The History of Social Media Since 2003

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

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

It is attention-grabbing to look again at these iconic moments within the final 20+ years of social media. On this submit, 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

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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 (Seventies – Nineties) laid the foundational parts of the platforms we all know at the moment.

  • 1971 – Ray Tomlinson despatched the primary e-mail, advertising the start of contemporary electronic message.
  • 1978 – The Bulletin Board System (BBS) is launched, permitting customers to add and obtain software program and information, learn information on-line, and alternate 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 may create profiles, make pals, and ship messages.
  • 1999 – Livejournal grew to become out there, permitting individuals to share details about themselves with pals and different customers. It’s one of many earliest running a blog platforms and remains to be operational in 2023.

Start of The Unique Social Networks

What adopted the primary wave of “social networks” are the platforms we all know at the moment, or the preliminary phases and first variations of these we use at the moment. Friendster, based in 2002, is likely one of the first. It lets customers join with pals, share footage, and uncover new content material. A gradual stream of platforms adopted.

  • 2003 – LinkedIn is launched as an expert networking platform that connects individuals in a enterprise context.
  • 2003 – Myspace is launched to the world as a platform for customizable profiles, music sharing, and running a blog. It grew to become the most important social media platform when it was in its prime.
  • 2004 – Fb, initially for Harvard college students, was based. Customers linked with their pals and shared their ideas. Fb is now the world’s hottest social networking platform, with 2.9 billion month-to-month energetic customers. The picture under is what the primary Fb profile structure appeared like.

    image displaying the original layout of a facebook profile

Picture Supply

  • 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 think about different movies made by others. Jawed Karim, certainly one 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 focus on matters with like-minded individuals. It was the primary discussion-forward web site of its form.

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 brief updates with their pals. Jack Dorsey, certainly one of its founders, despatched the primary Tweet, and it mentioned, “simply establishing my twttr.”
  • 2007 – Tumblr, one other microblogging platform, launched and have become in style amongst these partaking in area of interest fandom communities. It gained 75,000 customers in two weeks and at the moment hosts nearly 500 million blogs.

The Visible and Cell Period

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

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

Instagram was the primary social media app out there on iOS, and it was the primary mobile-only platform and the second visual-first platform. It gained 100,000 customers in per week, 5 million in 8 months, and now has 2 billion world month-to-month energetic customers. Social media entrepreneurs in 2023 say Instagram has the best ROI and engagement of all different apps.

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

image displaying the original ux and layout of an Instagram profile

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From 2007 till at the moment, we additionally noticed the creation and developments of social media algorithms that provide customized 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 may create Circles of individuals they wished 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 out there on cellular 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 cellular 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.” Lots of the hottest movies are nonetheless quoted at the 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 brief lip-sync movies.
  • 2015 – Discord launches as an instantaneous messaging and voice chat platform for players.
  • 2016 – TikTok was launched in China as a short-form video platform, attracting hundreds of thousands of customers.
  • 2017 – TikTok grew to become out there in the US 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 Shopper Tendencies Report exhibits that 73% of Gen Z at the moment use TikTok.
  • 2017 – ByteDance, TikTok’s guardian 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 strategy to work together. When social distancing rules 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 way of life app that blends parts 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 May 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 images, 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 platform, giving companies a brand new and distinctive strategy to construct model consciousness, work together with audiences, and encourage gross sales.

Let’s go over some ways in which social media may evolve subsequent.

1. Social media will turn out to be a search engine:

31% of customers use social media to seek for solutions to their questions, and one-fourth of 18 to 54-year-olds want 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 certainly one 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 customers 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 procuring is the brand new frontier for ecommerce.

One of many greatest new waves of social media is the rise of social procuring. 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 usually than model web sites in 2023, and social sellers say their corporations are making extra gross sales on social media this yr than final.

internet social sales

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

3. Social Media Buyer Service

With the rise of procuring on social media, customers look to those self same platforms for customer support when shopping for merchandise. These days, 76% of social media entrepreneurs say their enterprise presents customer support on social media, and as time goes on, it should probably be extra necessary for manufacturers to supply.

Takeaways for Entrepreneurs: In the case of 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 all the time and can proceed to evolve and impression how we talk, drive social actions, and join worldwide. Each evolution brings new alternatives for entrepreneurs and customers alike.

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