Childhood Memories: BEBO is BACK

Social media, communication and networks couldn’t have advanced much more throughout our lifetime. We’ve seen them come and go, just like MSN, for example. But, Bebo being the exception is […]


Social media, communication and networks couldn’t have advanced much more throughout our lifetime. We’ve seen them come and go, just like MSN, for example. But, Bebo being the exception is being relaunched after being bought back by the original seller for just £660,000 (after he sold it for millions).

Bebo was abandoned by many upon the rise of Facebook, which is now seen to be suffering in comparison to the almighty Twitter. But, there were features of Bebo that will never be forgotten and here will we remember them and hope that they are reignited with the relaunch, and with the promise of old-school Bebo users being able to download their archives in a few months, we are all bound to come across a few cringe moments.

Perhaps the most memorable and unique feature of Bebo was the ability to literally ‘share love’. Starting on one Valentines Day, this idea came to incur a popularity contest. This combined with the very public number of profile views lead to mass hysteria in the secondary school playground and was probably used in the odd argument to reinforce “how many people like me”. This was possibly resolved by the exchanging of ‘love’, a deep and meaningful process to which you would use your three ‘loves’ to show your friends how much they mean to you or your boyfriend to show how serious you were about him. Messages often included ‘xox’ or the classic ‘x8/..x<3’ to really convey the strong feelings meant by this gesture.

bebo other halfOther halves were another expression of love provided by Bebo. Begging someone to be your other half and then having them finally accept was the equivalent of pulling a 9/10 in Jesters on a Monday night, you were the luckiest person alive. You could write your own quip too, such as “ii luff yhoo..x” or some inside joke that made you look so close you we’re basically separated at birth.

Ordering friends ‘top 16’ was definitely the most controversial aspect of Bebo. Friendships would be ruined over it and the top 16 had to be adjusted every day if you had more than one best friend. They also became the source of gossip as you could tell a break up or a fall out a mile off as well as whether someone was desperate to tongue someone in the skate park. Then there was the dilemma of if you were the top friend for more than one person. These problems went on and on and the top 16 was simply something that ended up dictating lives, friendships and who you sat next to at lunch.

A feature of Bebo, developed just before it was abandoned was the ‘friend story’ where Bebo’s creators believed every friendship could be categorised by tick boxes and a short comment. Best friends usually involved ridiculous quotes and funny stories. If you didn’t know someone well, you would just write ‘swnd boi xox’ or some dirty rumour you heard about them such as “fell down stairs after one Bacardi Breezer” or “their mum found them with their hand in their …” you get the idea.

Rushing home from school, to spend 10 minutes connecting to the internet over dial up to post of your school friends Bebo wall and spread your love was just one of every 14 year old’s hobby in the naughties. As well as expressing love, Bebo was very much about conveying your personality and feelings, without the status’ of Facebook which came much later, users turned to their ‘skin’, the background of a Bebo page and ‘bio’ to state every detail about their life, usually through song lyrics, lists of favourite foods, shops, bands and ‘likes’ and ‘hates’ as if that was all someone needed to know about you. Changing Bebo skin as often as possible, for girls, usually to something pink and with a sentimental quote to convey the heartbreak they are experiencing over the boy opposite them in Biology, and for boys, it was a Fast and Furious car or a tacky Playboy bunny in a bid to express their sexual experiences at the grand age of 13. This was unless you were desperate to be indie and had some graffiti , Coldplay or an alternative colour splatter. All of this could come crashing down however as the sheer horror experienced after all the time spent choosing one was wasted when you discovered someone else you knew had the same one, this was like nothing you had ever felt before.

Bebo skin

At the age of 13, these words meant more to people than anything.

The equivalent of the profile picture on Facebook of Bebo sparked off the rise of the ‘dress up for a photo’ attitude. It was essential that you looked your absolute best in the photo, usually taken before an under 18s night, sitting on a bench with a Strongbow or on a webcam with half your hair covering your face.

The Flashbox was another aspect of your Bebo profile that you could express just how you were feeling and quite how indie, alternative, girlie or hardcore you were. The ability to link your favourite Basshunter song, DJ Cammy remix or Eamon sob story convinced you further that the lyrics were written for you about that exact point in your life.

The endless entertainment provided by most social networks that essentially equates to nothing was also to be found on Bebo. School holidays were made to fill out 300 question Bebo quizzes asking about your most embarrassing moment, how many times you have had your heart broken, your sauciest sexual encounter and how many items you have been arrested for you to then publish it to the hundreds of people you were friends with. After reading one, you would feel more connected to someone, even though they have spent hours of effort trying to ensure you are impressed by their exciting and extravagant life. The same goes for the whiteboard drawings that you could do on your own and other people’s walls, Snapchat also clicked on to the idea that thousands of people love to just draw crap on a whiteboard.

bebo whiteboard

As of yet, there is no official date for the relaunch of Bebo, but there is this strange video:

What do you think about the relaunch of Bebo? Will you use it or are we too swamped with social networks to start using another one? What’s the worst thing you will find in your archive? Let us know in the comments.