From Myspace to Facebook to… Basement?

From Myspace to Facebook to… Basement?

By Justine Merriman

Every once in a while, a new social media platform will emerge and usually disappear just as quickly. However, those that last usually offer something new and exciting. Let’s take a look down memory lane:

First there was Myspace in 2003, a place where we could all go and post our favorite song lyrics, add friends, show off who our top 6 were or more accurately top 5 + (good old) Tom, and of course post our most profound thoughts in a variety of fonts.

Then early 2005… the good old days of flip phone low quality images and everyone carrying around their own cannon in case something memorable or artsy enough occurred that could lead to an exciting new Photobucket album.

Finally, later in 2005 Facebook allowed all college and some high school students to join the site to get the community affect and posting that Myspace initially delivered but with the added benefit of also housing our photo albums via Photobucket. Essentially creating a one stop shop to fully connect and express ones self to the world whether it be via albums, posts, friend rankings, page likes, or anything else your heart desired.

 For anyone, like myself, who experienced not only the joy but the massive time commitment of reuploading your perfectly curated albums, quotes, friends, etc from site to site you can probably also relate to the mass number of friends we’ve accumulated since our fateful first Facebook account. Even now looking at my friends accounts the majority of us have over 200 if not 500 connections. So in this period of oversharing and uploading on multiple platforms have we reached the point of wanting to downsize finally? 

It appears that the creators behind the new platform Basement think so. The app will still be a social platform, but the point of differentiation is that a user can only have 20 connections. Gone are the following sprees from starting a new school or adding your extended family just incase a second cousin has an important announcement. Here people are encouraged to share with their friends similar to a group thread on whatsapp, slack, facebook messenger, or any other platform utilized for group messaging. 

Now you may be wondering (like I initially did) why we need another platform that’s essentially just a messaging app and the answer is that this brings us back to a time before influencers, filters, and sharing just for sharings sake. The founders also promise to keep the messaging feeds clean from any advertisements, essentially bringing us back to the time of 2005 Facebook when your feed and friend updates were easy to manage and fake news wasn’t a concern. 

Now the question remains- in a time of oversharing, could you pick just 20 people to join your basement? That’s what the founders are hoping!

12 comments

  1. Thanks for the history down memory lane…it certainly reminds me of how exciting simple platforms used to be and the use of making quality content. I think as more and more platforms have arisen, the market is saturated, and people do not know how to quantify or qualify the information they post or upload. I like that you brought attention to this new app called Basement. It gives me hope that one day we will be able to go back to a simpler time where data is specialized and more meaningful.

  2. This reminds me to when Myspace had your “top friends” on your page. I think you had the option of either five or ten, but it always created controversy. I think for older folks, twenty sounds like a good amount; or if you use the platform as an extended group chat for a crew then that makes sense. But I think Basement will get to the point when users will want the company to increase the cap on friends until it gets to the point when there is no limit. It’s definitely a good twist on what social media has become. One of my worries also is the bullying scene..will it be easier for a group of people to bully someone in this setting? I think it’s possible.

  3. dilillomelissa · · Reply

    I am never an early adaptor to any type of social media, so it’s really interesting that you are bringing my attention to something new! II already feel more up-to-date. This immediately reminded me of when T-Mobile had you choose your top 5 fav people that you could have unlimited minutes with. Choosing such a narrow scope of friends can be difficult. I don’t know if I like a platform limiting me in the number of contacts. I agree with Dan that for older folks, the limit of 20 may work best, but for our generation I don’t know if it would work as well. I want to ask my cousins in high school if this is something they use.

  4. Originally, social media was the place that everyone had at least one friend. This was emphasized by Tom Anderson (the MySpace cofounder) who at one point had 175 million official friends. Now, most social media platforms try to maximize engagement, so it is interesting that this platform chose to act counterintuitively to the accepted addictive qualities of social media. The premise is similar to the JetBlue promotion that leveraged the downsizing one’s account. I think in concept it addresses some of the problems social media has created, such as many shallow interactions rather than a few meaningful interactions. My only fear for this app is that because it operates against the grain it may not gain as much traction or as many users.

