What would a Smartphone Look Like if Facebook Didn’t Exist?
What would a Smartphone screen look like if Facebook didn’t exist?
So we have imagined what Smartphones screens might have looked like had the technology existed at a different point in time, in an alternate universe. To this point, we have created smartphones in the 1950s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.
In this post we are going in a slightly different direction. Here we present what a smartphone screen might have looked like, today in 2019, had Facebook flopped. Let’s say Facebook sold to Yahoo circa 2006 and, well it went the way of other Yahoo purchases and acquisitions went.
This happens before the release of the first release of the iPhone. The result being it opens things up, and other apps stick around a little (or a lot) longer than our current, Facebook saturated, reality. Let’s bring some of the defunct social media sites back to life and imagine how it would fit into your phone today.
And here is what that non existent Facebook, smartphone would look like:
There was a time where Twitter had made an offer to buy out Instagram. It didn’t happen. Facebook eventually made the purchase, and the rest is history. The name may have switched up a bit.. Twittergram has a nice ring to it. Oh, and they let you put links in the posts! Marketers went wild with excitement!
Anyone remember Bolt? Think of it as a social media and video network before we knew what a these things were. Here is, what appears to be a beta mode shot from April 1997 courtesy of the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. Bolt lasted all the way till 2007, followed up by a relaunch in 2008, then a re-shutdown before the year’s end.
Pownce was a microblogging site, that came and went pretty quickly between 2007 and 2008. It was similar to Twitter but didn’t stick around long enough to become a threat.
Not exactly sure what happened as Six Apart purchased and shut down Pownce fairly quickly. In our re imagined universe Pownce is still rocking the minimal characters, get straight to the point, social scene.
Often called Facebook before Facebook. We actually used the Globe in our “90s version of a smartphone screen” and feel it deserves to be used again. The story was recently told again by Stephan Paternot and Todd Krizelman in the first season of Valley of the Boom on National Geographic.
These two had the concept of a social network down. It survived the dotcom bubble burst though it’s eventual demise can be chalked up to being ahead of its time.
Whatever the case, they played a key role in shaping those early days of the internet. Watching Paternot and Krizelman tell their story throughout the six episodes was a very cool trip down memory lane!
Common, we have to include the OG of social networks. Friendster was the lead dog of social networks up until 2004 when MySpace caught up to them. With that said, it is only right to pay respects to the platform that paved the way for others.
Friendster.com is still live though they have been on break since June 2015. Anyone want to make them an offer and take a crack at dethroning the current kings?
Apple once tried an app blending music and social media. They obviously have the capability and the track record to be successful in this world. Why not enter the market and grab some shares, right? Sure but the only issue is, that nobody cared. If they did, they care for long.
Maybe in this universe Apple could have made it work, and Ping would be a thing.. See what we did there?
We can’t have a list like this without the Dailybooth app. They had the vision of people documenting their day to day life, just like people do on Instagram and Snapchat today. Credit people such as John Wheatley and Ryan Amos for this forward thinking.
Timing, human behavior, algorithms, psychology, and so much more.. One becomes part of day to day life, the other a ghost town and shut downs. What a market to be in.
Yes, in this alternate universe Myspace Tom is still your friend and Tila Tequila would still be doing her thing. One could argue the decline of Myspace was not entirely due to Facebook, as there was probably an element of self destruction on their part. That said, a non FB world may have left a lane for the former king of social media to still exist.
Oh and in this world, they would have to get rid of Punch the Monkey and win a free.. whatever it was they were advertising. People stopped punching when the monkey wasn’t paying up. Hey, we can chalk it up to internet nostalgia today.
The Best Camera
Big props and shout out to Chase Jarvis as he was one of the true visionaries of how smartphone camera use, image sharing, and consumer behavior would evolve. He had an app years ago called Best Camera. It was one of the first apps where the user could use multiple filters, share their images, become friends with others, etc.
The Best Camera Book is still available today. We take it for granted today, though these were not common features and tools in 2009.
Chase got jammed up in legal issues with the developers, as the market took off and evolved, with Instagram winning the Image app race. Well, in our alternate universe, Best Camera app is still around.
Oh, and it still rings true: “The best camera is the one that is with you” – Chase Jarvis.
Path just recently shut down, and we want it back. This was a network for smaller groups of people, not the “make as many connections as possible, everyone look at me” type app. The concept is where trends could be headed in the coming years, and could have been the case without a facebook around.
We’re going way back here. Launching in 1999 they evolved right along the way with book and music reviews, blogging options, image sharing, etc. Xanga is still actually still around though it hasn’t become ingrained in the mainstream conscious as other platforms have managed to do.
This was a live video streaming app that had a run from February 2015 thru October 2016. As much as we wanted to find a sufficient Meerkat for the fictional purposes of this post, we were unable to without infringing on someone else’s intellectual properties. In other words, sorry this doesn’t look like the old Meerkat app.
Yahoo Buzz.. or Yahoo Fuzz
Ya Ya, we have to include Yahoo in the mix here. Let’s say after their acquisition of Facebook, they bungle the whole thing as they have a phenomenal reputation for doing. They merge the whole world of Facebook into the purple world of Yahoo and here is the result! Yahoo Buzz was a thing for a while, though we’re going with Yahoo Fuzz just because we can.
PS.. Still mad at Yahoo for killing off Alta Vista, my original search engine. So with that said Alta Vista becomes our web browser on the bottom row!
So imagine Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss really put their foot on the gas pedal. They want revenge, and they’re out to destroy Facebook and Zucks. That little misunderstanding about the Harvard Connection has come back loaded with Karma. Payback time bro.. How does it feel to take it in the year.. *ear?
An that is that. Thanks for checking us out and exploring what things might look like if facebook didn’t exist. More alternative realities to come!
89 Prime Alternate Universe Explorer Team
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