I can still remember back in 1995 when my family acquired our first computer. Packaged in the cow spotted box, our Gateway Computer was my introduction to the digital world.
Although I was young at its inception, I have seen the evolution of social media from the days of AOL dial-up to our present all encompassing world of social media. One of my favorite tools on the internet is the Wayback Machine. It can take us back to the simple days of the Internet and show us our social media history over the years.
Myspace was the start of social media history and led to sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. I can still remember my early days of Myspace and everyone’s best friend Tom, the co-founder of Myspace. It was like a small introduction to website design. Being able to tailor the page and personalize it to your personality. You could go into the back-end and change the background, music, font, etc. Yes, I put way too much effort into mine and was worried about everyone’s first impression of my profile.
Although Myspace was once crowned the next big thing being, valued at $65 billion, it soon lost its luster as Facebook began to take over. In 2011, Justin Timberlake and Specific Media Group purchased the website for approximately $35 million. Myspace introduced its reinvented look in 2012 which established it as a social networking music site for fans. Unfortunately, the Wayback Machine doesn’t have an archive of my old page.
If you’ve seen the movie The Social Network then you know Facebook’s social media history. In 2004, ‘The Facebook’ was launched at Harvard University. Very similar to Myspace in it’s original design, but what made Facebook so popular was the exclusivity. It started at Harvard but soon was open to all universities. I remember what made Facebook so great was that no parents were on it! But it didn’t take long before Facebook continued to grow and evolved to the 1.86 billion monthly active users that it has today.
In 2006 with the popularity of texting and SMS that limited you to 140 characters, Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone and Evan Williams came up with a web platform with the same constraint. In the first quarter of 2007, Twitter had 400,000 tweets. Today, Twitter receives over 500 million daily tweets.
When Twitter originated, everyone was tweeting and finding new ways to communicate to each other. Over time Twitter has become a platform to follow celebrities or get their news everyday. Unfortunately, the rise and fall of Twitter’s stock in the last few years has left investors in uncertainty. Only time will tell what will happen to this social media giant.
YouTube began its rise to the top in February 2005 and it did not take long before Google purchased it for 1.65 billion in 2006. YouTube was the start of easily accessible online video. As the speed of the Internet and computers continued to evolve, YouTube only became better.
Today YouTube is not just a video sharing website, but it is a place that has become a business platform. The popular internet celebrity PewDiePie earned an estimated $15 million in 2016. With over 5 billion videos being watched everyday, YouTube has been the start of online viewing that may lead to a future without a pay-TV service.
Computers and the Internet helped create social media, but it took a whole new level with the creation of the iPhone in 2007. In the last ten years, social media has become essential in American culture. Today we are now connected more than ever.
Myspace is no longer the social media king and we have seen a rise in new contenders in the evolution of social media with Snapchat and Instagram. Early in 2017, Facebook is still King and is also now used as a business platform. Learn how you can use Facebook for your small business.