Social Media Timeline for Business: The Past
Social media for business has come a long way since its meager commencements. Here at Boomtown, we love social media; from its humble beginnings, to its explosive present, to its innovative future. That’s why we are proud to introduce to you the first segment of our new blog series: Social Media Timeline for Business. This week we will give you an insight into where social media for business originated and how it has progressed into the network you see and utilize today. We hope that you’re ready for quite the history lesson.
In The Beginning…
Let’s turn the hourglass back a few decades. Yes, that’s right, a few decades. The origination of social media didn’t start with Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, or even Friendster. Social media has roots dating back to 1978, if you can believe it. In 1978, Ward Christensen and Randy Suess launched the first CBBS or Computerized Bulletin Board System. This system connected more than 250,000 callers who could read and post messages over a 110 Bps modem. Eventually, the CBBS would be replaced with what know today as the World Wide Web.
The Mosaic browser hits the stage in 1993 and along with it, the web as we’ve come to know and love. Mosaic was the first browser to become popular with the general public and the first to be able to display both text and images on the same page together. Mosaic was the key to the internet floodgates. It gave the once dull and difficult web life; with colors, images, and an all-around pleasurable experience for users. With the internet’s popularity growing, in 1994 Beverly Hills Internet launched GeoCitites: a collaboration of user-created homepages organized into like-mined topics like entertainment, sports, technology, etc. GeoCities was essentially the father of all personal websites where people could display anything they wanted and by 1995 the web becomes home to 1 million websites. In 1997AOL Instant Messenger allows users to chat in real time with each other and Google is launched, providing users a way to searching the internet.
The Blogging Revolution
1994 was the year Swarthmore student Justin Hall created the first ever blog, Links.net. At the time it wasn’t known as a blog, just his personal site, but it paved the way for the storm of blogs you see today. In 1997 the term “weblog” was coined and in 1998 we see the first instance of a blog hosted on a traditional news site. By 1999, the blogging service Blogger is launched in the midst of the dotcom boom and can be credited as having brought blogging to the mainstream. Eventually Blogger would be bought by Google in 2003.
The Rise of the Modern Social Network
If you had to guess what the first social network to gain popularity was, what would you guess? Facebook? Myspace? Friendster? Guess again. A social network called Friends Reunited was launched in Great Britain in 1998 and was the first to achieve popularity by helping people locate past school friends. Fast forward two years later to 2000, when things really start to get cooking. At this time 70 million computers are connected to the internet and Friendster is released on the web. Within 3 months Friendster grows to 3 million users. Two years after that, Myspace is launched in 2002. In 2003, LinkedIn opens its doors as a social network for professionals and by the end of the year had 81,000 members. In 2004, Facebook becomes available to Harvard students and is referred to as the “college” version of Friendster. This is also the year Digg is launched, acting as a social news site where people can share content from anywhere on the web. As 2005 rolls around, things continue to grow. Myspace becomes the most popular social network in the U.S and YouTube begins storing and retrieving videos. 2005 is also when Facebook becomes accessible to high school students. That soon changes to anyone over the age of 13 in 2006. In addition to the release of Facebook Platform, a service which allows third-party developers to fashion apps for Facebook, and Google receiving roughly 400 million searches a day, in 2006 we also see the birth of Twitter. In 2007 Facebook overtakes Myspace in unique visitors and launces Beacon, an advertising system designed to expose user purchasing activity. This would eventually be shut down in 2009. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, Apple releases the first iPhone. 2008 is the year Facebook finally becomes the most-used social network in the world with more than 200 million users, the same year Tumblr launches. Microsoft launches its Google competitor, Bing in 2009 and Facebook grows to more than 400 million users while Myspace declines to 57 million. 2010 is a big year for social media. At this time, the internet has roughly 1.97 billion users and surpasses newspapers as America’s primary way of getting news. Google tries to compete with Facebook and Twitter by launching Buzz, a social network integrated with Gmail. Apple’s iPad is released to the public while Tumblr receives about 2 million posts per day. There are more than 550 million people on Facebook, nearly 65 million tweets sent per day on Twitter and YouTube sees around 2 billion video views daily. This is also the year Pinterest is launched while LinkedIn reaches 90 million professionals and goes public.
By now things should be looking quite familiar as we recap the events that took place just last year. In 2011 Apple introduces Ping, their music-based social network, the same year Google+ is introduced. By this time, LinkedIn is the second most popular social network site in the U.S. while Facebook sees revenues of about $3.7 billion and Twitter delivers about 33 billion tweets per day. Which brings us to our current year; but we’ll discuss this another time.
As our history lesson comes to a close, we hope you learned a little something about the evolution of social media. It surely has come a long way since the creation of the first CBBS in 1978. Looking deeper into where something we all now consider normal came from allows us to see how far we’ve come and can potentially give us insights into the future if we can connect the right patterns. –Evan Blumenthal