From Caramail to MSN, back to the pre-Facebook web

World Without Facebook Day has been celebrated every February 28 since 2011, and it aims to condemn cyber addiction to social networks. The shape presents this problem well: we spend roughly 7 hours a day on the web.

Facebook is a platform focused on all uses

In 18 years, Facebook has evolved significantly. The social network has created or copied many features. You can now do almost anything on Facebook. Discuss, post or send photos and videos, share stories, exchange within a private group, buy and sell products, get information from Facebook News, and even post short vertical videos largely inspired by TikTok. The social network has become a platform capable of centralizing all uses.

Before Facebook, we could already do most of these things online. The sites were less powerful than they are today, but each service has a specific purpose. On the occasion of this World Day, let’s go back to the time when this giant did not exist yet.

Find friends on Copains d’avant

Created in 2001, Copains d’avant allows users to find former classmates and also people they met during union or professional activities. At the time, you could already upload photos and send private messages.

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Tell his life story on his Skyblog

The Facebook wall didn’t even exist yet. You can tell your life on blogging. Skyblogs was launched in December 2002. The free service only requires a subscription to and allows you to share text, images, as well as videos.

sky blog
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Chat with your loved ones on MSN Messenger

Before Facebook Messenger, MSN was popular for instant messaging. Since its launch in July 1999, you can add contacts. Then gradually the functions appeared to allow users to share documents, conduct group conversations, organize conferences, record voice messages … Long before the pokes, you can attract the attention of interlocutors by sending wizzes.

msn messenger
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Ask ASV from strangers on IRC or Caramail chat

Facebook now allows you to interact with your loved ones but also with strangers. 20 years ago, you could already chat with strangers in chats that are open to everyone thanks to the IRC communication system. For the general public, there was Caramail with thematic chat rooms.

This is also the time of the famous “ASV” (age, gender, city). Today, Facebook profiles allow personal data to be viewed directly such as age, place of residence, marital status, and interests.

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Share your feelings on the forums

Facebook groups do not exist. To discuss with other users who shared the same sentiments, there were the forums. These distinctive spaces provided visitors with the opportunity to discuss a variety of topics.

Video games
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Enjoy a virtual life in Second Life

Meta offers the possibility to popularize the Metaverse in the near future but the social network was not invented much. For 20 years, Second Life has already been around. This revolutionary software has promised its users to live a second life online. Everyone can then create their own avatar, which they embodied in worlds imagined by the users themselves.

second life
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Be present on a social network: MySpace

Facebook is not the first social network that has managed to penetrate the world. As early as 2003, Myspace flooded the planet with a principle very close to Facebook’s work. Users had the option to create a personal profile using their profile picture, or invite friends or strangers to follow their page. Musicians have used MySpace a lot to introduce themselves and share their songs. Tom was then the first friend of all registrants. It was actually Tom Anderson, one of the founders of Myspace.

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Send emails with Wanadoo, AOL, Hotmail and Caramail

Today, emails are mainly used in a professional environment. Before the advent of instant messaging, it was the main channel of communication between friends. Users sent each other news, jokes, pictures… There were also great costumes for chain emails that told stories of swearing. It was then necessary to pass the email in question to 10 of his contacts to crack it. Mailboxes were constantly overflowing with frequently received channels. Today, these rumors, jokes and false information are found on social networks.

Emails from Wanadoo
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Learn about the ISP portal

A lot of information is circulating on social networks today. 20 years ago, The world’s population was familiar with newspapers, television and radio. ISPs have started offering news on their homepages. Thus the portals collected the latest global information, as well as weather, horoscopes and even the stock market.

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It was another era, where each site had a well-defined use. Features are now widely shared across platforms. When a site innovates, its competitor takes inspiration from it. It is becoming more and more complex for applications to impose themselves by introducing originality. But this strategy, which Facebook meticulously applies, is no longer as effective as it used to be; The drop in registered users was seen in early February. Snapchat and TikTok, despite the systematic copying of their main functions, resist Facebook attacks well. Did he expect internet users to finally appreciate the precursor to all-in-one platforms?

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