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The Historical past Of Social Media

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines social media as:

“types of digital communication (equivalent to web sites for social networking and microblogging) by means of which customers create on-line communities to share info, concepts, private messages, and different content material (equivalent to movies).”

Whereas providers like YouTube and Fb robotically come to thoughts, you may hint the origins of social media again to the late Seventies.

On this article, you will discover a short overview of the historical past of social media, from the early pioneers of digital communication to the social networking platforms that dominate the web right now.

Bulletin Board Programs

Randy Suess and Ward Christensen launched the Computerized Hobbyists Bulletin Board System in 1978.

Whereas initially designed to assist the inventors community with fellow members of a pc membership in Chicago and generate content material for his or her membership’s e-newsletter, it will definitely grew to help 300-600 customers.

CBBS nonetheless exists right now as a discussion board with posts courting again to 2000.

As modems elevated pace, bulletin board methods grew to become extra fashionable with pc customers. Utilizing the telnet BBS Information, you may journey again in time and see over 1,000 bulletin board methods.

For these searching for modernized variations of bulletin board methods, strive Wikipedia’s listing of web boards.

Web Relay Chat, Prompt Messaging, And Chat Rooms

As an extension of BBS methods, Jarkko Oikarinen arrange the primary Web Relay Chat (IRC) consumer and server in 1988. It will enable customers to talk with one another in actual time.

That may lay the groundwork for immediate messaging providers like mIRC and ICQ, which nonetheless exist right now.

Whereas ICQ has continued to replace its interface to match the present occasions, mIRC has had the identical web site since 2008.

In 1992, America On-line (AOL) grew to become out there to the general public. By 1995, America On-line’s 3 million customers might work together by way of e-mail, boards, and chat rooms.

Celebrities like Michael Jackson used America On-line chat rooms to host one of many first Ask Me Something (AMA) periods with over 25,000 individuals.

AOL launched a free, standalone model of its on the spot messenger service in 1997, which linked its customers till it signed off for the final time in 2017.

In 1999, Tencent launched QQ, an on the spot messaging service.

This service nonetheless exists right now, together with the social community Qzone (launched in 2015), boasting 574 million customers.

The First Social Networks

In 1997, the primary social networking websites launched: Bolt and Six Levels.

Dan Pelson designed Bolt as a platform for 15-20-year-olds to make use of for e-mail, voice mail, voice chat, message boards, and on the spot messaging. 11 years later, Bolt introduced in its boards that it will shut down.

Six Levels founder Andrew Weinreich, typically known as the father of social networking, created his platform to assist folks join with folks they didn’t know (but).

He additionally filed the primary social networking patent for:

“A networking database containing a plurality of data for various people wherein people are linked to 1 one other within the database by outlined relationships.”

The platform nonetheless exists right now, though it doesn’t appear to be it has modified since 2017.

The Delivery Of Social Running a blog

In 1998, Open Diary grew to become the primary on-line diary platform to carry collectively diarists, permitting them to share their ideas and touch upon others’ musings. Writers nonetheless use the location right now to share their private tales.

A yr later, in 1999, LiveJournal would enter the social running a blog enviornment.

Along with sharing concepts and creating group by means of commenting, LiveJournal provided the flexibility to grow to be buddies with like-minded folks, boosting the social attraction of running a blog.

From Social Courting To Social Gaming

Friendster, launched in 2002, was described as:

“…a web-based group that connects folks by means of networks of buddies for courting or making new buddies.”

Its founder, Jonathan Abrams, filed a number of patents, together with strategies for connecting customers based mostly on their relationships, managing connections, and inducing content material uploads in a social community.

From 2010 till its finish in 2015, Friendster shifted focus from a community for connecting buddies to a “…social gaming vacation spot of alternative.”

It allowed folks to attach, play video games, and share their progress.

The Rise Of As we speak’s Most Common Social Platforms

Within the early 2000s, we noticed the launch of a number of of the highest social networks nonetheless fashionable right now.


Launched in 2003, LinkedIn created a social networking house for professionals to strengthen their community connections for higher profession alternatives.

It permits folks to attach with enterprise acquaintances and faculty alums, discover jobs, and suggest skilled providers.

As we speak, the community has over 830 million members worldwide.


Shortly after LinkedIn, Myspace would launch in August 2003.

It was an area for buddies, the place you might create personalized profiles, spotlight high favourite buddies, meet your pal’s buddies, publish blogs, share pictures, publish in boards, be part of teams, uncover music, and play video games.

