Social media has been a rollercoaster ride ever since it reached the masses some years ago. From the madness of Bebo, to the freedom of Twitter and the professionalism of LinkedIn, it's been a journey. And like every journey, we all learned what was ‘socially acceptable’ along the way.
Bebo was where social networking started for me. I heard someone talking about an online quiz that I had been referenced in and I can remember immediately thinking, this sounds dangerous. These quizzes were getting lots of people in trouble, good, honest church-going folk even. I decided that the only thing to do was to apply the theory of attack being the best form of defence, and sign up.
I had just started college when Bebo hit, and when I look back on it as a whole, it represents a reckless time in my life and everything about the platform embodies that era. I recently went to the trouble of deleting my profile, but not before reading through the lion’s share of the old comments. It was quite difficult to comprehend how dumb my friends and I were, talking about drinking and “women” and whatnot, in front of whoever wanted to hear. The photos were the worst part; people, myself included, voluntarily uploaded pictures of themselves asleep on pavements, vomiting into pint glasses and shifting birds in the corners of murky night clubs. But then again, we were young, it was new, and I can’t say I regret one bit of it.
Everything changed when Facebook rolled around. It served an older demographic, and in doing so it curtailed the ridiculousness we had previously enjoyed under the Bebo regime. Older family members were active on this medium; there would have been a certain awkwardness at dinner on St. Stephens Day if Auntie Mary had seen the photo of her favourite nephew wearing nothing but a kebab on College Road. All in all, this meant we had to be a little bit more diplomatic, and present a certain air of dignity and civility. Although, to this day, you will still see the odd renegade on Facebook who just won’t let go of his Bebo heritage.
Personally, and I’m sure the same can be said for many of my peers, the move to Facebook coincided with a period of certain maturity in my life. I had two years of college under my belt, and it was time to sober up. There was no place for Bebo in my new life, and a clean break was needed, much to the delight of Mark Zuckerberg, who rolled out the red carpet.
Bebo closes down every other week these days. Hopefully it will disappear permanently sometime soon, and take with it, those horrific, yet incredible memories.