The historical past of social media is a protracted and storied one. It’s bursting with pivotal moments just like the launch of Instagram Tales, to that one time Zuck was on trial for Fb privateness points, to…actually, let’s simply have a look at your complete social media historical past timeline.
So sit again, calm down, and be part of us whereas we glance again at what as soon as was the longer term.
On one of the first true social media websites, SixDegrees.com, you might arrange a profile web page, create lists of connections, and ship messages inside networks.
The location amassed round a million customers earlier than being purchased out for $125 million, solely to shutter in 2000.
The precise reply to “when was the primary social media website launched” is debatable. SixDegrees was actually one among the primary, however you need to outline what a social media website is earlier than you possibly can say which is the primary.
For instance, the PLATO system, developed by the College of Illinois in 1970, had many options of an early social media community however was largely utilized in academia.
So, how previous is social media? It relies upon, however early social media platforms began to pop up within the late 90s to early 2000s, with the expertise budding as early because the 70s.
Who can overlook AmIHotorNot.com? The location invited customers to submit images of themselves so others might price their attractiveness. Sizzling or Not is rumored to have influenced the creators of Fb and YouTube and nurtured thousands and thousands of insecurities.
After being offered off just a few occasions, it’s presently rebranded because the courting app, Chat & Date.
Launched in 2002, Friendster was initially going to be a courting website that might assist arrange folks with pals in widespread. You may create a profile, embody “standing updates,” and reveal your temper.
Sadly, the location’s spike in recognition in 2003 caught the corporate abruptly. The flood of site visitors took a toll on Friendster’s servers, impacting customers, who more and more regarded to attach elsewhere.
Friendster rival Myspace (initially styled as MySpace) rapidly grew to become the go-to website for thousands and thousands of hip teenagers.
Its customizable public profiles (which regularly featured music, movies, and badly shot, half-nude selfies) have been seen to anybody, a distinction to Friendster’s non-public profiles.
2005 marked the apex of Myspace. The location had 25 million customers and was the fifth hottest website within the US when it offered to NewsCorp. And that was the beginning of its decline from ultra-trendy to ultra-tacky.
In 2003, Mark Zuckerberg launched Facemash, described as Harvard College’s reply to Sizzling or Not. “The Fb” adopted in 2004. Registering its one-millionth consumer that very same yr, the location grew to become simply “Fb” in 2005.
Across the identical time, a tidal wave of different social media websites swept ashore:
- LinkedIn emerged, focusing on the enterprise neighborhood
- Photosharing websites like Photobucket and Flickr got here into being
- Social bookmarking websites like del.ici.ous popped up
- The now ubiquitous platform WordPress was born
- Websites for teenagers like Nexopia launched, bringing sparkly, customizable profiles with them
- Video-sharing got here onto the scene with YouTube
- Information aggregator/snark manufacturing facility Reddit arrived
Twitter (née twttr) took flight in 2006.
The primary tweet ever, posted by co-founder @Jack Dorsey learn: “simply establishing my twttr.” and actually set the tone for future tweets. Dorsey originally envisioned twttr as a text message-based tool for sending updates between pals.
TechCrunch reported twttr’s first customers have been sending breaking life updates like: “Cleansing my condominium” and “Hungry.” (My, how occasions have(n’t) modified!)
In sharp distinction to different networks, LinkedIn was the primary to supply customers paid premium packages. Its Jobs and Subscriptions space, the location’s first premium enterprise line, helped herald income within the early days.
“So far as we’re involved, a yr of profitability is however a ‘style’ of the success we aspire to attain at LinkedIn,” mentioned social media supervisor Mario Sundar in a blog post lauding 2006 as LinkedIn’s first yr “within the black.”
By way of YouTube’s elephantine beginnings, the excitement grew. Between its beta stage in Could 2005 and the December 2005 launch, the location gathered almost eight million day by day views. Forward of its acquisition by Google within the fall of 2006, the location grew to 100 million movies watched by 20 million devoted customers.
In Could 2007, YouTube introduced its partnership program. The partnership program made it potential for YouTubers like Mr. Beast to make thousands and thousands immediately. This second primarily marked the start of social media influencers.
Tumblr and the age of the microblog (2007)
In 2007, the social community described as “Twitter meets YouTube and WordPress” got here a-tumblin’ alongside when 17-year-old David Karp launched Tumblr from his bedroom.
