This post was written in April by Jonathan Byrne after Elon Musk purchased Twitter and it feels even truer now then it did.
News emerged this week that Tesla chief Elon Musk is purchasing Twitter for a cool sum of roughly 41 billion euros.
The American businessman got the deal across the line after initial trouble convincing the board at Twitter, despite already being a significant shareholder.
Musk, in a press release after taking ownership, vowed to maintain the 'free speech' nature of the social media platform and encourage debates and conversations.
However, there is a portion of people who remain unconvinced about his takeover. His unpredictable nature has left many thinking it could be high risk.
Twitter wouldn't be Twitter without its wild ideas. As the news emerged of its new owner, users began yearning for the days of social media past.
People are asking for the return of the true internet superpower; Bebo. The social networking site was a dominant force in the late 2000s.
The State Of Bebo Now
Funnily enough, Bebo still exists. Original owners Michael and Xochi Birch sold the company to AOL in 2008, who then moved it on to a hedge fund in 2010.
Activity on the site started to plummet around that time, and Bebo filed for bankruptcy later in 2013. Weirdly enough, the original owners bought it back the same year.
The Birch's sold it for $850 million and bought it back for $1 million, which was a shrewd piece of business but also showed how its value had depleted.
Weirdly enough Twitch, the game streaming site, bought the rights to Bebo in 2019 through parent company Amazon and a proper relaunch has been teased ever since.
Bebo's Best Features
I'm picking out a Bebo skin as we speak. https://t.co/KB4KTdFyQT pic.twitter.com/7wKJoIA6Cp
— Elaine (@Little7Rose) April 25, 2022
When you logged onto someone's Bebo page, the first thing you noticed was the Skins. There were a number of default skins, and a plethora of bootleg ones too.
The skins acted as your outfit choice for your personal profile. Were you a party goer? Neon glowsticks. Did you like cars? A bunch of Subaru logos.
You then had the About Me section where you gave all your details. It was like an elaborate version of the Twitter bio, with far too much information.
The Other Half feature was a mad one. It was used as a clear statement of relationship status, and if your friend was there, you were definitely single.
Then it was the Top 16 which was absolutely cutthroat. If you weren't in your friends' Top 16, you might not be on personal terms with them.
Throwback to Andy Carroll's outstanding Bebo page: pic.twitter.com/c1DCNm2BwA
— Coral (@Coral) January 6, 2017
What came alongside the Top 16 feature was arrows which bulked up the grid. You could put a 'Love Him' arrow or 'Best Friends' pointer just to emphasise something, I guess.
Sharing the Luv was part and parcel of what Bebo was about. Every page had a Luv tally and you could send unlimited Luv's on Valentine's Day. What a time to be alive.
Then, of course, the Flash Box was your true identity. Would it be a music video? A football player's highlights? A scene from a movie? The choices were endless.
After that, you're going down the rabbit hole of the Comments, Widgets, Blogs, Quizzes and of course, the beloved Whiteboard, when we all channelled our inner Picasso.
Why Are People Yearning For Bebo?
The dreamy thing about imagining returning to Bebo/Myspace/forums is the fact they weren't infrastructure and we didn't depend on them for breaking news, work, our 'profile', culture and opinion etc - we could choose when to go on and it wasn't as enmeshed with our real lives
— Aoife Barry (@sweetoblivion26) April 25, 2022
The nostalgic element is the big driving force. It's going back to the innocent days of school discos, college nights out, your social 20s and the likes.
Bebo seemed to capture that innocence quite well. There was plenty of drama on Bebo, don't get me wrong, but not quite the same as experienced on platforms today.
Bebo was like the cooler sister of MySpace and set the tone for social media networks of late. Without Bebo, we might still be friends with Tom, the MySpace guy.
But have we grown away from sites like Bebo? More than likely. Unless it can adapt to a 2022 market and provide something to move us there, it might remain a distant memory.
The site has been in Beta testing for a few years now. Who knows what the future holds. We could be sharing the Luv again sooner than you think.