Bebo was pretty much every twenty-something’s first experience of social networking (unless you were of the MySpace generation) and by God, did we make the most of it.
Whether it was going all Regina George and re-arranging our Top 16 friends on a whim, frantically checking to see if you had any Luvs left for the day, or spending hours thinking of hilarious in-jokes and poignant quotes to fill up your homepage, there was never a dull moment on Bebo.
The company was sold to AOL in 2008 for $850 million, but after it slowly faded into oblivion with the growth of Facebook, it was eventually shut down a few years ago. In a pretty impressive turn of events, Bebo’s founder Michael Birch bought his company back for just $1 million last year and began the process of building the website into something newer and better.
Earlier this week the company announced their re-launch as a social network app for “people who don’t take life too seriously.”
And to be honest, it's pretty cool. It's got interactive hashtags, an amazing messaging service and some other epic features.
That’s all well and good, except for the other little nugget of information that was revealed alongside that announcement. From January 31st, all photos uploaded to Bebo in its previous lifetime will be uploaded online.
Turns out things you put on the internet really do last forever. We sense some seriously embarrassing revelations coming next February…
Even though we knew that any photo we uploaded to Bebo could potentially have been seen by anyone at the time, there was a certain sense of relief when the site eventually shut down. All of those non-filtered pieces of evidence of our awkward teenage years, that extremely regretful night in Coppers or that two-month period where we decided to take up smoking at 15 to be super-cool… it’s all going to be back online for the world to see.
At the very minimum we can all expect a hefty amount of cringing, some swift deleting and a LOT of slagging. But I reckon this Bebo resurrection could also lead to a few seriously awkward moments for a lot of people.
Whether it’s your boss accidentally coming across those photos of you dressed like a Playboy bunny for Halloween 2006, or your current boyfriend asking why you never told him you scored his best friend years before you two started going out, once the photos go back online there’s no stopping the tsunami of embarrassment from hitting you smack in the face.
So, thanks Bebo for offering us that chance to look back fondly at nostalgically at the past, but we’d rather not. Really. If you could just “accidentally” erase all of our pictures before January 31st, that’d be great, thanks…