Quickly after, the time period micro-blogging grew to become broadly used to explain each Twitter and Tumblr, noting the change of ‘small’ quantities of content material.
The strict 140-character restrict for tweets set Twitter other than rivals, together with Fb and Tumblr. However Twitter’s significance was actually outlined by the hashtag, a logo that’s helped political organizers and common residents mobilize, promote, and create consciousness.
Hashtags have additionally helped plant the seeds that sprouted actions corresponding to #Occupy, #BlackLivesMatter, and #MeToo. Additionally, timesucks like #SundayFunday and #Susanalbumparty.
As the story goes, Twitter early adopter Chris Messina, proposed the hashtag for organizing tweets. It wasn’t till a few months later, that the #SanDiegoFire hashtag was sparked to combination tweets and updates in regards to the California wildfires. In 2009, Twitter capitalized on the hashtag by including hyperlink capabilities.
China’s Sina Weibo, or just Weibo, is basically a Fb and Twitter hybrid that launched in 2009, the identical yr Fb and Twitter have been banned within the nation.
Together with WeChat and Douyin, Weibo stays one among the most popular social networks in China.
Location-based app Foursquare was one of many first that allowed customers to “verify in,” whereas sharing suggestions all about their favourite neighborhoods and cities. They earned virtual mayorships whereas they have been at it.
It’s possible you’ll not bear in mind Foursquare (or weren’t but born throughout its heyday), however chances are high, you’ve used the corporate’s tech. Foursquare’s geolocation API was used for geofilters and placement tagging in apps like Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram.
Grindr, on the scene in 2009, was the primary geosocial networking app for courting geared in the direction of homosexual and bisexual males, serving to them meet different males close by. It revolutionized hookup culture and paved the way in which for a lot of different geolocation courting apps (like Tinder) for straight and queer folks alike.
On July 16, 2010, one among the first Instagram photos to be published by co-founder Mike Krieger (@mikeyk) was an uncaptioned, closely filtered shot of a marina.
Instagram posts have change into fairly a bit extra subtle, largely because of the platform’s success, and Instagram’s now the most downloaded app globally.
Pinterest went stay in closed beta in 2010, launching in 2011. Pinning rapidly grew to become a favourite new pastime (and verb) for home gods and goddesses.
As of 2022, Pinterest had 445 million monthly active users, proving simply how common the location stays.
Virtually precisely a yr after Instagram, soon-to-be rival “Picaboo” launched, rapidly rebranding to Snapchat following a lawsuit by a equally named firm.
The app’s early success tapped into the ephemeral nature of life’s moments, permitting customers to submit content material that might vanish after 24 hours. (To not point out giving us all the flexibility to puke rainbows.)
The disappearing snaps appealed to the teenager demographic the app first attracted. Snapchat was additionally the right various for teenagers to search out their pals and flee their households on Fb.
2011 was additionally the yr Google tried to roll out one other reply to Fb and Twitter, following earlier failed makes an attempt. Google Plus’ invitation-only system dropped in 2011, giving new customers entry to 150 invites they might ship out earlier than the official opening. Demand was so excessive that Google ultimately needed to droop them.
Sadly, the social community’s launch was no match for social juggernauts like Fb and Twitter. Google Plus struggled to accrue its rivals’ staggering utilization numbers, and it will definitely fizzled.
Twitch, the vastly common online game live-streaming website, was initially launched as a subsidiary of Justin.television, a normal curiosity streaming website that launched in 2007.
Apparently, A LOT of individuals (like 45 million unique viewers by 2013) love watching live-streamed video video games. Amazon noticed the spike and rapidly scooped Twitch up.
Eight years after its launch (from Zuck’s Harvard dorm room), Facebook announced its consumer base had reached one billion customers.
“Should you’re studying this: thanks for giving me and my little group the glory of serving you. Serving to a billion folks join is superb, humbling and by far the factor I’m most happy with in my life,” Zuckerberg mentioned.
This was additionally the yr Facebook acquired Instagram for a billion dollars, a notable second within the timeline of social networks.
Vine launched in 2013, however not earlier than Twitter purchased the video-sharing app for $30 billion. The premise was pretty easy—movies shared on Vine might solely be as much as 6 seconds lengthy—however rapidly spawned a definite style of humor that also resonates immediately.
Regardless of the speedy success, the app had a reasonably fast demise resulting from apps like Snapchat and Instagram following with their very own video-sharing capabilities.
