History of Social Media

When did it all begin, the great debate

Credit: Zenesys

There seems to be a lot of debate online about when social media really began. Some say back in the day of mailing letters and sending telegrams (Samuel Morse’s first telegraph, which he sent in 1844 between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore) was a form of social media as it was a way of sharing information, ideas and messages.

However, if we refer to the definition of social media as per dictionary.com “websites and other online means of communication that are used by large groups of people to share information and to develop social and professional contacts” there are two things that would stand out.

“1. Social media must include online communication, meaning the history of social media cannot begin before the invention and widespread adoption of the internet; and

2. Social media depends on user-generated content. This is why typical websites and blogs do not get included in the world of social media. Only certain people can post to these sites, and there are significant restrictions on the types of content that get uploaded.” (Jones, 2015, “History of Social Media“, para. 6)

So it had to begin after the internet…

Compuserve was founded in 1969 and was the first major commercial internet provider in the US and it was known for its revolutionary features it introduced including a chat system and forums for various topics.

Community Memory was the first public computer-based bulletin board. It was set up in 1973 as an experimental service and is thought of as a pre-Web social service. It was installed next to a traditional bulletin board which musicians and others in the community used to post their business cards, flyers and ads. It provided groups of people who had never used a computer with access to technology and information-sharing.

Usernet was created in 1979 and officially launched in 1980. It began with three networked computers as a way to exchange messages and files between computers and over time, grew to include thousands of discussion groups. Google has added more than 20 years of Usernet archives to its service Google groups.

So, which came first…

Six Degrees is considered the very first social networking site allowing users to sign up with their email addresses, make profiles and add friends to their personal network. It was launched in 1997 and lasted until 2001 and had about 3.5 million users at its peak.

In 2002 Friendster emerged, it was similar to Six Degrees, you signed up with your email address, made friends but you could also share videos, photos and send messages to other users as long as they were in your personal network. It ceased operation in 2015 although it had reached 100 million users.

MySpace was born in 2003 and quickly became the largest social media website in the world. In 2006 it surpassed Google as the top visited website. Eventually, in 2008, Facebook replaced it in popularity, although MySpace still exists today.

Ryze is considered to be the first business networking site, launched in 2001, however it was quickly taken over in popularity by LinkedIn which was launched in 2003.

In 2004, Orkut was launched by Google, however it was never able to succeed in its quest to overtake Friendster and MySpace.

Flickr was born in 2004 as a photo hosting service and is still going strong with millions of photos and groups.

In 2005 came Yahoo! 360 Degrees and Bebo, both of which could not compete with Facebook.

And well, I would consider the rest (Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat) where we are today. All of these networks were driven and created by their predecessors. Where will go next? Well, only time will tell.

Do you have other interesting information you have come across in the history of social media? Did you use any of the “original” networks? I didn’t, so I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the progression of social media.

Facebook: The History of Social Media https://bit.ly/3zKxfxy

Twitter: #History #SocialMedia https://bit.ly/3zKxfxy

Here a Site, There a Site

It seems like every week there is a new up and coming social media site, tie that in with daily posts about updates to the existing platforms and the options are endless. Yet the top sites (Facebook, YouTube, Whatsapp), remain at the top because they are constantly updating functionality and features. In some of the latest news, Instagram is adding a new shop section to capitalize on the increase in online shopping. Facebook has added Facebook Pay which is used for one-click purchasing, sending money to friends or donating directly to fundraisers. Twitter will be launching emoji-style reactions to tweets and Pinterest is adding expanded shopping features.

That’s a lot of potential

On average, more than 1.3 million new users joined social media every day in 2020 equating to roughly 15.5 new users every second.

There are now 4.2 billion social media users around the world. The number of social media users is now equivalent to 53% of the world’s total population. That is huge potential to reach a massive and engaged audience.

New, Newer, Newest

I took a peak through the 103+ social media sites you need to know in 2021 just to see what else is out there. Many of them are similar to the top used platforms but here are some interesting sites I found that would have great personal branding potential.

Triller is a music video app that allows users to create professional-level videos in seconds and offers features similar to TikTok.

Peanut is a social network for mothers and potential mothers to make friends and establish strong networks.

Academia is a platform for academics and researchers to share academic research

Athlinks is a social networking site geared to competitive endurance athletics.

Meetup helps connect users with local groups to meet up with new people.

LiveJournal is a blog-based site where users create blogs and journals for other users to read.

With so many options to choose from, there is so much potential to promote our personal brands and expand our networks. It becomes a matter of trial and error.

Are there any other interesting uncommon social media sites you have found? How did you hear about it? Do you use them?

Facebook: Social Media Platforms, Is there an uncommon site you like? https://bit.ly/3xoL0Qf

Twitter: #NewSocialMediaSites, check out some of the up and coming platforms https://bit.ly/3xoL0Qf

Can You See My Body Language?

