The history of social media has been a relatively fast-growing operation. To think that Friendster hit the scene in 2002, just 17 years ago, and then to think about how far we’ve come since then is incredible. On top of that, Friendster wasn’t even the first platform available. New forms of social media are moving at rapid rates, and it’s hard to remember that only a few years go by in between the next big thing. We’ve put together a timeline to help you keep track of what happened, when it happened, and how it impacted our society.
Based on the “six degrees of separation” concept, Six Degrees was the first actual social networking site. It operated from 1997 to 2001. It allowed users to list friends, family members and acquaintances both on the site and externally. External contacts were invited to join the site. People could send messages, post bulletin board items to their contacts.
As aforementioned, Friendster was created in 2002. Peter Chin, Jonathan Abrams, and Dave Lee were the masterminds behind the operation. It helped pave the way for some of the same social media platforms we use day in and day out in 2019.
The creators of Friendster infamously turned down $30 million from Google. The reason? They thought they could get even more famous and more money from someone else. This would turn out to be one of the biggest mistakes in the social world, as it’s quite obvious that no one is using Friendster anymore.
Founded in 2002, LinkedIn offered a different kind of social network; the kind that helped you find jobs. LinkedIn is still used today for the same reasons: post resumes, network with other people in your field, and talk to potential bosses about working for them. After a year of operation, they reached 1 million followers. Today, there are over 575 million people registered on the site.
Though Myspace was made public in 2003, it didn’t become super popular until 2005. According to its Wikipedia page, Myspace is an American social networking website offering an interactive user-submitted network of friends personal profiles, blogs, groups, photos, music, and videos. From 2005 to 2008, it was the largest social media networking site in the world. It’s far from popular today, but it does still exist. Even though the social network isn’t active anymore, their software is still operating today in other systems.
Founded in 2004, it was reported to be the 2nd largest social network after Myspace by 2007. The social networking site, if(we), formerly known as Tagged, purchased hi5 in December 2011, for an undisclosed sum and still operates it today. It followed a similar social media pattern of friend networks, groups, picture sharing, etc.
This name should come as no surprise to anyone. Mark Zuckerberg, founder of the platform, originally made Facebook accessible only to students at Harvard University, the same school he attended. It would later go public for everyone, and today there are around 2.7 billion users of the website. Facebook has made its mark on society, and it’s clear that it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
In 2005, YouTube was introduced to the world. With the capability to upload any video, anytime, anywhere, people quickly became entranced with it. To this day, YouTube still remains one of the most unique social media platforms ever. It’s got many of the same functions that other platforms do, but instead of making the major goal to be social with other users, it’s to share videos and comment, like, and share them. It’s the second largest search engine besides Google.
Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams were the masterminds behind Twitter, a microblogging and social media network. Users can “tweet” a thought up to 280 characters. This size limit originally began as 140, but was later doubled in 2017 due to popular demand. Today, there are around 321 million monthly users on the platform, down about nine million from last year. Though popularity might be slightly decreasing, this is one platform that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Instagram is a photo and video-sharing social networking service released in 2010 and owned by Facebook, Inc. The app has gained popularity with celebrities, influencers, and young adults as it’s an easy way to look into their lives. Famous people such as Kim Kardashian, Cristiano Ronaldo, Beyonce, and more have millions of followers and constantly post pictures of themselves, their homes, their jobs, and their lives.
In 2011, Snapchat is released to the public. Three Stanford students, Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown, created the multimedia messaging app. Instead of word messaging, users send pictures back and forth with the ability to add text and filters. The messages disappear once opened, taking the messaging world to the next level. Snapchat is still alive and well today making improvements along the way.
Social media is always developing and changing, but it’s important to remember where it came from and how it has grown to be what it is today. If it weren’t for the early platforms such as Friendster and Myspace, we might have what we do now. All of these networks are available in app form, which means that they can be enjoyed from a computer or a smartphone. This mobile world that we live in requires such features, and we can be sure that things will continue to grow and change. Who knows whether Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter will still be the “it” apps in ten years or not. Whatever the outcome, society is always ready for the next big thing.