  5. I was never able to join myspace but was always jealous that my age group had just missed it because it sounds a lot more fun than Facebook is! I had not heard about basement so thank you for sharing this blog about it. I’m not sure if I can handle another platform to add to my line up of checking social apps (instagram, twitter, snapchat, facebook, etc, repeat) but can see this heavily picking up with middle and high schoolers. One problem I see with it is I think it may change from a platform to share things with your closest friends as ways to exclude people especially in the age of cyberbullying. I’m sure this occurred on myspace and things of the sort but cyberbullying and full inclusion is such a big issue in todays day and age I question if this will add to the issue. I’m curios to see if people will begin using it!

  6. I think this reflects the larger trend of platforms moving towards a more personal kind of interaction as opposed to the mass sharing that made them popular. Now every social media platform is pushing their private messaging features. One feature that your post reminded me of specifically is the new Instagram “close friends” setting for stories. Now you can publish an instagram story, but only a preselected group of people will be able to see it. Suddenly these aps are encouraging sharing on a much smaller scale, which I find really interesting. I hadn’t heard of basement, but I am very curious to see if this catches on!

  7. This was a trip down memory lane, I completely forgot about photobucket. This brings up a interesting topic of how far people will take to the extreme of Facebook and will it be a fad that dies out? While basement sounds like an interesting concept I do believe it is going to be hard for this model to sustain itself given the environment they are in. Like most products and service when enough users provide feedback or want a change a company likely will respond to this need and I can see this happening here. I am also very interested to see how competitors like Whatsapp and Facebook respond to this concept and if this will drive any changes on their end to try and retain users, I am sure this is one of the last think that our friend Mark is concerned about.

    Side note..do we ever know where Tom ended up, has he joined Facebook?

  8. I had never heard of Basement, so I found this really interesting! I feel like the biggest question around adoption of Basement would be who are they looking to target, and how do those people currently use social media? I use Facebook primarily to connect with family, especially now that most of my family lives in NY, and I’m in Boston. It’s the same with Instagram. If push came to shove, I wouldn’t be able to curate my friends and followers down to 20 people, unless I was using the app in a way that’s similar to group messages.

    Maybe Basement will become something similar to WhatsApp, and act as another communication method for users with different OS – it may be a chance to avoid the whole green messages problem on iMessage!

  9. Nice post. An alternative site, called Path, was around in the early days and it limited the number of connections to 150 (which is based on something called Dunbars number). Alas, it never really took off. We’ll see if these guys have better lucK!

  10. Great post, I was relatively young when the first social media boom started (I’ll admit I never had a myspace) so it’s really interesting to take a look back at the progression. These first social sites really were the first movers in the social media space, and seeing what it’s become is almost unimaginable. I find the Basement idea really interesting, and probably a refreshing way to share content with friends without being bogged down by sponsored posts and “famous” people. My concern is that with only 20 friends I’m not sure you get the whole social environment that some of the other sites provides. It sounds like a more fun form of a group chat, but I still see the need for facebook and these larger platforms to help facilitate some of the further connections that I still am interested in being in contact with. It will be interesting to see whether or not the popularity will grow and if they can get a substantial user base.

  11. Basement seems like a really interesting concept! For me personally, my issue with Facebook wasn’t the number of connections I acquired, but that I had no need for a platform like Facebook for sharing content. For example, I really enjoy podcasts because they allow for a long-form and in-depth discussion on any topic. For me, a Facebook post isn’t a good method of debating ideas or communicating complex topics. I really hope Basement takes off, I think it could potentially solve a lot of the problems we face with social media today (echo chambers, spreading false information, cyberbullying, etc.)

  12. Great post Justine! I do wonder about apps like this though. Like Reggie Fils-Aimé said during his lecture in our Monday night course…with so much digital content, social networking, and things out there to take our time, apps like this are dependent on our time to use them, and economies of scale. Utlimatly I wonder about their competitive advantage….why is this different than a group text? In theory, can’t we just do this with Facebook or Instagram? At this point, it just seems like we are overdeveloping apps to do something that simple to do yourself.

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