A young, customizable social network
- Very customizable
- Suitable for younger users
- Well developed apps and games
- Integrates with Twitter, Facebook, etc
- Losing users
- Too young for many users
- Not very stylish
Bebo is a free social network that will appeal to users looking for a bright, young environment in which to interact with their friends.
Bebo reached huge popularity in the early 2000's, especially in countries such as Ireland and New Zealand. Since then, user numbers have dropped steadily, with users moving to more international web apps such as Facebook and Twitter. Even so, Bebo has a huge number of users, and if you have friends who are active, there are a lot of good reasons to use the service.
The Bebo concept will be familiar to users of other social networks. Activity is based around a Lifestream, where updates on you and your friends' activity is displayed. As you would expect, there is support for photos, video, music, email, apps, games and more, while the Lifestream can also be configured to integrate with other web apps, such as Twitter, MySpace and YouTube. There is also a mobile version.
One feature that really makes this web app stand out is the customization options available - you can "skin" your profile, picking one of the thousands of Bebo skins available, or even design your own. You can also pick your own Bebo layouts, which makes your profile very personal, and highly flexible.
Clearly aimed at the under 25's, Bebo also scores highly from a practical point of view. Registration is easy and quick - you'll be using Bebo in under 3 minutes. Account settings are simple to negotiate, but bear in mind that when compared to other sites, the privacy settings are not very detailed.
As a social network, if Bebo is where your friends are, that's where you'll go. Just bear in mind that it's firmly aimed at the younger user.