In 2013, Myspace rebranded itself as a music portal to attach folks with their favourite artists and is a music-focused social community.


2004 noticed the launch of Fb (first referred to as Thefacebook). Created by Mark Zuckerberg to attach with different Harvard college students, Fb’s reputation exploded. By the tip of 2004, it had over 1 million customers.

Since then, it has grow to be the second largest social community, boasting 3 billion customers worldwide.


In 2004, Flickr grew to become the primary social community for photograph sharing.

As of 2019, the community had over 100 million accounts and nonetheless considers itself the “…greatest on-line photograph administration and sharing utility on the planet.”


In 2005, Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman launched Reddit as a spot the place customers might share content material, focus on subjects of curiosity, and vote up the most well-liked tales.

Reddit has since developed a base of over 430 million customers, 100 thousand communities, and 13 billion posts and feedback.


In 2006, Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Biz Stone, and Noah Glass launched Twitter.

The thought behind their community was easy: permitting customers to ship quick messages of as much as 140 characters to buddies and acquaintances.

Now, Twitter’s person base of 436 million can ship tweets with as much as 280 characters with photographs and video.


Tumblr, based in 2007 by David Karp, permits customers to publish blogs, comply with fellow bloggers, and touch upon fascinating content material.

The group, now managed by CEO Matt Mullenweg, founding father of WordPress, has over 472 million customers and 550 million blogs.

Sina Weibo

Launched in 2009, Sina Weibo is China’s reply to Twitter. The microblogging service at present has 582 million customers.


Ben Silbermann, Evan Sharp, and Paul Sciarra based Pinterest in 2010.

The self-proclaimed visible discovery engine permits customers to bookmark photographs as pins to create a digital imaginative and prescient board stuffed with concepts. The community is house to over 433 million customers and 200 billion pins.


2010 additionally noticed the launch of Instagram by founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger.

The photograph and video sharing service, acquired by Fb in 2012, has grown to 1.4 billion customers and expanded its options to incorporate reside video streaming and shoppable posts.


Former Fb workers Adam D’Angelo and Charlie Cheever launched Quora in 2010.

The social question-and-answer community aimed to carry collectively folks with questions and specialists in particular fields to supply solutions.

It’s house to 300 million customers, together with former presidents and fashionable celebrities.


In 2011, Stanford College college students Evan Spiegel, Reggie Brown, and Bobby Murphy got here up with Snapchat.

Whereas initially thought-about a “horrible concept” by fellow college students in a product design class, this community would finally grow to be one of many high social networks for teenagers and residential to over 347 million customers.


Nikolai and Pavel Durov based Telegram in 2013. The social app focuses on offering safe on the spot messaging and voice calls.

It at present has over 700 million customers.


Gaming lovers Jason Citron and Stan Vishnevskiy based Discord as a voice, video, and textual content communication service in 2015.

Since its inception, it has expanded from specializing in the gaming group to giving areas to any group searching for a spot to belong.

Discord is now house to over 150 million customers and 19 million servers with 4 billion discussions.


TikTok (or Douyin in China) launched internationally in 2017 after being acquired by ByteDance and merged with Musical.ly.

Often known as the main vacation spot for short-form cell video, it has over 1 billion customers and is the most downloaded app worldwide.


Paul Davison and Rohan Seth based Clubhouse in 2020 as a social community for internet hosting voice chatrooms.

Whereas it started as invitation solely, it’s now open to the general public and out there for Apple and Android customers. As of February 2021, it had 10 million weekly energetic customers.

Honorable Mentions

Sadly, not all social networks discovered long-term success. On this part, you will discover some notable names in social media historical past that got here, made their mark and light into the sundown.


Across the time that Fb and Flickr entered the social panorama, Google launched its first social community in 2004 – Orkut. It boasted 300 million members at its peak till it shuttered in 2014.


One other social product from Google, Google+, launched in 2011. Though it was built-in with Google’s different merchandise, together with YouTube, and boasted over 500 million “identification” customers, it will finally shut down in 2019.


In 2012, Colin Kroll, Rus Yusupov, and Dominik Hofmann launched a novel social video community, Vine. It allowed customers to share quick, looping movies. Twitter acquired the platform in 2013 however finally shut it down in 2019.


Dwell-streaming video service Periscope launched in 2015 after being acquired by Twitter. Twitter finally included reside streaming into its community, shuttering Periscope as a standalone app in 2021.

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Featured Picture: RoBird/Shutterstock



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