It’s Sunday at noon, the Windows Vista calendar date ends in “09”. You open Firefox and type “tuenti” in the browser bar. Autocomplete. Logging in. You take the opportunity to remove legañas. AHA. You have been tagged in 86 photos —all from last night’s party—, you have two comments on the board, a friend request (“let it be Tania, let it be Tania…”) and an invitation to an event. MGMT’s ‘Time to Pretend’ plays in the background. It’s a dull morning, but you have no idea that fifteen years from now, probably more, you’ll still be remembering and talking about her. And even dedicating an article to him.
For everyone born between 1985 and 1995, Tuenti was the golden social network, a generational rite of passage. Something much more complete than Fotolog, a safe space that was hidden from the view of the elderly (be careful not to index it in Google) and our first great collective meeting point on the network. After its closure as a social network in X, now it is also closed as an operator. Telefónica, its owner since 2010, when it considered the Keteke project dead and preferred to take out the checkbook, reserves the right to reuse its brand for future projects, but the reality is that Tuenti has ceased to exist.
There were long before, they were called IRC, MSN, Terra chat or a MySpace that gave for what it gave. Nevertheless, In Spain, Tuenti was the first to keep us pending in the browser, with our real name and surname, with photos of our faces and transferring our offline experiences there to discuss and share them in the 15 inches of our computer.
Messenger It was the one who achieved the first wave of online personal communications for several generations, but Tuenti, from its offices attached to the Congress of Deputies, was the one who took it one step further. Many people had barely uploaded a few photos of her to the Internet until she debuted on Tuenti and in a few years she had already published thousands.
It is not a hyperbole. The latest trend on Instagram is to delete old photos and leave a short selection on our profile that highlights the best of our time there, such as the youtube of Bergkamp. On Tuenti five years of activity could translate into five thousand images, perhaps more, because we did just the opposite:
- We uploaded many collective photos and very few individual ones.
- We uploaded photos of inside jokes that the rest did not understand
- We uploaded photos without editing (except for the horrific Picasa collages)
- We uploaded photos without any filter. Not photographic filter, but moral: it was acceptable to publish images of people drinking, drunk people, unconscious people and people vomiting
These publications also built an aspirational halo for those who came from behind, that is, those who were not yet old enough to go to a disco or boast of university life. And the patterns were repeating. It became chronic the summum online honesty: we have never been as authentic as in the blue wink social network. Then we turned assholes.
The sandunguero from Tuenti, showing off the L in his hand the day he got his driver’s license with a Steinburg in his other hand, is today the beating of LinkedIn who gives the rattle with the hoax of Colonel Sanders and the Kentucky brand, the who has not spoken to us since high school but now gives us a unique opportunity to earn money traveling, the CEO of his personal project.
Life in Tuenti was crude defeatist without losing the smile. The usual, almost tautological, of a free evasion in a country whose economy was collapsing. It was to expose without complexes the diet of the university student: pasta with tuna, not always with tomato, and the climax gourmet, Thursday night kebab. Ten extra points if in the photo the cone that every shared apartment guarded came out in the background. Who tells their life like this on Instagram? Ana Iris Simón told it perfectly in Vice: ‘In Tuenti we were ourselves, not who we pretended to be’.
Tuenti was so relevant that even the Episcopal Conference copied (and chopped up) his name and image to launch an anti-abortion campaign that ended in cross accusations and withdrawal of the images.
“It’s a you in you”, anti-abortion campaign launched by the Episcopal Conference in the spring of 2010 imitating the image of Tuenti.
Dï$fRüTaa AL veERmEe, suFre x nö tënêRmeE
Tuenti, which was fantastic on a technological level (that search engine could not have been more refined), was culminated in a perverse indicator that was even worse than the number of followers: the counter of visits to our profile. Mystical for being only exposed to our eyes, relevant for revealing who had been interested in us anonymously. A medal that you chose whether to expose in a screenshot or not.
Those were the barbarian years. Architecture has its rough stage in Soviet brutalism, and Tuenti, Made in Spain by a Californian who ended up among gruesome stories, sublimated the harshest of the social media period. What was not sweetened, what was told as it happened, when “posturing” did not come in the dictionary. In 2009 we didn’t have vegan cachopos, but we did have a way of writing inherited from Messenger that scared the hell out of us.
Tuenti was one of the last authentic spaces left on the Internet, without filters or poses: the rise of personal brand awareness changed the paradigm
With the extinction of the brand, since its customers are redirected to O2, archeology dies of a happy memory for a whole generation. Like those who passed through what was the Ruta del Bakalao’ taking their children to the beach and remembered their happy years there, in what are now only craters; To see the ‘Tuenti’ brand was to briefly go back to the online chaos, to the first sentimental dalliances with those we only knew by sight. To take a hundred photos without posing, not one posing. “Photo Tuenti!” to the friend who took the camera.
A stage that will never return, because we all feel that we have too much to lose, and every online presence is worthy of being cared for by that of the personal brand, watering it day by day with care as if it were a plant, and what will the future say employers. We can choose between being there or not, but being like on Tuenti is no longer an option.
It was also an ode to the canine aesthetic and a pioneer of Internet discord, but we already know that nostalgia sweetens everything. We will see if something is capable of sweetening in ten years how insufferable Instagram is today. We will remember you fondly, Tuenti.