How Social Media Has Changed Over The Years

Social media has become an essential part of daily life for the majority of people. Although social media in the mainstream has primarily evolved over the past 10 years, it’s actually been around for a lot longer than people usually think.

The 70s

In 1978, BBS was created by two computer scientists. BBS was essentially a bulletin board system which connected friends and allowed them to inform each other about meetings, announcements and share other information.

Next came UseNet. UseNet was a worldwide discussion tool which allowed its users to read and post information in categories called ‘NewsGroups’. UseNet even had a newsfeed!

The 80s

In 1988, Internet Relay Chats (IRC) were created. The main purpose of IRC’s were to essentially be text based chatrooms.

Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989, he is also responsible for HTML, URI (typically known as URL’s today) and HTTP! 

The 90s

The Internet was coined the ‘Information Superhighway’ in 1994 due to its high demand and rapid growth within the previous few years.

By 1996, the introduction of multi-user messaging and multiplayer online games began to cause abbreviations such as “LOL” and “BRB” to become popular, this also caused emoticons to rise in popularity.

In 1997, glimpses of social media as we know it today (including customizable profiles and the ability to add friends) began to show. was a social networking site which ran from 1997 to 2001, SixDegrees was one of the very first working models of social media websites as we know them today.

This eventually lead to the introduction on Live Journal in 1999, Live Journal was the first to introduce dynamic content on blogs and forums, it also allowed its users to create groups and interact.

Early 2000s

Social media really began to enter the mainstream in the 2000s with many of the sites, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, which are massively popular today being founded in the early 2000s

LinkedIn was founded in 2002. Although growth for LinkedIn was slow at first (with as few as 20 sign-ups on some days), today it is the world’s largest professional network with millions of members and counting.

MySpace was then founded 2003, MySpace allowed private messaging and public messaging through comments on other user profiles, it also allowed bulletins to be sent between friends.

Facebook (or The Facebook as it was originally called) was opened only for Harvard students in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, the original intent of Facebook was to be a social network for college students. However, it exploded worldwide with people of all ages and even lead to the decline of MySpace.

Youtube was founded in 2005 by then PayPal employees Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim. The first Youtube video to ever be uploaded was uploaded on April 23rd 2005 and was a video entitled “Me at the zoo” which featured co-founder Jawed Karim at San Diego Zoo.

Late 2000s

Twitter (originally referred to as ‘twttr’) was founded in 2006. The first post on Twitter was posted on March 21st 2006 and read “just setting up my twttr”.

Although Twitter is hugely popular today, its initial growth spurt didn’t occur until 2007 during a South by Southwest Interactive conference. During this event, 60-inch plasma screens were placed in conference hallways which exclusively streamed Twitter messages. This was extremely successful as Twitter usage increased from 20,000 tweets per day to 60,000. This has grown into 100 million per quarter by 2008.

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