an old social media platform everyone was in on. And yes, we know you regularly changed your Buddy Icon and font scheme based on your mood.
Nothing had a hold on social media during the early 2000s like Friendster. Hands down the OG of the social media networks, Friendster paved the way for MySpace and social media as we know it today. And if the names sound familiar, they should. The creators settled on Friendster because of the roll off the tongue portmanteau with friends and Napster. And who didn't infect their family computer with Napster or LimeWire at least once?
In the mid-2000s, BeBo emerged as a social media site with a little bit of everything. Instant messaging, video sharing, and blog posts, BeBo had the look of bits and pieces of all the social media apps we have today. Surveys, backgrounds, and customizable skins, this was the dream of social media when it came to giving things a personal touch.
4. AOL Hometown
For a brief and glorious minute, the AOL Hometown pages had a chokehold on AIM profiles everywhere. Not only could you make it into something more glittery, colorful, and far longer than your AIM profile, but it became the blog your AIM profile could never quite be. It didn't quite have as strong a hold as that true blog website: LiveJournal.
Somewhere out there in the internet are all of our LiveJournals: emo, dramatic, and soul-baring in ways that could be an incredible source of blackmail among friends both old and new. To really feel that old social media nostalgia, I resurrected my LiveJournal. Only to find a post about my first Fall Out Boy concert in October of 2005.
And as for the rest of LiveJournal? It's as && and <333 as you remember. Complete with current mood emoticons, black backgrounds, neon font, dramatic quotes, and a wealth of lyrics that speak to the soul when you're a teenager.
6. Blogs on Xanga, GeoCities, and Tripod
Before we had Twitter and Facebook and Instagram, blogs were the way to chat and (over) share just what our lives look liked. Every last little detail. Complete with peak-2000s HTML code that we all somehow knew how to do and manipulate. And only the best websites had with custom pointers and trails for the mouse as you clicked around the page. Oh, and of course you had a page with a list of your favorite movies, added pictures from your digital camera, or have a page dedicated to your friends.
Few social media websites live on in our hearts quite like MySpace. You got to choose a song that would automatically start playing whenever your friends went to your page to scope out your Top 8 or latest survey. (What was the last thing you ate? Do you prefer dogs or cats? Who was the last person that you kissed?) And, sure yes, you could've privately messaged someone to talk to them, or even email them, but instead, we carried on conversations by commenting back and forth on each other's page. Efficient? No. Peak MySpace? Absolutely.
It's also with MySpace that society collectively reached the apex of the number of internet users that could use HTML — and it all seemed to happen overnight. Now I can barely learn how to use a new app.
8. Second Life
Everywhere and nowhere, Second Life started in 2003 and, somehow, is still hanging around today. Although it doesn't have quite the draw it did those decades ago. A place where you could build your own avatar, and make it as much or unlike you as you wanted. It was chatroom meets online role-playing meets has no function other than to socialize and partake in activities with strangers and their own customized avatars on the internet.
9. Habbo Hotel
Now just Habbo, Habbo Hotel was a pixelated and more teen-appropriate world than Second Life. You could make your own little avatar, give yourself as creative or normal a username as you wished, and could wander from room to room.
Striking up conversations with other visitors and hopping from hotel to hotel, which was really just different communities. You could even play games and build out your room to decorate it to the pixel-perfect image of your dreams. And for the younger crowd, there was always Club Penguin.
Social Media That's Gone But Never Forgotten
With how much lives on the internet these days, it's easy to forget what paved the way to social media as we know it. So, we salute you, fallen social media, and all that you did for us in the 2000s. And as for that social media graveyard, X will always be Twitter in our hearts.