Social networking giant Facebook debuted on the stock exchange on Feb. 1with an initial public offering of $5 billion, a small fraction of the up to $100 billion the company is thought to be worth. With over 800 million users, Facebook is (at least in the English-speaking Internet) the undisputed king of social networking.
But the ascendance of the site Mark Zuckerberg launched only eight years ago in his Harvard dorm room was not guaranteed. It has vanquished a number of competitors along the way. Some, like Myspace, are fading into obscurity. Others, like Twitter, have settled comfortably into a more specialized role. But some of Facebook's onetime foes have found an unlikely second wind in some unexpected places. Like aging American rock stars who can still pack the house in Kiev or Yokohama, the sites have attempted, with mixed success, to reinvent themselves for their new audience.