I chose to research Hi5 because I hear that it is very popular with the international community. My students in the English Club told me about it, but I’ve never checked it out and it might be the hot new thing ☺
1. What was the target audience for this social networking site?
Hi5 was founded in 2003 on the tails of MySpace to reach out to a more global community, mostly in Latin America from what I can tell. Both Wikipedia and the Hi5 website claim that it is the 3rd largest “social media site” worldwide. It is available in many languages and appeals to a more international community. One of my students said she joined it to keep in touch with some Puerto Rican friends she met on a cruise.
2. How long was the site in existence?
It definitely still exists. It looks to be a lot like Facebook. A member joins the website and creates a profile. Then the member can have “friends,” play games and listen to music. It also has groups and an option to “flirt.”
3. Why was it popular? What was its demise?
“Social Networking Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship” suggests that it came about as a result of demand for a more global social networking community. Most of the online reviews of the site say that it is great for keeping in touch with friends and family in Central America and also cite it as easy to use.
4. Is/was there another competitor in the same market that was more popular?
This seems to be the most popular site in the international market that isn’t also popular in the United States.
5. Would you ever consider creating an account and using it? Explain your reason using a personal experience as an example.
I don’t think that I would consider creating an account, unless I made a bunch of Central American friends. I recently deleted many of my out of use social networking profiles, but I still have a few. Mostly Facebook works for all my social networking needs. I don’t need to “flirt” or to play anymore distracting online games. I did live in London for a time and if there were a social site that more British people used, I might join that to get back in touch with those friends (but some of them are on Facebook anyway). That is one thing that is pretty cool about social networking, it does let users form an international community, and I’m all for that. I joined MySpace and then Facebook originally so that I could keep in touch with friends that lived all over the country. My best friends in the world are my best friends from high school and none of them still live in Arizona except for me. We have remained really close all through college and graduate school and they are going to be my bridesmaids in my wedding this summer. Although by no means is social networking the only way we communicate, the fact that all these communication technologies have allowed me to maintain friendships that otherwise would have been lost. Although I’ve never been big on making friends online, these sites are much better than a yearly Christmas card for keeping friends.