2006: Facebook is only available at colleges. Tim, Mark, and Ted are working on a neighborhood-level social network called Allstonlink. Mark has the idea of letting people draw on others' profiles; we built the feature and named it Artwall.
2007: Facebook launches a platform which lets third parties built applications for Facebook. Allstonlink wasn't working, but people would use it just so they could draw to their friends. Tim/Mark/Ted realized that it would be a huge success on Facebook, so over the weekend they rewrote it and launched it as Graffiti for Facebook.
The application grew exponentially to over 25 million users (at one point it was the second largest Facebook application). People drew 120 million Graffiti.
Most people used Graffiti as a new form of casual communication (over 30% of Graffiti drawings contained a heart). But it also attracted thousands of wonderful artists, who took the simplistic tools as a creative challenge and began pushing the application to its limits.
We did our best to encourage this activity by running themed contests and adding a public gallery where the community could vote on the best drawings. You can see many examples in the Public Gallery Archive and the Contest Archive. Over time, the community of artists grew stronger, creating their own fan groups to share their Graffiti art, learn from each other, and even form lasting friendships. We wish we could have continued to support the Graffiti community.
Collectively, people have spent millenia drawing Graffiti. The Archive is an attempt to preserve all the memories, artwork, and stick figures.
Thank you everyone for using Graffiti!