A Brief History of Social Media

“We the people of the United States…” in order to form a more social union, post to Facebook, troll hashtags on Twitter and filter our selfies on Instagram in order to form a more connected Union, in the pursuit of likes, comments and retweets for all.

Well, that’s not exactly what our founding fathers had in mind when they penned the preamble to the Constitution, but if they wrote it today, it might have some hashtags in it.

People worldwide are using social media. Internationally, social media is either a point of praise or contention for governments. Politicians have leaned on it, and some elections attribute success to effective social media marketing. Americans love this stuff, we’re great at it, we’re obsessed with it, heck you can even make a career out of it. So how did social media quickly rise to where it is today? Here’s a timeline highlighting the very brief history of social media.

Social Media Since the 1990s

•The World Wide Web went public in 1991; the first web page was created by Tim Berners-Lee, who’s referred to as the Founding Father of the Internet

•1994– Justin Hall pioneered the first blog titled Justin’s Links

•Remember GeoCities? In 1995 the company became the first personal-homepage service

•1997 was a big year, Hotmail the free email service hit the scene and so did AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). Users spent a tremendous amount of time crafting the perfect away message. This act would later be transformed into what is now known as a “Facebook Status”
•By 1998, Google was the largest search engine on the Web; by the 2000s, “Google it,” became an everyday phrase to settle the score during an argument
•In 1999, 70 million computers were connected to the WWW and things began to get more social. LiveJournal, Blogger and Napster earned impressive popularity.Napster gained notoriety for the Metallica/Napster law suits where U.S District court judges had to decide if file sharing was legal or not

•2001 brought us Wikipedia— every high school teacher’s worst nightmare. The online “encyclopedia” could be edited by— and contributed to by— anyone with an email address at the time. It was highly criticized for being inaccurate, and later cleaned up its game. This same year, Apple released its first generation of iPods, later leading to the iPhone, and created a mass fan-following for the brand’s products
•Skype came out in 2003, and now you could chat with friends anywhere in the world—for free, at anytime and be face-to-face by using a webcam. Additionally, 2003 brought the launch of LinkedIn, which had a slow crawl but inevitably became a critical tool of the college graduate’s job search
•Mark Zuckerberg created The Facebook in 2004 for an easy way for Harvard students to connect. By 2005 the platform was made available to high school students and well, you saw the movie
•YouTube launched in 2005, and quickly became a household name. The self-broadcasting website helped propel users, making some “Internet Famous,” redefining, “15 Minutes of fame,” to somewhere around 15 seconds
•In 2006, Twitter came out, and everyone was just wondering why they could only post 140 characters at a time, and what’s with the little bird? The platform quickly became popular. By 2011, Twitter had an estimated 56 million users
•Apple’s first generation iPhone came out in 2008, social media sites began developing apps and suddenly by 2011, we were connected all of the time, no matter where we went
•Pinterest, an image-based social platform released in 2010, calling for all crafty soccer moms to swap parenting and baking ideas
•By 2012, the Internet population grew to 2.4 billion users, Twitter reports 500 million users with Facebook at an estimated one billion users
•Today, the top five most popular social media platforms (from least to most popular) are Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Pinterest and Google+.


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