Social media has quickly replaced real-life social activities. More than entertainment, social media has also become a way for businesses to interact with their customers as well. We spend a lot of our time scrolling through social media, chatting, and watching funny animal videos, but have you ever wondered how old social media is. In this article, we’ve mentioned the history of social media.
After the internet became public in the 1990s, social media platforms soon followed. The biggest reason for the growth of social media is smartphones becoming mainstream. Smartphones allow us to access the internet from anywhere we want. And there are endless social media platforms that are just a few clicks.
Social media has changed our lives forever, and nowadays there’s no limit to the number of social media platforms that you can sign up for. In the initial days of social media, MySpace was the largest platform, but it lost its user base due to Facebook. Let’s start with our guide on the History of social media.
Invention of Social Media
Most users today know that Facebook is the father of social media platforms. While it is true that Facebook made social media platforms famous, it isn’t the father of social media. There were a lot of social media platforms that started and died out due to the lack of a small user base.
As a matter of fact, social media was born in 1997, but the foundation of social media platforms came into existence in the early 1990s. That was the start of people going on the internet and posting what they want and sharing it with people around the globe.
Social Media Sites List
The history of social media has a lot of steps, and there were a lot of platforms before Facebook, but by the end of the 2000s, Facebook became the uncrowned king. To date, Facebook is one of the largest social media platforms. Let’s dive into the list of social media sites of the past.
1. Six Degrees – 1997
While social media wasn’t really a concept back then, Six Degrees is still considered the original social media platform. It wasn’t until 1997 that users got access to proper social media platforms. Six Degrees allowed users to create their personalized profiles so they could communicate with users from all over the globe. To communicate with other users on the platform, all users had to do is “Add” them to their profile. This is similar to adding someone as a friend on Facebook.
Six Degrees became insanely popular after its launch. At its peak, the app has 3.5 million users worldwide. In 1999, the platform was purchased by Youthstream Media, and it got shut down by 2001. The reason for the app’s shutdown is the lack of revenue. To retain users, social media platforms have to be free of cost. So, social media platforms had to run ads, which can hinder the user experience.
2. Friendster – 2002
In 2002, after a year Six Degrees was shut down, Friendster came onto the scene. Friendster had many similarities to Six Degrees, as users have to make a profile and add friends to communicate with people. The major difference between Friendster and Six Degrees is that it allows users to share photos, videos, and messages.
These new features make Friendster much more popular than Six Degrees. In the first 3 months of its launch, the app had over 3 million users. In 2008, it surpassed the 100 million user mark which was a huge deal back then.
But, later on, Friendster faced the same challenges that Six Degrees faced, and it handled the challenge well. The platform was in use till 2011, but in 2015 it finally shut down.
3. LinkedIn – 2002
Yes, LinkedIn came onto the scene in 2002. Not a lot of people know it, but LinkedIn is one of the very rare social media platforms that’s still operating. LinkedIn was launched in December 2002, and it quickly became a social media platform for professionals to build a profile and connect with businesses. What’s surprising is that LinkedIn is still running strong after 20 years.
The number of users on LinkedIn is still growing every day. To put this growth in numbers, LinkedIn has seen a 1300% growth in the number of users in the last 10 years.
4. MySpace – 2002
All the 90s kids know about MySpace, they even have nostalgic memories about the platform. While there were other social media platforms before MySpace, no one made the same level of impact.
Officially launched in 2002, the platform gained over 20 million monthly unique visitors by 2005. Rupert Murdoch’s company, NewsCorp purchased the site for over $580 million. With time, MySpace continued to gain popularity and by 2009 it had over 80 million unique visitors and was valued at $12 billion.
According to Alexa rating, the website was the #1 website, and it’s in the 4000s today. MySpace revolutionized the social media platform, as it made it easy to share photos, videos, and other sorts of media.
At the beginning of 2004, MySpace started to lose some of its popularity, that’s because it had to compete with Facebook. Facebook was launched in 2004, and it quickly jumped to the top of the rankings.
5. Facebook – 2004
Now we’re onto the leader for social media platforms. Facebook was officially launched in 2004, by Mark Zuckerberg and his friends. If you wish to see a close enough history of Facebook, then you should definitely see the movie “The Social Network.”
Initially, it was available just to the students of Harvard, and those who had a “@harvard.edu” email address. Once it became public, there was no stopping Facebook. In just a couple of years, it took over MySpace as the most visited site in the world. It ranked behind Google and YouTube. In 2012, the organization went public at a valuation of $104 billion.
Today, Facebook has bought WhatsApp, and Instagram, and become an even bigger organization. In October 2021, Mark Zuckerberg announced that they’re changing the name of the company to “Meta”, and they’re planning to build a virtual world for users known as the Meta Verse.
6. Instagram – 2010
Instagram, currently a part of the Facebook organization, is one of the biggest social media platforms of today. It was launched in 2010, and it was more focused on artists sharing photos and videos. Instagram quickly became famous among users for sharing aesthetically pleasing photos and videos.
Instagram became a sensation among users worldwide and reached 1 million users in just a couple of months. In 2022, Instagram has almost 1 Billion users. As soon as Instagram started to become famous, Facebook bought the app for $1 billion. The current valuation of Instagram is $100 billion.
7. Snapchat – 2011
Snapchat is a social media platform that’s focused on photo sharing. It’s popular among teenagers and it offers a unique and interesting method of communication. Users can send any photo with a text and it will disappear after the recipient has seen the photo. It also has a 24-hour story option, which has now been adopted by almost every social media platform.
In 5 years since its launch, Snapchat has increased its user base at least 5 times. In 2016, the app was valued at around $31 billion. However, in recent years, the numbers have dwindled, and they may keep dropping.
Conclusion: History of Social Media Platforms
Social media platforms have evolved in just 22 years, and now it has become a huge part of our lives. Earlier, it used to be a method of communication but since then it has become more than a mode of entertainment. The number of businesses that use social media for promoting products and services grows every single day.