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New look Friends Reunited brings back old memories

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Friends Reunited hopes to capitalise on the public’s nostalgia for everything from the Queen’s Silver Jubilee to rock band Queen’s performance at Live Aid.

The website was the first social network that many people joined when it was launched in 2000, but has since fallen well behind rivals such as Facebook and Twitter. Now the relaunched website is trying to tempt users back by sharing their memories on the site, whether it is royal celebrations from 1977 or charity concerts in 1985.

Categories such as “As Seen on Screen”, “What We Ate” and “What We Wore” have been added to the website, so members can reflect on the best TV shows from their childhood and shocking flared trousers.

Chris van der Kuyl, CEO of Friends Reunited’s parent company Brightsolid, said: “Nowhere else can you find a single place to search, collect and save the bigger, more important moments in your life, memories which, in today’s digital world, are in danger of slipping through your fingers.

“We need to protect our precious and shared memories for longevity, which the new site enables you to do, or we’re at risk of becoming the lost generation.”

The website will have 10 million publicly available memories from launch, including six million photos, two million events and two million places. Friends Reunited has also added a further 350,000 high quality images through on-going partnerships with Francis Firth and the Press Association.

However, there are some doubts about whether the relaunched website offers anything new to its users that they cannot find from other social networks.

London-based social media expert Kate Bussmann, author of A Twitter Year: 365 Days in 140 Characters, said: “I’m not sure it has actually got a niche in the market. Facebook has walked into the space and taken it. But they are simplifying the privacy policy because a lot of people are confused by the privacy policy on Facebook, while Google has also had a rejig of its own.”

At the height of its popularity, Friends Reunited had 1.5 million users, while today Facebook claims to have 30 million members from the UK alone.

Bussmann said: “It was an amazing number when you look back but I never really liked it. But then again, I am a person who stayed in touch with the friends I wanted to stay in touch with. I’m just not convinced it can find its way back into people’s time.”

Friends Reunited’s best hope of success may come from people being nostalgic to get to grips with their first social network once again.




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