Fleek Teen is an online magazine for teens to learn, grow and relax. The site features an “In The Know” section to help grow your knowledge and curiosity, and maybe even to help a little with your homework. The site also has a Motivation section where you can find inspirational stories, anecdotes and poems that can help you on difficult days. Beyond that, Fleek Teen is whatever you make it.
Part of this website’s history is about meeting the needs of our visitors, which change over time. What is that history? Believe it or not, this website has actually been around quite a while. In fact, it is now in its 17th year. The site originally debuted under the name TeenSite.Net. The focus shifts and changes every four or five years based on what is important to teens at the time.
When it launched on January 3, 2000, Teensite.net was mostly about inspiring the next generation. The web was still very much about one way communication. This was before social media and when message boards were still relatively new. There weren’t even comments at the end of articles. The website was mostly a collection if inspirational stories and poems that you could read, and one single online forum where you could talk or ask questions. At the time of launch, if you were to sit down and read every article, one at a time, you would have been reading for about two days. It was a lot of content!
As the technology grew, Teensite was able to interact more with visitors and a major re-design brought about a site that still had its traditional inspirational stories, but also added sections for advice and Q&A. Visitors could ask for advice via email, chat room, or message boards. Each section was treated as its own separate website within a “network” of inter-linking websites. The site had a message board for each section, and the section of the site were topical. Relationships, peer pressure, depression and self-worth were just a few of the topics available.
It didn’t take long for the message boards to become the primary feature of the site. Teens stopped reading many of the articles and the pre-written advice pages and headed to the forums where they had a safe community to ask questions and share thoughts. Profile pages were added as social media began to become popular, and users were also able to write their own blogs and use @teensite.net email addresses.
2009-2012: GHOST TOWN
Cue the wild west music and the tumbleweed. Remember how we said in the last entry that social media was becoming popular? Well, once the class of 2008 graduated, there weren’t a whole lot of new visitors to this website. Teens were instead using larger social media sites to find community, so they didn’t need websites like ours. Responding to this, Teensite.net set up shop on Tumblr, and the domain pointed to our Tumblr page until 2012.
Teensite.net took a breath for about four years. Some of that was due to a series of technical issues, but most of it was a deep need to just hit the pause button, sit out a generation of high school students, and see where and if we were needed in the future.
2017: WE’RE BACK
And now we know… By pressing pause, we realized how important a pause is. So, that brings us to the best thing we can offer today. A pause. A few moments out of your day, week, or month to reflect and meditate. You have community, information and advice. All of those things come to you on your phone and through social media. Every day, you are bombarded with notifications, flashing screens, media of all shapes and sizes and… noise. You can take a break here. Learn a little, grow a little and take a breath. The design of this website is deliberately simple to allow you just that. Just give us a moment of your time. Hopefully, you’ll be thankful that you did.