A Brief History of Social Media

Did you know that the first social media site was called “Six Degrees” and was founded in 1997? Many believe that it’s Facebook that has largely reshaped the way we connect and stay in touch with each other; however, this type of networking can be traced back as far as the 1800s.

We currently spend 135 minutes (or 2 hours and 15 minutes) a day on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Whatsapp. That’s a significant amount of time, given that the bulk of this interaction would be early in the morning, lunchtimes and in the evenings. That’s basically the average person’s free time. This talks to the great paradox of our time, where we have become more and more antisocial with the advent of social media.

Aside from Morse Code which was developed in the 1800s, the first communication network was developed in 1978 and was known as the Bulletin Board Systems or BBSes. These were essentially text-only online networks, used to interact with others through email, chat and message boards.

A high-level synopsis of the history of social media is as follows:

1844 – The advent of Morse Code

1969 – The military’s first social media attempt

1997 – Start of social sites

1999 – LiveJournal; creativity and status blogs

2002 – Friendster: a challenger emerges

2003 – LinkedIn

2004 – Gmail

2004 – Facebook

2005 – The birth of YouTube

2006 – Myspace is the place to be

2011 – Launch of Snap

2013 – Vine gains popularity

2014 – UK’s Insta ads are launched

2018 – VR and fake news are front and centre of news and controversy

With frequent game-changing updates and progress made in this space, what will the future of social media look like?

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