Why Geocities Closes: We Don’t Need No Stinking Web Sites

Why Geocities Closes: We Don’t Need No Stinking Web Sites

Geocities closes today. By the end of this day a lot will have been said about that closure.

Here’s what I have to say – from a social networking perspective.

Two Reasons

clip_image002There are, I believe, two reasons why the Geocities model failed in popularity. And I say Geocities but I could also say Blogger or LiveJournal…

One, we don’t want to built web sites, easy page makers or not. Making new pages, figuring out where or how to add them to the navigation – not cool.

Two, audience. Family and friends we proudly told about our site came once. Then the incentive was gone and they didn’t come anymore.

All We Wanna Do Is Have Some Fun

In the end, all we wanted to do is:

· Share some links to stuff we found cool (the “forwards”)

· Show our photos (the “kids & cats”)

· Show our videos (without figuring out codecs or embedding)

· Post status updates and comments (make “statements”)

What we didn’t want to do is

· Write articles (or “posts”)

· Built web sites

· Author blogs

Empowered, Connected


Social networking sites have given us the things we want. The easy posting, the easy sharing, no responsibility to maintain the framework of the site.

And better yet – it comes with audience and participation built-in.

House Bar vc. Cheers

clip_image006That built-in audience and participation relates to Geocities vs. Facebook the same way setting up a house bar relates to a café.

At home, you have to build or get the bar. Add drinks, yourself. Then invite friends. Who are thrilled to celebrate your proud acquisition this Friday but not every coming Friday.

The bar around the corner on the other hand has built-in audience and participation. I bet if you go there today and open the door, people go “Norm!!” and are ready to listen to your latest status updates stories.

What It Says About Social

It shows that at this stage of the social networking development, we the public require something of a walled city with something like social town squares.

We’re often the keepers of those town squares; we choose who to follow or which things to show in our Facebook stream, for example. But it’s a town square that otherwise would be lacking.

Can aggregators or social dashboards take over that function then? Yes, but only if their use, either as a service of a software, is as common that we naturally expect people to use it the same way we currently expect someone to have, see and use email.

Images by: dmentia and xverges

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