The target audience for Bebo appears to be those who wished to “Blog Early, Blog Often”, the parent phrase for the acronym. The site appeal to Facebook types who dislike “applications.” It at least started out as very popular in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia
The site was started and owned by Michael and Xochi Birch from 2005 to 2008 when AOL purchased it. Then, in 2010, AOL sold Bebo to Criterion Capital Partners. The 2010 sale was due to decreasing numbers of new users. It is, however, still operating.
Some Reasons for Popularity
Some elements of its popularity include access to Bebo Books where subscribers can upload chapters of books, opportunities to convert Authors or Bands to Groups, and accessing updates to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and other services, through Bebo, It also offers adding quizzes to profiles.
It appears the main competitors were and are Facebook and Twitter, but Bebo is being improved to compete more effectively.
My SNS Future
I do have a Facebook account that I really intend to improve and expand. I would not switch to Bebo or another SNS, since my family is connected to Facebook. I struggle with able to follow through with keeping my Facebook current and interesting. I have been found by people that I like and did not know were “still around.” Even some long lost friends of my brothers found them through my Facebook page (and my subsequent response).
I used the Boyd, Ellison article and Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bebo. Accessed March 4, 2011) for help answering these questions.