Slack dropped the identical yr as Google Hangouts and introduced social media to the company world in a approach LinkedIn didn’t.
Slack presents staff a spot to socialize on-line inside firms and business professionals a spot to socialize with others in related Slack teams.
Whereas early social media influencers constructed followings on locations like YouTube and Twitch, the monetization of their followers leveled up with Patreon.
It was created by developer Sam Yam and musician Jack Conte, who wished to create an earnings stream from his YouTube movies. The platform permits patrons to subscribe to month-to-month or unique creator content material.
Twitter proclaimed 2014 because the “Year of the Selfie” following Ellen DeGeneres’s Oscar picture. That selfie has been retweeted greater than three million occasions, setting a Twitter report and profitable Twitter’s award for “Golden tweet” of the yr.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@EllenDeGeneres) March 3, 2014
Meerkat was the primary app to start out the live-streaming craze (RIP). Then, Twitter developed Periscope and gained the streaming wars (for some time).
Periscope grew to become the go-to app for streaming and watching stay occasions. Taking a shower with hearts anytime you hit the report button was all the inducement anybody wanted. It was so common that Apple awarded the app the iOS app of the year in 2015.
Now, live-streaming is a normal characteristic in main apps like TikTok, Instagram, and Fb. RIP to Periscope, 2015-2021.
Taking a web page from Snapchat, Instagram launched “Stories,” permitting customers to submit picture and video sequences that disappear inside 24 hours (though they’ll now be saved and archived).
Filters, stickers, polls, hashtags, and highlights to reinforce Tales have made the app much more addictive.
In 2023, Instagram introduced “Reside Story Replay,” a characteristic that lets you replay your stay movies in your Instagram Tales.
You may argue that 2016 was a no-good, very unhealthy yr for social media and, by extension, democracy.
It was the yr subtle data warfare was waged utilizing “troll factories” on social media used to unfold disinformation, together with false claims and conspiracy theories, in the course of the U.S. presidential election.
Fb has since revealed that 126 million Individuals have been uncovered to content material by Russian brokers in the course of the election. In 2018, Fb, Twitter, and Google representatives appeared before the U.S. Congress to testify as a part of ongoing investigations into Russia’s makes an attempt to affect the elections.
Douyin, an app by ByteDance, was launched exterior of China underneath the title TikTok. TikTok’s recognition burns via Asian international locations. It grew to become broadly popularized in North America in 2019, at about the identical time Lil Nas X launched Previous City Highway on the platform, which rapidly went viral.
Twitter doubled its signature character restrict from 140 to 280 characters.
The key change, together with the introduction of Twitter threads (aka Twitterstorms), now means tweets that may make you go WTF are more and more unavoidable as everybody makes the most of their 280 characters.
Rick Ross Funniest Moments
A Thread 🧵: pic.twitter.com/UgiWaWI4vW
— PleaseDontTouchMyRaf (@0piumThug) February 22, 2023
In early 2018, it was revealed that Fb allowed a researcher from Cambridge Analytica (one who labored on Donald Trump’s presidential marketing campaign) to harvest data from 50 million users without their consent.
Dealing with mounting strain to handle knowledge privateness, Zuckerberg participated in 5 days of hearings earlier than the U.S. Congress.
In 2018, Instagram elevated its one-minute video restrict to 1 hour and launched a brand new app, IGTV, devoted to long-form video. Additionally they debuted Reels, an Instagram video feature, in 2019.
In 2021, Instagram merged IGTV and Feed movies right into a single format: Instagram Video. This created 4 several types of video codecs on the app: Reels, Video, Tales, and Lives.
The worldwide pandemic shifted the way in which folks seen ecommerce, dashing up adoption charges astronomically.
Supply: Bed.threads on Instagram
As we entered a brand new decade, social media platforms continued to pop up throughout the digital panorama.
Clubhouse, a social audio platform, grew to become extraordinarily common in the course of the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020. Nevertheless, it struggled to stay related as pandemic restrictions eased.
BeReal, a photo-sharing app that prompts customers to submit one unfiltered picture per day, made a giant splash in 2022. Although it was at one level the most well-liked social networking app within the App Retailer, it nonetheless stays to be seen if BeReal is the subsequent TikTok.
In 2022, billionaire Elon Musk buys Twitter for $44 billion. The possession change is adopted by a collection of app updates, together with paid verification, seen view counts on tweets, and an unprecedented look into the recommendation algorithm.
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