Are you able to consider it has been nearly 20 years since Fb was based? Maybe lots of you are feeling prefer it was simply yesterday when “buddy” was a noun.

what is the history of social media

The identical goes for YouTube, which made video accessibility and shareability on-line so simple as will be. And Twitter, for that matter — sponsored tweets have solely been round since 2010!

It is fascinating to look again at these iconic moments within the final 20+ years of social media. On this publish, we’ll go over an entire timeline of social media historical past and what every community’s utilization stats appear like now.

Desk of Contents

Download Now: The 2023 State of Social Media Trends [Free Report]

What’s the historical past of social media?

The historical past of social media is characterised by fixed innovation, technological developments, and transformation.

The Early Years

The early years of social media (Nineteen Seventies – Nineteen Nineties) laid the foundational components of the platforms we all know right this moment.

  • 1971 – Ray Tomlinson despatched the primary e mail, advertising and marketing the start of contemporary piece of email.
  • 1978 – The Bulletin Board System (BBS) is launched, permitting customers to add and obtain software program and knowledge, learn information on-line, and trade messages with individuals in on-line communities.
  • 1985 – America On-line (AOL) is based, and it lets customers talk on-line through e mail and messaging.
  • 1997 – Six Levels is launched, and it’s one of many first recognizable social media platforms in comparison with these. Customers might create profiles, make associates, and ship messages.
  • 1999 – Livejournal grew to become accessible, permitting individuals to share details about themselves with associates and different customers. It’s one of many earliest running a blog platforms and remains to be operational in 2023.

Start of The Authentic Social Networks

What adopted the primary wave of “social networks” are the platforms we all know right this moment, or the preliminary phases and first variations of these we use right this moment. Friendster, based in 2002, is without doubt one of the first. It lets customers join with associates, share footage, and uncover new content material. A gradual stream of platforms adopted.

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  • 2005 – YouTube was launched and have become the primary video-only sharing platform and the primary visual-first community. It lets individuals add, share, and consider different movies made by others. Jawed Karim, one in every of its founders, shared the primary video on the platform titled “Me on the zoo.” Eighteen years later, it has greater than 287 million views.

  • 2005 – Reddit was launched as a textual content and community-based platform for individuals to work together and talk about matters with like-minded individuals. It was the primary discussion-forward web site of its type.

The Microblogging Period

  • 2006 – Twitter (now X) is launched, introducing microblogging and real-time communication. It was initially meant to be an SMS-based platform for individuals to share quick updates with their associates. Jack Dorsey, one in every of its founders, despatched the primary Tweet, and it stated, “simply organising my twttr.”

The Visible and Cellular Period

A pivotal second in social media historical past got here in 2007 when the primary iPhone hit the market. It blew open the longer term potential for social media, as individuals might now entry platforms on the go from a tool saved of their pockets.

Throughout this identical period, we noticed the creation of extra platforms that prioritized visuals over all else.

Instagram was the primary social media app accessible on iOS, and it was the primary mobile-only platform and the second visual-first platform. It gained 100,000 users in a week, 5 million in 8 months, and now has 2 billion international month-to-month lively customers. Social media entrepreneurs in 2023 say Instagram has the highest ROI and engagement of all different apps.

The picture under is the primary format of an Instagram profile.

image displaying the original ux and layout of an Instagram profile

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From 2007 till right this moment, we additionally noticed the creation and developments of social media algorithms that supply personalised experiences, area of interest social media platforms catering to particular pursuits and communities, and mergers and acquisitions. Let’s go dive into the timeline of occasions.

  • 2010 – Pinterest was launched as one other photo-dominating platform, letting customers add and save photographs for curated mood-board-type experiences.
  • 2011 – Snapchat adopted Instagram as a mobile-only expertise and the primary app to popularize disappearing messages and ephemeral content material.
  • 2011 – Google+ was created, the place customers might create Circles of individuals they needed to attach with and share content material unique to these micro-networks. It shut down in October 2018.
  • 2011 – Keek, one other video-sharing social media service, launched. It had 45 million customers in its prime and was solely accessible on cell gadgets.
  • 2011 – Twitch launched as a live-streaming service for broadcasting online game performs.
  • 2012 – Fb buys Instagram.
  • 2012 – Twitter buys Vine pre-launch.
  • 2013 – Vine is launched, popularizing snackable, short-form video content material on cell gadgets. Whereas YouTube and Keek had been meant for video, it was the primary to exist for short-form content material. Vine considerably impacted popular culture, popularizing phrases like “Do it for the vine.” Most of the hottest movies are nonetheless quoted right this moment.

