The Evolution of Social Media
Have you ever wondered how social media platforms came to be? Some social sites have come a long way since they first came out, while others are barely hanging on, or simply no longer exist. So why is that some of them flourished, while others fizzled out? It all comes down to effectively connecting people and creating a relevant, user friendly platform. Let’s take a look at some of the history.
One of the first popular social networks, Myspace, began in 2003. It was started by a group of employees from an internet marketing company. It was a place where you could create a personal, online profile and connect with friends via photos, music, and messages. A year after its launch, the amount of registered users reached one million. Myspace didn’t slow down until late 2007, when its competitor, Facebook started picking up speed online. Soon after that, the company was bought out by Google, and then later sold to Specific Media. Nowadays, Myspace has veered away from being a social network, and has instead become a place for musicians to host their music for fans.
There’s no denying the popularity of Facebook. “The Facebook”, created by Mark Zuckerberg during his days as a college undergrad at Harvard, launched in 2004 as a social network to bring Harvard students together. The website took off quickly, and in a month's time, over half the undergrad population was signed up on the site. Soon it extended to other universities across the country, and eventually it became the open network that you know and love today. Facebook has been thriving even more in recent years, adapting quickly to meet the needs of their audience. It now has over one billion monthly users.
Twitter began it’s journey as a social media network nearly six years ago. It was created by a group of programmers who worked at a podcasting company. The idea was to send one text message that would go out to multiple people at once. This is why tweets can only be 140 characters long, because 160 was the SMS limit while still leaving room for the username. Since its launch, Twitter has transformed into a multimedia platform that now has over 300 million active users each month. These days, it’s most popular for being an efficient, quick news aggregator and a place to follow influencers, celebrities, and even world leaders.
Snapchat also started off as a small platform. Similar to Facebook, it evolved rather quickly from a small idea that emerged from a group of friends at Stanford. This phone app is known for being targeted to teens that are trying to escape Facebook, a platform that they feel has been infiltrated by their parents. It’s now become the fastest growing social network for millennials, and has over seven billion video views every day. With fun additions like filters, Snapchat is quickly making a name for itself in the advertising world as well. It’s not uncommon for a movie, event, or business to create it’s own filter to promote themselves. It’s quick, but it’s effective.
Instagram, launched more recently in 2010 by two California residents, Kevin Systrom and Mike Kriejer. Within just a few short months, the phone app reached 1 million users. Since then, a variety of updates have been included on this platform to make it more interactive for users. More recent updates include a new look for their icon, an analytic tool, the instant translation feature, the ability to filter comments, and the addition of multiple images along with video stories onto the timeline. Like Facebook, it’s a place where businesses are becoming more present. It looks like this is just the beginning for Instagram.
As years go by, social media platforms will continue to evolve. The most popular networks we have today might look completely different, or may not even exist in a few years. As technology improves, new ideas and tools will be created that could change how social networking and social marketing works. Adjusting to trends, and new audiences will always be the best way for businesses to stay on the right track when it comes to social media in the future.