Social Media: A not-so-brief timeline of your favorite social networks

Happy #SocialMediaDay to marketers and consumers alike! If you’ve been living in the modern world for the past 15 years (which I assume you are if you’re reading this), you’re aware of the impact social media has had on our daily lives. From its inception, social media has been a “disrupter” in communication, business, and personal lives but has also been a blessing in disguise. Social media has allowed us to easily connect to those around us, and across the globe, quicker than ever before. I’d love if someone wrote me a letter every day for year to proclaim their love for me, but modern day Noah would probably tweet his love for Ali every day-he might even include her handle so he knows she saw it.

How many of us have the bad habit of checking our phones when we first wake up? I’ll be totally honest — I give myself 10 minutes of “wake up time,” also known as laying in bed perusing my social media accounts. From dawn ’til dusk, we are updating and observing friends, but the platforms we used have changed over time. In honor of #SocialMediaDay, I decided to compile a brief history of our virtual friend spaces. Mind you, some of these I didn’t have the pleasure of using-and by some I really mean Friendster and Six Degrees because I was only 9 and likely jamming out to ‘Nysnc on my CD player like a 9 year old should. Anywho, get ready to take a trip back in time to see the progression of social media:

Chat rooms, 90’s: Apparently, there were chat rooms before AIM made its claim to fame with youngsters (me). Chat rooms technically were the beginning of us connecting to the world around us on a media platform. Along with Six Degrees, which from 1997-2001 allowed users to connect to others, coined after the “six degrees of separation” theory, followed by Friendster in 2002. Thus, officially starting the social media revolution.

LinkedIn, 2003: LinkedIn introduced itself as the professional networking platform. In short, LinkedIn is often used as an online resume and a place to discuss intellectual ideas, industry-relevant topics, browse business trends and even search for a job. The platform has about 500 million users spanning across the world, allowing businesses and professionals to connect and network.

Myspace, 2003: Like the musically inclined friend. Myspace’s niche was the profile music and pages specifically for bands. It was also a place for amateur coding before we knew it was coding ♥. You could also designate your “top” friends, which likely caused numerous feuds between angsty teens. The platform no longer exists, but I’m pretty you can find Tom, your mandatory MySpace friend, on Facebook now.

Facebook, Harvard only 2004, public 2006: Recently, the platform celebrated having 2 billion monthly active users. Some say it’s dying, some say its thriving- I’m on team #thriving. While it may not be the trendy platform for millennials anymore, we can’t deny that every age group is using Facebook in some way, shape or form-making it a favorite for marketers. It’s a great way to stay connected to family, friends, #memes, inspiring videos, and worldwide topics (sometimes known as “fake news”).

Twitter, 2006: Twitter is the social media platform that limits how much you can say per post (140 characters) so those who view your tweets (sometimes known as followers) don’t have to read a novel. You may have to make a few grammatical errors to fit all of your thoughts into these posts, called “tweets.” Twitter (users) can be credited with bringing the #hashtag concept to the social world. Over time, Twitter has evolved from a short communication platform to a quick source of news. You can follow breaking stories and drama using the trending hashtag, news companies, “tweeters” who are there or use the Moments tab, which is constantly updated with news from around the world in an easily accessible swipe.

Google+, 2007: I have a Google+ profile and no idea how to use it. People who do know how to use the platform can set up circles and hangouts as well as check-in to locations.

Pinterest, 2010: Part time social network, full time virtual (non) reality by means of creating boards that reflect our dream houses, massive closets, tattoos we want but won’t get, recipes for every diet and more. Initially, you could only join the app if you received an invite from a current user or requested an invite from Pinterest. Now anyone can join, allowing the network to boast 175 million users. Marketers are able to place ads on the platform and even include a “buy” button to create easier conversions.

Instagram, 2010: The platform for sharing beautiful pictures, and of course, selfies. Initially, this app was only available on iPhone and later became available to the “lesser” system, Android. Newer updates include stories and uploading multiple pictures per post, in addition to the basic functionalities of uploading your pictures/videos, location tags, filters and the explore page. Instagram was bought by Facebook in 2012 to become a social network powerhouse. Businesses can connect their Facebook and Instagram pages to reach users on both networks and help to tell their story from a more visual perspective.

Snapchat, 2011: Home to the “Ghostface Chillah.” It started with disappearing pictures and videos between users and has evolved to include stories, a chat feature, money transferring (has anyone actually used this?), news outlets, and everyone’s favorite-snapchat filters. The most recent updates allow for “infinite stories” that keep replaying and maps that allow you to watch stories from all over the world (or stalk your friends). Don’t fret, you can make like the “ghostface chillah” and go in ghost mode. Advertisers can place ads in between users snap stories and in the “Discover” section of the app. And yes, your non-iPhone snapchats are still bad quality.

Vine (RIP), 2013: Vine was home to the iconic 6-second video, launching many homemade comedians to fame. In early 2017, Vine was discontinued after it’s parent company, Twitter, thought it was failing in comparison to other social networks. Those who loved and used the app were devastated, and as social media would have it, many Twitter and Instagram accounts are dedicated to fan-favorite vines. You can still go to vine.co to get your 6 second fix from the app’s most popular videos.

In 2017, there are over 2.8 billion people actively using social media. Each platform has evolved tremendously to keep up with competitors and save their spot in our hearts (phones). There are many other platforms that I left out of the list but were still integral parts of the social media ecosystem in their time (Friendster, Xanga, etc.)

What was your first social media account?

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