So, the social media buzz from last week has to be the announcement of the Malaysian acquisition of social media pioneer Friendster.
Friendster? Yes, you heard it right. Don’t worry, I hadn’t heard that name in quite a few years too.
But my account is still active and so I logged back in after all this while to check out what the big deal was. You see, barely a week or so before the announcement by Malaysian online payments company MOL Global who is buying over Friendster, a new look for the site was launched.
I’m not sure what impact this requisition would have on the social networking site, besides the fact that there will be more ways for you to spend money seeing as MOL deals with online payments.
I was much more interested in some of the new features that the site introduced in the relaunch, and how this would affect the social media landscape in Malaysia.
Personally, I found little use for Friendster after the emergence of Facebook. Eventhough Friendster had tried to keep up — introducing new formatting and some basic new features for more interaction — I stopped visiting it.
This is mainly because social media is really about your connections and most of the people I wanted to be in touch with were on Facebook.
That said, I believe there is a huge number of people who stayed loyal to Friendster. In fact, some of my primary and secondary school friends reconnected with me by finding my profiles there rather than on Facebook, insterestingly enough.
The relaunch — featuring a much fresher look (minty fresh, maybe, considering how green the site is now) — has introduced some new things to the site.
There are now some games you can play, and a tool to edit your photos online. There is also a chat system, RSS aggregators and video player. The interface, the comes with the look I suppose, is also different and you get updates on what your connections are up to via a stream on your home page.
MOL’s touch — perhaps their first entry point to the site — is Friendster Wallet, a payment platform that allows people to buy Friendster products and services from its partners.
But truth be told, the new site doesn’t excite me much.
While Friendster is a pioneer in social networking (way before MySpace or Facebook even), it seems to be playing catch up now. The new features may be, umm, new to the site but it’s not features social media users from the past couple of years are unfamiliar with.
That said, Friendster has announced that they are targetting the Asian market (which makes up a large majority — some reports indicate 80%-90% of its users). What will be interesting, I suppose will be to see how they will tailor the site to retain and invite new Asian users.
Already in the Phillipines where Friendster has a massive following, Facebook has overtaken it as the top scial networking site, based on Alexa rankings.
But hey, you probably can never have too many social media accounts. And chances are, you already had a Friendster account at some time or other.
Maybe it’s time to revisit it — not only to try out some of its new stuff like The Farmer game (er, Farmville wannabe?) but also to access some of your old pictures that you uploaded previously.
The cringing (amid the laughter) should at least make the visit worth it.