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A Brief History of Social Media

Published on 31 July 13
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From the Bulletin Board System to Facebook...
A Brief History of Social Media - Image 1

We already know what social media is, right? To put it simply, it's a bunch of Internet sites that allowe people to interact and communicate with each other without payment or interruption. It's also the sharing of information between two parties with the use of words, pictures and even videos. Even the older generations are catching up; my grandmother knows how to use Facebook and both my parents know how to use Instagram and Tweeter. Nevertheless, it's amazing how social media has evolved through the years.


Most people think that social media or even the Internet started in the late 90's. Well, that's a big misconception, since social media actually started in 1969. CompuServe, the first commercial Internet service provider in the United States, introduced dial-up. Dial up was the first Internet connection for residential and business users; despite the very slow connection, people were already connected to each other through the Internet. The first email was delivered in 1971.


In 1978, the bulletin board system or BBS was built by two computer hobbyists from Chicago. The BBS was designed to announce meetings to friends and to share certain information through postings. However, BBS also became the breeding ground for trolls and flamers. It was the first small virtual community and the foundation of what would become Facebook and a slew of other social networking communities. In 1979, Usenet was built and it connected Duke University and the University of North Carolina.


From the 1980's to the early 90's, social media evolved to an even bigger level. By 1985, AOL or America Online started their service. In 1994, Beverly Hills Internet started Geocities, the very first website that allows people to build their very own website. I should know since I have started using Geocities way back in 1997 for a class project. It was also the year when Geocities got one million members. It would also be the year when blogging first started, AOL Instant Messenger was introduced, and that the Internet already had a million members.


From 1998 up until 2003, social media continued to influence both society and businesses. Google started in 1998. In 1999, Friends Reunited, a website that was supposed to help UK citizens in finding their old school friends, was born and is actually considered the very first online social networking website. By then, websites that help people find others through "search by zip code" have gained prominence in the Internet. Friendster, a social networking site that lets people find search for others through the zip code, went online in 2002. MySpace.com went online in 2003 and Facebook finally went online in 2004. Right now, Facebook is leading the social networking wars.


Twitter, by the way, was introduced in 2006. Friendster transformed from a social networking site to a social gaming website by 2011. MySpace.com is still alive and is playing second fiddle to Facebook. In any case, social media has already gained a foothold in the online world. A far cry from the old telephones, snail mail and telegram, the Internet has made it possible for people to get in touch with each other with just a push of a button.

About the Author:

Jessica Greenberg is an avid blogger from San Diego, California. During her free time, she spends her time browsing industrial computers in Kontron, IBM and others in the Internet, rather than hanging out with her friends.







From the Bulletin Board System to Facebook...

A Brief History of Social Media - Image 1

We already know what social media is, right? To put it simply, it's a bunch of Internet sites that allowe people to interact and communicate with each other without payment or interruption. It's also the sharing of information between two parties with the use of words, pictures and even videos. Even the older generations are catching up; my grandmother knows how to use Facebook and both my parents know how to use Instagram and Tweeter. Nevertheless, it's amazing how social media has evolved through the years.

Most people think that social media or even the Internet started in the late 90's. Well, that's a big misconception, since social media actually started in 1969. CompuServe, the first commercial Internet service provider in the United States, introduced dial-up. Dial up was the first Internet connection for residential and business users; despite the very slow connection, people were already connected to each other through the Internet. The first email was delivered in 1971.

In 1978, the bulletin board system or BBS was built by two computer hobbyists from Chicago. The BBS was designed to announce meetings to friends and to share certain information through postings. However, BBS also became the breeding ground for trolls and flamers. It was the first small virtual community and the foundation of what would become Facebook and a slew of other social networking communities. In 1979, Usenet was built and it connected Duke University and the University of North Carolina.

From the 1980's to the early 90's, social media evolved to an even bigger level. By 1985, AOL or America Online started their service. In 1994, Beverly Hills Internet started Geocities, the very first website that allows people to build their very own website. I should know since I have started using Geocities way back in 1997 for a class project. It was also the year when Geocities got one million members. It would also be the year when blogging first started, AOL Instant Messenger was introduced, and that the Internet already had a million members.

From 1998 up until 2003, social media continued to influence both society and businesses. Google started in 1998. In 1999, Friends Reunited, a website that was supposed to help UK citizens in finding their old school friends, was born and is actually considered the very first online social networking website. By then, websites that help people find others through "search by zip code" have gained prominence in the Internet. Friendster, a social networking site that lets people find search for others through the zip code, went online in 2002. MySpace.com went online in 2003 and Facebook finally went online in 2004. Right now, Facebook is leading the social networking wars.

Twitter, by the way, was introduced in 2006. Friendster transformed from a social networking site to a social gaming website by 2011. MySpace.com is still alive and is playing second fiddle to Facebook. In any case, social media has already gained a foothold in the online world. A far cry from the old telephones, snail mail and telegram, the Internet has made it possible for people to get in touch with each other with just a push of a button.

About the Author:

Jessica Greenberg is an avid blogger from San Diego, California. During her free time, she spends her time browsing industrial computers in Kontron, IBM and others in the Internet, rather than hanging out with her friends.

This blog is listed under Digital Media & Games Community

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