Meesto existed as a social networking site focused on innovating the user experience. Below is an overview of how has Meesto progressed over the years. It is impossible to cover the entire detailed history of Meesto but this should give you a solid foundational overview.
The Very First Versions (c.2005-2007)
At this stage, Meesto was just getting off the ground. This first version released was actually the third version of the site. The first two versions never came up to par with the high standards regarding user experience, which Meesto was founded on.
Official release version one consisted of the basic and most common social networking features for connecting with friends and bands.
The innovation here was mostly in the area of bands/music. For users this meant being able to send music recommendations to their friends, make their own custom mixes, and send their own custom mixes. Users who were fans of a particular band could nominate that band to participate in Song of the Week – a weekly voting system which allowed fans to express their support for their favorite band.
This version also contained a unique concept called the Café which was set up to be a central hub for communal conversation. Never fully realized, the Café, was the place for Song of the Week, community news, communal conversation, and community message boards.
The Fourth Version (c.2008)
This next official version of the site implemented various improvements and changes. All features relating the bands/music were removed for a focus on the friend and community connections. This was also when the infamous bouncing icon bottom navigation bar was implemented.
Version four was mainly about getting Meesto up to par with other already prominent social networking sites, in regard to features. The goal here was to make it so, if you were using Meesto, you did not lose any of your favorite features from other sites, rather you got to experience those features in an easier to use, user-centric environment.
The Fifth Version [codename: reinVented] (c.2008-2009)
The fifth version of Meesto marked a whole new way of thinking about the site. It was as much of a reinvention in design as it was in mindset. There was a great deal of thought put in to theories of online communication and user interfaces, ideas which allowed Meesto to differentiate itself among other social networking sites. This was when the original Meesto Creedo was written.
Version five marked the implementation of Meesto’s infamous tiered social graph. There were five tier choices – friends, family, professional, education, and acquaintances – which allowed you to choose how to connect with someone before you added them. You could then limit the visibility of everything you did on the site according to these tiers. This made it so you could connect with everyone in your life without worrying about the wrong person seeing the wrong information. There were also sub-tiers, which you could personally create, to further specify visibility settings. Because of this, the term ‘peeple’ (a double e for Meesto) replaced the common social networking term of ‘friends.’
Version five also marked the implementation of Meesto’s infamous custom Meefile (a.k.a. profile) tabs. This allowed the user create and infinite number of custom profile content areas complete with photos, basic HTML, and links. Thus you could do such things as create blogs and share your various artistic talents.
Not to go unmentioned, version five marked the implementation of Meesto’s perhaps most favorite feature: the Mineefile. This allowed you to create a miniature profile for various things in your life, such as pets, who were unable to realistically make a Meesto, but were still significant to you. Multiple people could own these Mineefiles and you could tag them in pictures.
By this release Meesto was not missing any of the popular features other sites had. There was a news feed, you could upload whole photo albums, make events, and make communities. However, version five of Meesto did not set out just to copy features other sites became famous for, it set out to innovate off of these already popular features. Among other things, this meant unique features such as collaborative photo albums, communities around events, and communities based off of particular interests people had.
During this time there was one official release (version five) and many incomplete, unreleased, sub-versions. The ideas of Meesto evolved so fast that often work began on the next revision before the soon to be version was even complete. There is no official count for how many sub-versions never fully matured into their own official release, but I would guess somewhere around three or four.
All-in-all, this was the last official release of Meesto, the social networking site. Meesto was never able to realize its full potential and never maintained an active user base. The site was officially shutdown May 15th, 2010 in order to focus resources on the Meesto Blog.
Meesto Blog (c.2010)
This blog was designed to be an outlet to share all my thoughts about Meesto without having to be limited by my resources to manifest them. In essence, this blog tracked a piece of my personal journey in which I explored ideas of online communication, collaboration, and business philosophy. Obviously I could only talk about it for so long until I actually took action and built a whole new version.
The Sixth Version, “a social networking tool where you control your data and you control the site” [codename: re6orn] (c.2010-2012)
The Meesto Blog helped build a focus on Meesto’s core competency. More so, the Blog laid down a philosophical framework to pick up where the social networking site left off. This was, in part, constructed in reaction to push back many popular social networking tools received at the time. The sixth version of Meesto came around the same time as Diaspora and was founded on similar ideas. The main difference is that Meesto sought to have a centralized rather than distributed system. The alignment was around user control, open source development, and non profit ideals.
Meesto, the user controlled social networking site, was built from scratch using lessons learned from previous Meesto development. Many core features such as the tiered social graph were borrowed from earlier versions. Unnecessary features were trimmed off and new features such as live chat and notification were added. This was the first and only release for this iteration as a focus was placed on smaller refinements.
Though successful as a social networking tool, Meesto, the user controlled social networking site, was unable to gain traction against the other projects out at the time. Many factors contributed to this. The site was closed down in 2012.