  • 2013 – YikYak is launched as a neighborhood message board for faculty college students. It was shut down in 2017 after a decline in its consumer base.
  • 2014 – launched, letting customers create quick lip-sync movies.
  • 2015 – Discord launches as an immediate messaging and voice chat platform for avid gamers.
  • 2016 – TikTok was launched in China as a short-form video platform, attracting tens of millions of customers.
  • 2017 – TikTok grew to become accessible in the USA in late 2017 and has since reached over 130 million downloads. Vine shut down in January of 2017, making TikTok the premier app for short-form video content material. Our Consumer Trends Report reveals that 73% of Gen Z at the moment use TikTok.
  • 2017 – ByteDance, TikTok’s mum or dad firm, purchases
  • 2018 – TikTok and merge.
  • 2020 – Clubhouse is launched as an audio-chat networking app. It was initially invite-only and skyrocketed in reputation in the course of the pandemic because it supplied a brand new technique to work together. When social distancing laws eased up, its consumer base fell.
  • 2020 – BeReal is launched as an ephemeral picture-sharing app centered on customers showcasing unedited real-life snippets of their lives.
  • 2020 – Lemon8 is launched as a life-style app that blends components on Instagram and Pinterest.
  • 2021 – YikYak is relaunched.
  • 2023 – Meta launches Threads, a text-based conversational app much like Twitter (now X).

How Social Media Might Evolve Subsequent

Asie from the timeline above, different key moments in social media historical past embody functions adopting related options as rivals, like Fb including photographs, Instagram launching “Tales” (a characteristic much like Snapchat), and Twitter Areas permitting customers to have voice-chat rooms like Clubhouse.

We can also’t neglect the rise of social media as a advertising and marketing platform, giving companies a brand new and distinctive technique to construct model consciousness, work together with audiences, and encourage gross sales.

Let’s go over some ways that social media could evolve next.

1. Social media will develop into a search engine:

31% of shoppers use social media to seek for solutions to their questions, and one-fourth of 18 to 54-year-olds favor to look on social media.

graph displaying how each generation prefers to find answers to their questions online

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Google has seen this change, with one in every of its executives even saying that Google Search and Maps have misplaced searchers in youthful generations who as a substitute flip to apps like TikTok and Instagram to search for locations to eat.

Takeaways for Entrepreneurs: With social search on the rise, manufacturers might want to adapt to this want by making it simpler for shoppers to find them on social media by utilizing related hashtags on posts and content material and making simply identifiable and searchable profiles and usernames.

2. Social buying is the brand new frontier for ecommerce.

One of many largest new waves of social media is the rise of social buying. Shoppers of all generations browse for merchandise and make purchases inside social media apps, with Millennials and Gen Z taking the generational lead. Social media entrepreneurs predict that customers will purchase merchandise on social media extra typically than model web sites in 2023, and social sellers say their corporations are making extra gross sales on social media this 12 months than final.

internet social sales

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Takeaways for Entrepreneurs: As shoppers proceed to make use of social media as a search engine and uncover merchandise, manufacturers might want to embrace social promoting and contemplate leveraging the platforms’ instruments to make it simpler for shoppers to buy the apps they already use.

3. Social Media Buyer Service

With the rise of buying on social media, shoppers look to those self same platforms for customer support when shopping for merchandise. These days, 76% of social media entrepreneurs say their enterprise gives customer support on social media, and as time goes on, it’s going to doubtless be extra necessary for manufacturers to supply.

Takeaways for Entrepreneurs: Relating to providing service on social media, companies already doing so both have a devoted customer support rep to deal with it, or depart it to the marketer accountable for the platform.

Over to You

Social media has at all times and can proceed to evolve and impression how we talk, drive social actions, and join worldwide. Each evolution brings new alternatives for entrepreneurs and shoppers alike.

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