Siem Reap, Cambodia– Friendster, the grandaddy of Social Networking sites, took the internet by storm in 2002, garnering over 100 million users and becoming an online marketplace for friendships, relationships, and Magic: The Gathering card trading. But as TheFacebook ascended to social media stardom, Friendster fell out of favor; users switched sites; posts became boring; and all the women left for the new, sexy, Justin Timberlake-endorsed social network.
“When we did a study in 2007, we found that 90% of our users were desperate middle-aged men going through midlife crises,” said Rohan Mamdur from Friendster’s Research and Development team, “And that’s not the demographic we were looking for when we created this slightly creepy friend site. At that point, we were running on fumes.”
However, despite the recent successes of social networking dynamos MySpace, Facebook, Adult Friend Finder, and The Social Network, Friendster has made a strong comeback in recent years, taking advantage of the untapped networking market of Southeast Asia and switching the site’s platform from friend-based to juvenile-video-game-based. Once referred to as the “Sleeping Giant of the Socio-Internet World,” Southeast Asia has become Friendster’s lifeline in an ever more cut-throat internet market.
Today, with over 18 million users from Southeast Asia, Friendster is thriving. “We’re no longer the place for mediocre men to meet even more mediocre men. We’ve got Asians now!” beamed Mamdur.
Leading tech experts are christening the resurrection of Friendster in Southeast Asia as the “Re-Invasion of Vietnam.”
Historians have even gone so far as to speculate that Friendster is a catalyst for the rise of powerful economies in Laos and Malaysia.
“I call this economic phenomenon in Southeast Asia the ‘Friendster Capital-Inducer Hypothesis’, wherein we see countries develop economically only after a significant portion of their population has adopted Friendster as a social networking tool,” explained Northwestern Professor of Media Studies Jack Dupent, “My colleagues and I are only in the beginning stages of delineating exactly how we see this playing out on a global scale, but for now, all we can say to countries with populations who primarily utilize Facebook and MySpace is: watch out.”
Dupent continued, “Listen. Forget oil. Forget corn. Forget Facebook stock. Get on board with Friendster, and you can kiss any economic problems goodbye.”
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