A Brief History of Social Media
In today’s digital age, social media is an increasingly important part of our daily lives. It has revolutionized communications, to the extent that it is now our preferred medium of everyday communication. Before social media, if you wanted to keep up with the news, you had to walk down to the newsstand in the morning and buy a local edition reporting the events of the past week. Today, we get all the latest news and breaking stories about Brexit or Trump online. The last thing many people do before they go to sleep is scroll through their feeds and is probably the first thing before they rise out of covers. In the 2000s, we fancied mp3 players or SEGA games, now we‘re weighing in on blogging throughout MySpace, Twitter, Pinterest etc.
The media creates awareness and innovates the way people live. It was originally developed as a tool for interaction among people but as it grew, users began to adequately navigate within television propaganda, falsehoods, or political corruption. People are now able to launch an environmental protest and reach millions of like-minded individuals online; a powered word on Twitter can blow, save the world, or at least begin the global environmental strike.
This article aims to describe the story of building social networks and events behind their development. It is rather an outline of a history of one single element of each social media platform, namely the textual and interactive media environment.
New social media always appears every year with more interesting things that can be offered to Internet users. Forty years ago, no one knew that Ward Christensen’s bulletin board system, created for file exchange purposes, will lay the foundation for the global virtual community rush. Now, dialing up to use the Internet seems a thing of the past. When a Harvard sophomore realized he wanted to pull something that great off, he started with what seemed to be necessarily integrated in studying. At the time, with the exception of Google and Wikipedia, college students did not have conventional ways to draw information from or optimize knowledge acquisition. What they lacked was a learning tool to simplify the process with.
Like many students, Mark did not spend much time studying Arts or English literature. Instead, he has been implementing his good old passion, which is programming. It was CourseMatch, the first brainchild of Zuckerberg that eased the learning process of human sciences, the favorite subject of all programmers (no). The service’s purpose was to navigate students through studies and get to know their classmates. CourseMatch also featured an art piece randomizer; it allowed students to fill in the gaps a corresponding description and hence prepare better for the exams; it did improve students’ overall academic performance and won Mark honorable mention.
CourseMatch was a starting point in Zuckerberg’s historic voyage. What came next was a prank thing called Facemash, on which users compared photos of their colleague students. The thing totally blew off the campus and aroused an outcry from many youngsters which eventually led to the game’s shutdown. It bore little comparison to the draft social network we use today.
The turning point was the day when Winklevoss brothers reached out Mark to cooperate for the mutual purpose of implementing a university network startup. What young people needed was a real-time connection; the concept was to bring on the Internet what it lacked – Social media. And so it happened – Mark was given a basic code for the future website, left unfinished by the previous techie. What happened next was a total blow-off for both parties and a tipping point in their
Compared to its predecessors, SixDegrees and Friendster let their users create profiles and list of friends, Facebook had much more perks. The Wall feature allowed users to post public messages, while News Feed offered frequently updated content. However, these have provoked then modest Facebookers, unwilling to share their private data, to unite in protest. The reason for that is once Microsoft purchased a 1.6% share for Facebook, they launched an ad program, called Beacon, to track user’s activity on the web. Beacon collected user’s behavior data to adjust Facebook’s advertising content but turned into a public relations disaster because of user privacy concerns.
Nevertheless, Facebook retained its position throughout the journey and was continuously transformed and buffed by expert coders. In 2009, Facebook introduced the iconic Like button and acquired a social sharing site called FriendFeed. According to sources, a Like button and real-time news feed were acquired with many other company’s concepts. In 2011, Zuckerberg substitutes “The Wall” with the new feature Timeline, which reorganizes the chronological order of wall posts. In 2012, the company purchased Instagram for $1 billion.
But the social media story extends well beyond Facebook. Despite the hype surrounding the service today, Twitter first emerged as a podcasting platform and was met with silent indifference. A microblogging service debuted in March of 2006, founded by Evan Williams and Noah Glass. First named Odeo, the company wanted to initiate a new radio and subdue the Silicon Valley, similar to what happened with Evan’s previous startup, Blogger.
Unfortunately, in 2006 Apple announced podcasting for iTunes, killing Odeo’’s chances for success. Evan Williams recharges his team for the entire new venture. One of the prominent employees, Jack Dorsey, introduces his idea of what the project would look like. Noah Glass was thrilled with the concept and spent the whole day looking through dictionaries for the word describing a light chirping sound or flutter. In March, Dorsey launches an early version of Twitter and sends the first tweet. The year after, Twitter wins “best startup” by Southwest, becomes its own company and receives a valuation of $20 million.
In 2016, Twitter acquired Vine for $30 million. The platform was a short video hosting service where users shared six-second-long video clips. In 2013, Instagram occupies the platform’s leading place with its 15-seconds-video clip. Vine failed to meet competition and thus was shut down in 2016.
Despite numerous confrontations among team leaders and the dismissal of one of its spiritual leaders, Noah Glass, Twitter remains a leading microblogging platform. It connects people to the opinions and news around the world.
The history of the modern cave wall started in San Francisco by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. Before its original concept which is photo and video-sharing, the Instagram prototype called Brbn allowed users to check-in and share photos. But statistics showed that people were just using the app to share their everyday life photos. This was the time when creators canceled Brbn and launched Instagram in 2010.
Today, Instagram is the largest-growing social-media platform. It was a success right from the beginning with over 25000 users showing up on the first day! With the help of avid users, Instagram soon became the number one photo-sharing app gathering 100,000 users in one week, increasing to 1 million in two months. The first Instagram photo ever uploaded was the picture of Kevin Systrom’s dog.
With Instagram’s huge success, Zuckerberg made an offer to acquire it for $1 billion in cash and stock, with the company’s independence provided.
Now Instagram has more than 1 billion monthly active users. It is indeed one of the most popular social networks worldwide. The compelling factor of the app is that it allows to take ordinary photos and make them unique using face retouching, filters, and associated apps. Instagram is about a simple and handy interface, tons of photos and videos without heavy captions or ads. It connects with a diverse audience, creates communities, inspires and helps those who inspire to profit from their creative activity.
The impact of social media applications has triggered a discussion of the “new communication democracy”. It is a tech breakthrough that has wrought fundamental change throughout society. Social networking enables individuals to create and share content, build long-lasting relationships and far-reaching communications and even escape reality. Today, we can send data from one end of the world to the other in a matter of seconds, use pictures, video, and text to share our real lives, our genuine identity. The rise of the media has made personal stories go public; local issues become global. It has definitely brought benefits in diversifying the flow of information in our life, and new technologies are continuing to gain ground every day, transforming our communication practices and possibilities.