The origin story – where social media first started

In today’s digital world, social media has become an integral part of our daily lives. But have you ever wondered where it all began? Let’s explore the origins of social media.

The origin story - where social media first started. A line of people stood side by side against a window. They're all looking at their smartphones.
Credit: Pexels

The birth of social networking

The concept of social networking predates the internet itself, with early forms emerging in the 1970s and 1980s through bulletin board systems (BBS) and online communities like Usenet. These early platforms allowed users to connect with others, share information, and engage in discussions on various topics.

Six degrees: The first social network

In 1997, the world witnessed the birth of the first recognisable social networking site: Six Degrees. Named after the “six degrees of separation” concept, Six Degrees allowed users to create profiles, list their friends, and send messages. While it didn’t achieve mainstream success, it laid the groundwork for future social networking platforms.

The rise of Friendster and MySpace

The early 2000s saw the emergence of Friendster and MySpace, two platforms that revolutionised social networking. Friendster, launched in 2002, brought the concept of connecting with friends and making new ones online. MySpace, founded in 2003, took social networking to new heights with customisable profiles, and a vibrant community of users.

Facebook: A social media giant is born

In 2004, a Harvard University student named Mark Zuckerberg launched a social networking site called Facebook from his dorm room. Originally exclusive to Harvard students, Facebook quickly expanded to other universities, then high schools, and eventually the public. Its intuitive interface, emphasis on real identities, propelled it to global dominance.

Twitter: Microblogging and real-time communication

In 2006, Twitter burst onto the scene with its unique concept of microblogging—sharing short, 140-character messages known as tweets. Twitter’s real-time nature made it an invaluable tool for sharing news, opinions, and updates, quickly earning it millions of users worldwide. It’s a shame because until Elon Musk recently took over, Twitter (now X) was still popular.

The era of visual social media

In 2010, Instagram changed the social media landscape by introducing photo and video sharing in a visually appealing format. With its focus on simplicity and creativity, Instagram became a platform for self-expression, storytelling, and visual communication. We’re not going to even mention its rival TikTok, because that’s a whole new era of app.

From humble beginnings in the early days of the internet to the global phenomenon we know today, social media has come a long way. What started as simple online communities has evolved into a vast ecosystem of platforms that connect people, form relationships, and shape the way we communicate, share information, and express ourselves. sign up for free GIF
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