The Timeline of Social Media – An Overview

social media timelineEveryone we know uses it in one way or another. Whether it’s to organize an event or to delete those drunk pictures from the night before, has made an impact on everyone’s life. But where did it come from?

In the article below, courtesy of Fred Harrington, we will discuss the main points of the timeline of social media.

It could be seen that the first type of social media first hit the mainstream in 1999 with Blogger.

The internet had hit 1 million websites and AOL introduced a chat function so that users could communicate across the globe with their instant messaging service.

It was then in 1999 that Friends Reunited was introduced to the family computer and could be seen as the original Facebook. People could connect with old school friends, look at their pictures, and communicate through messages. Friends Reunited was seen as one of the first social networks to stand the test of time.

With more than 70 million computers connected to the Internet, we saw the introduction of Friendster in 2002. This website at its peak had more than 100 million users. The following year we saw the start of MySpace, a clone of Friendster, but this website withstands the test of time. Myspace allowed for editing profiles, whilst also having the ability for bands to showcase their music, gaining fans through a breakthrough form of marketing. They saw the music industry changing as a whole from this point on, with bands such as Arctic Monkeys and Lily Allen famously being found on the website.

2003 also saw other forms of social media being introduced, such as podcasts, Flickr – an image hosting website, and LinkedIn – a social network for professionals.

Then in 2004 the social network that everyone is aware of today was launched. Facebook was created at Harvard College and was known to the students as their own Friendster. Whilst Facebook was progressing in the background, Myspace overtook Friendster in page views, which showed the start of the decline for the website.

In 2005, Bebo, an acronym for “blog early blog often”, was started as another social networking website. Similar to other social media websites, you are able to connect with people, viewing their pictures, and later creating little apps and quirky ideas to separate it from its competitors.

YouTube was also brought to light where for the first time there was a website where the general public could store and retrieve videos.

It was in 2006 that Twitter was launched, a microblogging site which lets members send and receive tweets. Not only because they tweet their friends and family, but now there was a way to get closer to celebrities. You were able to read what they were doing and even communicate with them, breaking down the barriers between them and the fans.

Myspace continued to grow and became the most popular social networking site in this year. With MySpace and Bebo continually growing, Facebook became worldwide and in 2007 introduced apps.

During 2008 and 2009, with a quarter of the Earth’s population using the Internet, we saw the rise and fall of many social media websites. Bebo and Friends Reunited were rebranded or sold by many companies, all of which failed to keep up with MySpace, Twitter, and Facebook. Facebook surpassed MySpace with its figures of the monthly unique visitors. The press was starting to see the effects of the micro-blogging site Twitter and how fast it could break a news story.

From 2009 to the present day we have seen new additions to the social media world, all looking at different aspects of the industry. Websites and apps have been launched including Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+, WordPress, and Instagram – just to name a few. Having such an increase in social media websites, some of the original social media including MySpace and Bebo had to redesign and relaunch their product to compete. Those which could not adapt such as Friendster have ended up shutting down completely.

Social media is now a vital part in people’s and business’s day-to-day life. With Facebook now having over a billion users and with the introduction of smartphones, you are now always connected. The business world is now adapting with their brand visibility by encouraging their customers to join them on Facebook or Tweet us. You are buying into their brand.

It is also now the quickest and easiest way to get the latest news. With tools such as Twitter, as soon as something happens, it will be on there; certainly faster than waiting to the 6 o’clock news or going to the corner shop the morning after.

Of course, though, there are always negatives with new technologies and with this area the main issue is privacy. Signing up to all these websites provides the big companies with the opportunity to find out everything about you and with their terms and conditions they own all of your documents and pictures, allowing them to use these away from your control. Treat social media like your grandparents. Anything you would be embarrassed to show them, probably shouldn’t be shown to the world of social media.

Published by Kidal Delonix (1087 Posts)

Kidal Delonix is a contributor to Mr. Hoffman's blog. The views and opinions are entirely his/her own and may not reflect Mr Hoffman's views.

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