Social media goes from blogging to business

The timeline above shows the history of when the most popular social media platforms were introduced – Graphic by Kalā Lindsey

Since the dawn of social media, the idea of sharing one’s story with millions of people has appealed to users around the world. Here’s a look back on social media’s evolution.

Social media was born in 1997 when a website called Six Degrees was launched. Six Degrees introduced blogging and instant messaging, which most people do on a daily basis today. The site also encouraged the production of one of the most popular websites of all time, MySpace.

Myspace was created in 2003 specifically for profile making, sharing personal information and connecting with others. Users could customize the layout of their profile pages, add music that played whenever someone visited their pages, and keep their personal blogs updated for all viewers. The site grew so popular that many musicians used it to promote their music. A music producer found Colbie Caillat on the site, which  jumpstarted Caillat’s career.

While MySpace was created for personal use and connecting with others, LinkedIn was created in 2003 to connect business workers and employers. It is now a virtual space where people from all industries network with one another.

In 2004, Harvard undergraduate Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook with the intent of it being just for Harvard students. However, it gained in popularity and was eventually opened to the public. According to the Pew Research Center, a nonprofit, non-partisan fact tank. It is now the number one most used website in the world, with over 1 billion users.

In 2005, video blogging was introduced with the creation of YouTube, a platform that allows anyone to post and share videos. Popular internationally, many have used the site to create viral media that has given them the opportunity to brand themselves and launch entire businesses based off their videos. In 2006, Google Inc. purchased the site and added it to its repertoire of media handles, making it easier for anyone who has a GMail account to create a YouTube channel.

Twitter was introduced to the world in 2006, when the creators decided to make a  social website based off text and SMS messaging. Originally, posts or Tweets were limited to 140 characters. However, that number was increased last year to 240 characters due to popular demand. Twitter now has more than 500 million users and continues to grow.

A year later, a site named Tumblr was introduced, which used microblogging. Microblogging is the action of posting small, one sentence statuses and pictures or short video clips to describe one’s message, rather than typing it all out in a regular blog.

The most recent addition to social media is Instagram. The 2010 site appeals to those who prefer to use photography to tell their story and to express themselves. The site now has around 800 million users, of which 500 million are active on it every day. People also use the site to promote their products and businesses.

Despite the myriad social media platforms now available, WCC speech instructor Jeff Ho questions whether social media has improved society.

“One of the first things we talk about in our classes is that more communication isn’t necessarily better,” he said. “So why do all these businesses keep sending me all the junk mail (physical and digital) when, in this day and age when marketing is so personalized, they should know I don’t want/need any of it? They think they are selling this wonderful world of beautiful places and people by posting all these images and videos. However, they often fail to include others.”

by Hannah Bailey, Ka ‘Ohana Staff Reporter