I’m 30 next year. It’s been on my mind quite a bit recently and it’s still about a year and a half away. I wouldn’t describe myself as someone who normally cares about arbitrary age barriers, but thirty seems to be the point at which you are finally, undeniably, no longer young. In turn, I’ve been thinking back to when I was actually young. Sorting through what remains of my stuff at my parents has turned up lots of photo albums from when I was at school and I enjoyed leafing through them. Various school trips and work events, lots of people I’ve not thought of for ages but with whom I had great friendships at the time. Typically rather late in the day I’ve signed up to Friends Reunited and have browsed through what some of my contemporaries have been up to. I was surprised how many people had signed up, at least at some point, to the service. Browsing the list of names reminded me of some people who I’d forgotten even existed as well as some names that were instantly familiar.
But Friends Reunited seems to have lost its edge. The site isn’t that easy or exciting to use and although the brand has been diversified into dating, jobs and workplaces the facilities it provides have remained fairly limited. A few photos, a few forums, that’s about it. Looking at various people’s profiles showed that most hadn’t been updated in three years or more.
Enter Facebook. Not the highest profile social networking site, but it doesn’t look like it’s designed in FrontPage, unlike every Myspace page I’ve ever seen. It’s also free, extensible, has a published API, makes good use of AJAX and is well integrated with existing services like Flickr and twitter. It sensibly doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel. All this means is that people can make it can do some cool stuff.
I’ve had a Facebook account for a couple of weeks and I’ve been amazed at the number of people I know who already have accounts. Some work friends, some family, a few people from university, lots from the Harlequin, and a few from school. And it’s very easy to catch up with what people are doing. I just hope all this reminiscing doesn’t mean I’m gearing up nicely for a pre-midlife crisis.