Preceded only by Friendster in the US, Friends Reunited was at the forefront of social media, a phenomenon that would go on to be worth billions and become the framework for our online lives.
Back in 2000 in a backroom bedroom in Barnet, the concept was simple - build a somewhere for old school friends to reconnect with each other. This provided a middle ground between a more relevant and mainstream version of message boards, and a more social version of email. MySpace built on this adding innovative features and customisation, but it was Facebook who hit the magic formula, removing barriers like cost and complexity, and championing simplicity meant they became the easiest place to manage relationships online.
The gradual relaxation of people's perception of privacy and fear of sharing fuelled that momentum, springing a host of other social media companies with it. Huge friendship networks broadcasting vast quantities of messages, photos and videos about every subject imaginable has become the norm.
The subsequent rise of micro-blogging sites meant the speed of that information and volume of communication amplified rapidly. Increasingly, news sites, brands and consumers alike not only use these platforms to communicate, but to share activity and content, the consequence of this is a wealth of information left behind and potentially lost. A new order of social media sites have found a way to buck this trend. Curation and collection have emerged as a welcome breath of fresh air, focusing on creating lasting and thought-out collections and less on "real-time" instant information.
One of the challenges that the new Friends Reunited tries to solve is how to capture our online heritage. With a host of social networks driving us forward at high speed, it's becoming increasingly hard to step back and take a look at where we've been, and what's important. In today's digital world, celebrating, collecting and sharing our memories, both personally and collectively is increasingly difficult. Our team has built a site that encourages people to do that, in a way that's not worthy like a historic archive, but alive, engaging and above all else, fun.
By actively celebrating nostalgia, the new site expands on what first created its success - going back to a time in your past and reliving it with the people who were there too. The new Friends Reunited allows you to go back to all of those "Remember when?" moments.
Providing separate places dedicated to celebrating specific interests is nothing new (LinkedIn for work, YouTube for video, Flickr for photos). The new order, however, are using Facebook to allow people to share that with their friends, rather than expecting people to manage and maintain multiple friend lists.
Our focus has been to not only provide a secure place to store your own memories for safe keeping, but to enable people to find and collect the icons, places and events we all remember, together in one place. The growth of social networks has shown how adding your friends to any online experience makes it more relevant and engaging, and our memories are no different - sharing them with the people that were there too brings them to life.