A History of Social Media
The history of the Internet is the story of human beings connecting and communicating. From the earliest emails sent by American researchers in the 1970s, to modern visual networking sites like Pinterest, the history of the World Wide Web is tightly intertwined with the stories of people. And those stories are social.
Long before Facebook grew to a billion users, the Internet made it possible for us to reach out through the dark and connect with people on the other side of the world. At our deepest level, we all long for social connections - and the Internet has enabled authentic human relationships for over 40 years.
The Internet has always been social.
Take a look at this timeline of the social history of the Internet
First Email. Researches at ARPA (the Advanced Research Projects Agency) send the world's first email message.
Usenet. Usenet participants read and post messages to distributed online bulletin boards. Thousands flock to the boards to discuss science, music, literature and sports.
World Wide Web. Tim Berners-Lee of CERN (European Laboratory for Particle Physics) proposes a new protocol for information distribution. His protocol embeds links in text that lead to other text, and eventually becomes the World Wide Web.
First Personal Blog. Swarthmore college student Justin Hall launches his website, Justin's Links from the Underground, to connect with the outside world. Hall publishes his blog for eleven years and becomes known as the "founding father of personal blogging".
- 1995. Classmates. Nostalgic users discover long lost friends on Classmates.com, a social service founded to reconnect former elementary, high school and college classmates.
Ray Sears. Found out his seventh-grade girlfriend Gina was listed on classmates.com and reached out to her via the site's messaging service. He asked Gina if she remembers him.
Now it's social. Classmates.com's goal is to reunite friends and love interests - people just like Ray and Gina. The site uses technology to rekindle real-life social relationships.
Early search engine Ask.com - formerly AskJeeves.com - lets users ask questions in natural language (rather than keywords).
America Online liberates millions of cubicle workers by letting users talk to each other in real time.
Online diary community Open Diary allows users to publish public or private journals online without knowing HTML. For the first time, users can also comment on other user' diaries.
Writers take up their virtual pens and communicate with friends and family using LiveJournal and Blogger, two early blogging tools.
Early Blogger coins the term "Weblog".
Jimmy Wales and larry Sanger launch Wikipedia, the world's first open-source, online, collaborative encyclopedia. Wikipedia users create over 20.000 articles in the first year.
Meetup,com helps people organize in-person gatherings based on common interests, passions and pursuits.
The attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, 2011.
Inspired Scott Heiferman to find a way to use the web to help people connect - and not just online.
Now it's social.
Meetup.com sole purpose is to get people together at in-persom gatherings to talk, learn and connect. The site aims to get us out of our isolated homes and into relationships and conversation with each other.
Meetup.com was structured specifically to facilitate in-person meetings between people who have common interests.
Now the site is widely successful.
Every month, 340.000 groups meet in local communities to socialize, connect, exercise, eat, drink, and learn together.
StumbleUpon's "discovery engine" (which utilizes a member voting system) allows users to fins new and interesting web content.
Friendster.com enables users to create profiles and virtually connect with friends. This social networking site was the first of its kind to attain one million users.
MySpace. Social networking site MySpace gains traction with teenagers and young adults, one million users sign up in the first month.
WordPress. Hundreds of people all over the world collaborate to create WordPress, a free, open-source content management system.
Carly Heishman was 13 years old, and had never spoken a word. She was severely autistic.
Through incredibly hard work, Carly's family discovered that she could communicate by typing on a computer.
Now Carly uses a wordpress blog called Carly's Voice to tell her story promote autism awareness and communicate with speech therapists about different ways of working with non-verbal kids and adults.
Now it's social.
Blogs give people a voice. Anyone can communicate by using a blog to get their message put to the world, and easy-to-use blogging and content management like WordPress give people a way to communicate online without needing to learn HTML.
Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg launched TheFacebook.com, a social networking site for college students, from his Harvard dorm room.
The Flickr team creates a stand-alone browser-based photo sharing application.
YouTube's new sharing platform allows users to freely upload and share videos with family and friends.
Twitter. 140-character Tweets make it easy for individuals to communicate quickly and easily with large groups.
Twitter generates over 4.000 tweets per second.
Spotify's music-streaming tool allows users to share playlists, collaborate with other listeners, and show off their superior taste in music.
Tumblr. Tumblr's short-form blogging and social networking platform allows users to quickly and easily share photos, text, quotes and links with their online communities.
Ana White started a blog in 2009 as a way to share her love of woodworking with other people.
Now White's blog attracts nearly 3 million page views every month and her main source of traffic is Pinterest.
Alaska Mom's blog brings in enough advertising revenue to support her entire family.
Andrew Mason launches daily deal service Groupon to leverage the collective power of large groups.
Foursquare. Users "check in" at locations all over the world (and keep track of friends' locations) with this location-based social networking site.
Google Buzz. Google attempts to merge their Gmail product with microblogging and other communication tools in their ill-fated Google Buzz service.
Google Plus. Users of Google Plus, Google's full-featured social networking tool, appreciate the ability to group contacts into segments (called Circles) and communicate in video chat rooms called Hangouts.
Pinterest. Social scrapbooking site Pinterest attains 10 million users faster than any other standalone site in history.
- At some point very soon, we will all stop talking anout "Social Media", and put the focus where it belongs - the Global Media Network that connects us all.