FriendsReunited was the unsung and progressively unloved hero of early experimentation with “social media”, emerging years before the phrase itself was invented. Now sadly consigned to the scrapheap of obsolete things, in its glory days it became the shiny new 21st century information super-highway’s successor to Cilla’s Surprise Surprise, indirectly reuniting long lost family members, as well as purposefully getting old school chums back in touch. It afforded many UK folks their very first toe-dip into what was to become a vast and complex ocean of social internet networks that now envelope our lives with an ever-creeping sense of totality. It was a valuable pioneer that deserves rightful recognition.
It always retained a non-corporate feel thanks to its staunchly non-corporate roots, and, to be frank, as a result the site was always a bit amateurish and messy, even after various unsuccessful corporate takeovers and revamps. But its stylistic shortcomings were not necessarily a bad thing, and provided welcome relief from the slick money-grabbing-at-every-conceivable-opportunity strategies employed by its vastly more successful, though late-coming American imitator(s).
Gone and forgotten by many, perhaps in the distant future FriendsReunited will be celebrated and exalted for its originality and exploration of new technological social territory, if not its business acumen and corporate know-how.