Like Friends Reunited – the name translates as “Our Class” – Nasza-Klasa encourages networking between old schoolfriends. And like FR, the site has enjoyed huge popularity. It is visited by more than 70 per cent of Polish Internet users each month and ranked by Alexa among top 3 the most popular websites in Poland (where Google Poland is number one). According to Hitwise, at one point in 2009 nasza-klasa.pl was the the 6th most visited website in the UK, ahead of Twitter (then in 7th place), reflecting the growth of Britain’s Polish immigrant population after EU accession in 2004.)
But there is another, less positive, similarity with Friends Reunited.
Poland has historically seemed immune to global internet trends, with activities such as tweeting and blogging generally failing to make an impact. Nasza-Klasa has also benefited from openness and ease of use in a country where broadband penetration remains below European averages. But as Internet use increases, so does the threat of Facebook.
Facebook’s users are perceived to be younger, better educated, more successful urban dwellers, while Nasza-Klasa has a reputation for appealing to Internet beginners. While one can assume there will always be a psychological need to compare your life with those of old friends (and foes), that same psychology is likely to drive users toward Facebook.
Right now Facebook has an estimated 3 million active users in Poland compared with Nasza-Klasa’s almost 14 million – but the global network is catching up fast.