Friends Reunited was one of the first social networks on the Internet, started by a couple of entrepreneurs in 2000, and sold to ITV for millions of pounds a few years later. But it suffered the fate of many pioneers, and its success was transient. Now it’s been relaunched in a new form with a focus on memories, and not just the memory of what websites looked like 12 years ago, which sadly has been my reaction when I’ve looked at their home page in the last few years.
Reading the comments on the BBC website, I’m struck both by the persistence of Friends Reunited’s original concept, a way to get in touch with people who you were at school with, and by the current owners’ determination to distance themselves from that. Certainly one reason that I never signed up for Friends Reunited is that I didn’t have any desire to reconnect with schoolfriends (in the unlikely event that you are reading this and you went to school with me, please don’t take that personally). But at least that gave the site a focus, as distinct from a more general theme of nostalgia which they seem to be pursuing now.