Facebook hasn’t quite gone the way of the dinosaurs — yet. But despite how it still dominates our social media landscape with over 1.3 billion users worldwide, it’s arguably on the decline. A study this year showed that only 52% of Facebook’s users are active. Half of us are passively browsing the site, throwing a ‘like’ or two here and there without actually posting things.
You know how we used to spam our Facebook page with updates and get excited about notifications? With Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter vying for our attention, it’s unlikely that those glory days of Facebook will return quickly — if ever. But once upon a time, there were so many things that we loved doing on Facebook, and looking back on them can be cringe-inducing, amusing, and nostalgic all at once.
Remember when poking was all the rage on Facebook? For a while, because everyone was doing it, poking stopped seeming creepy and became just another way of annoying your friends. If you get a poke now though (is that even possible anymore?), it’s probably the prelude to some serial killer’s plans. Run.
2. ‘Tag Your Friends’ grid photos
These grid pictures where you pigeonholed your friends into “the cute one” or “the funny one” used to be so popular that they spawned whole photo websites like Tag My Buddy. They were actually fun, until they started getting repetitive. (Case in point: I was always the short one.)
3. ‘Like this status and I’ll…’
If you ever posted one of these statuses, you might also remember getting tired halfway through the long list of replies you brought upon yourself. That’s probably why they petered out after a while.
4. Lengthy note quizzes
Does ‘I do stupid things __% of the time’ ring a bell? How about ‘I’m afraid of __ out of 72 fears’ or the ‘ABC quiz’? Up till now, it’s still hard to understand why we used to like sharing personal information through tedious quizzes in Facebook Notes.
5. Fake years of birth
If you were below 13 when you first signed up for Facebook, you would have had to lie about your age when creating an account. This usually meant that when your friends’ birthdays rolled around, the notification would show an age at least a few years (or decades) older than their actual one.
6. Sentence-long page names
We typically see Facebook pages that’re set up by organisations, companies, bands and the like, but for some reason, there were — and still are — some pages with names that had no relation to their content. Most of them were clickbait-y, relatable quotes: some floating about in the debris of my newsfeed include “Hi, I wasted a very long time liking you“, “Typing “LOL”, when actually your sitting there with the moodiest face ever“, and “Fighting to stay awake in class but at lunch you’re wide awake“.
7. Facebook games
Texas HoldEm Poker, Cafe World, Happy Aquarium, Restaurant City — these were just some of the Facebook games we used to know and love. From visiting our friends’ houses, farms or cafés to competing against them in the leaderboard, many of these games were like social worlds within the larger social world of Facebook.
8. ‘_____ needs your help to collect’ posts
On a related note, posts like these were everywhere on our newsfeeds when we were playing Facebook games — until we figured out how to block them, of course.
9. Facebook gifts
Before Facebook Gifts — an online shop within Facebook selling real-world gifts like chocolates and wine that, incidentally, shut down last year — there was the Gift Shop. This virtual shop stocked with goofy birthday cakes and cutesy drawings used to come in handy for our Facebook friends’ birthdays, but closed after just three years in 2010.
10. Chain letters
Whether it was about a mysterious girl who’d appear to kill us or intellectual property issues, these annoying, not-so-innovative takes on traditional chain mail used to show up on our Wall — and we’d faithfully repost them, just in case.