Friendster When Friendster Wasn’t Cool
The most painful part of waking up old is that you don’t understand “cool” anymore. No, they don’t say “cool,” they say another kind of “krunked up” nonsense that will collapse society. Plucking a rudely monochromatic follicle from your scalp, the twang of its exodus isn’t quite loud enough to drown out the latest buzzword: myYearbook.com.
And you’re all: “what happened to MySpace?” The answer is that nothing happened to it. It’s still there, still gaining membership, and still very, umcool.
But some, like Robert Young, are equating MySpace with the hip local hangout where the coolness that propels its popularity becomes its ultimate downfall (unlike the famed Tolly Ho, I might interject). Like all thingscoolit has an expiration date, and Young thinks he’s found a successor.
MyYearbook.com was created by a pair of high school kids during Spring Break 2005. Like MySpace, which had developers smacking their foreheads in V8 fashion, myYearbook.com saw a sudden spike in traffic last November, earning itself a spot on Alexa’s top 5 fastest growing sites.
Among the unique features are what you’d expect from a yearbook staff–voting for best butt and such-but users can also bully, flirt, or secretly admire someone; get a locker, share music and homework; and check to see if a classmate lives nearby with similar interests.
Young believes the advantage (and staying power) myYearbook will have over MySpace and college social site Facebook.com, is the way this particular online community will integrate itself into teen life from early on. myYearbook is currently outdrawing its competitors for the 12-17 year-old demographic in awkward bad hair droves. An early continual investment could create an attachment hard to break.
“myYearbook is different,” writes Young. “It’s beyond cool it’s orthogonal to cool. For the teenagers in high school, it’s rapidly becoming a necessity on par with other daily essentials like IM, email, and a cell phone, it’s not just a nice thing to have, it’s becoming a must-have.”
And he makes a good case, too, until he uses the word “orthogonal.”
“That’s really obtuse,” says my buddy John. If John had studied his math a little closer, he’d realize that obtuse is an impossibility. A square is a rectangle, but orthogonal can never be cool.
There is a valid point here, though. The fringes of society were the early adopters of online communities-the nerds, the socially inept, the chronically ill. For the new generation, those on the fringe are those not participating in an online community.
The kids are going to get together somewhere, continually redefining “cool.” If fear of sexual predation on MySpace drives more parental crackdowns while coolness declines, myYearbook.com could indeed be the next space they file into–as long its own coolness doesn’t wear off too.