Retro social networking sites – or life before Facebook, Insta and TikTok

Halaska Gábor | 2023-03-05
Few people know what the situation was like in Hungary before the spread of first Facebook and then its "successor", the hip sites of today, such as Insta and TikTok. Let's see retro social networking sites - or life before Facebook, Insta and TikTok.

A well known networking site Facebook was launched on 4 February 2004, but it only started to spread more widely in Hungary in 2009. However, there were two major Hungarian social networks at that time: iWiW and MyVip.

iWiW started more than 20 years ago, on 14 April 2002, initially under the name WiW, which was later changed, but because of the rapid growth of Facebook, iWiW was shut down on 30 June 2014.

MyVip, on the other hand, was only launched on 8 April 2006, but it received a rush of registrations, mainly from young people in Hungary. At the time, the saying among teenagers was “old people have iWiW, MyVip is ours”.

MyVip, seemingly the second fiddle to iWiW, which had millions of users (mostly Hungarian), was given a huge boost by young people (mainly teenagers at the time): on its ninth day after the launch, it had more than 100,000 users and took 225 days to reach its one millionth user.

Here you could join clubs. There were plenty of clubs, even though you could only stay a club owner if you paid money. MyVip currently has over 20,000 active clubs, with the 50 largest clubs having over 25,000 members!

What are the 3 main differences – MyVip or Facebook?

There were three big differences between networking site MyVip and Facebook. The first was that you had to receive an invitation to MyVip from someone, and your profile had this information displayed prominently, who it was from.
The second was that MyVip revealed who had clicked on and viewed your profile in the last 168 hours. The only time you got into trouble was when you wanted to look at someone’s profile in a discreet way, and only when you logged out did you realise that you hadn’t.
Thirdly, if you uploaded pictures to MyVip, a counter showed how many people clicked on them, i.e. looked at them (this hidden feature included spies, too). This view count was as important in the lives of teenagers 12-15 years ago as likes are to teenagers now.

Young crowd with phones on a festival – photo:

MyVip today

Then, in 2009, Facebook started to spread rapidly among the Hungarian people too, with young users using the two sites in half and half for a short while, but then they switched completely. Many people deleted their MyVip accounts.

In contrast to iWiW, MyVip is still in operation today. It can be interesting for today’s generation of twenty to thirty looking back at their profiles back then, for example, who their friends were. And for youngsters, it might be interesting to look at the profiles and pictures of people they know who were teenagers 10-15 years ago, surprises are guaranteed.

Want to know more about this “retro” site?

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