If 93% of communication in non-verbal, how are our children developing these skills that are essential for adulthood? Conversations have shifted from face-to-face to through-the-screen and shortened versions of words of what would be visual responses are everyday language (ya u can lol @ me). In my opinion, this is decreasing the quality of interpersonal relationships, some people are even losing interest in meeting people in person preferring to stay at home on social media.

Debatable I know….

Two research studies (Mehrabian & Wiener, 1967 and Mehrabian & Ferris, 1967) concluded that 93% of communication is non-verbal; 55% body language, 38% tone of voice and the remaining 7% is the actual words spoken.

A Common Site

Photo by Kindel Media on Pexels.com

We have all seen it, we’re out for dinner or at a get-together (although that seems like so many moons ago) and people are looking at their phones. They are not truly engaging or interacting with the actual human beings in front of them. Is this a display of complete uninterest or just socially acceptable now?

The repercussions are misunderstandings and miscommunications and the people closest to each other are growing farther apart. One article I read even mentioned people become bored with real, in person conversations. How do you learn real life social etiquette this way? Are our social media accounts even a true representation of who we are?

I was always taught the importance in what your body language says about you, eye contact conveys confidence, shifting your focus quickly can indicate insecurity or anxiety and crossing your arms shows disinterest or disagreement. How can you understand and feel the actual affect of what you said from a written response?

Am I Wrong to Worry?

I realize there are many positives to social media especially for people who do suffer with often debilitating social anxiety, mental health concerns and panic disorders. It creates an opportunity to connect with people from around the globe, people who share the same interests and ideas, and creating a support system with others who may be suffering with similar issues. I’m sure many of our children would have gone stir crazy without interaction with their friends during the current pandemic (speaking from experience).

Is it wrong to worry about real-life communication in future generations? Do you think social media is harming this? Or are we as parents, leaders and mentors responsible for instilling these values? I’ll ask my teenage daughter when she texts me from her room to ask what time dinner is and I respond with “idk”.

Facebook: Can You See My Body Language? https://bit.ly/3v6WrdV

Twitter: #bodylanguage # socialmedia Can You See My Body Language? https://bit.ly/3v6WrdV

Social Media vs Self-Esteem, Can I get a “like”

Photo by Tracy Le Blanc from Pexels

I am not against social media by any means, it can be utilized in many positive ways. However, it is not easy to ignore the negative effective on youth growing up in a virtual world.

Some interesting social media statistics indicate,

  • 88% of teens have seen someone be mean or cruel to another person on a social networking site
  • 41% of teens had a negative experience as a result of using a social networking site
  • 22% of teens lost their friendship with someone due to actions on social media sites

Another study reported that frequent smartphone use can turn into psychological dependency, with high-frequency users experiencing “separation anxiety” when denied access to their devices for as little as 10 to 20 minutes (Cheever et al. 2014; OECD 2016).

The average daily time spent on social is 142 minutes a day

On average, people have 7.6 social media accounts

There are 3.725 billion active social media users

Missing out on critical social skills which promote positive self image

“Experts worry that the social media and text messages that have become so integral to teenage life are promoting anxiety and lowering self-esteem“, increasing feelings of depression, poor body image and loneliness. Other attributes include lost sleep, less physical activity, feeling frustrated and angry and envious of the lives of others. It is so easy to hide behind a screen and not understand the effect your words are having on the other person. We are missing out on critical non-verbal social skills that are essential for life, for employment and meaningful relationships. According to Twenge, Spitzberg and Campbell (2019) the highest levels of loneliness are found among youth with low amounts of in-person social contact.

Selfie or Self Destruction

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

A poll from the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons found that 42% of surgeons were asked to perform procedures for improved selfies and pictures on social media platforms. 

A poll in 2015 found that the average woman between 16 and 25 years old spends over five hours a week taking selfies.

There is even a term for kids who are fixating on their appearance because of social media — selfie dysmorphia, which is also sometimes called Snapchat dysmorphia. While this isn’t a real diagnosis, it is a term that recognizes that more people are experiencing a dysmorphia, or idea that there is something fundamentally flawed in their appearance.

It also gestures to a diagnosis that is real: body dysmorphic disorder, which is a mental health disorder related to OCD. People with body dysmorphic disorder are obsessed with what they perceive to be a disfiguring flaw, like a large nose or ears, a blemish on the skin, or underdeveloped muscles. These flaws might be imagined or very minor and blown out of proportion.

It’s not all bad…

Social networking sites connect individuals with shared interests, values and activities, and enable individuals to interact with extended networks that would be difficult to maintain in an offline context (Boyd and Ellison 2007; Verduyn et al. 2017).

My daughter, an avid fastball player, would never have had the opportunity find and follow a university fastball player in Oregon whom she idolizes. We would have lost out on the connections we all needed and desired in a worldwide pandemic.

What are your experiences with youth on social media? Do you have children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews that you have noticed a dependence on their electronic devices? I ask this as I peer out of the corner of my eye at my daughter who just viewed about 8 snapchat messages in 10 seconds…..oh how the times have changed since I was a teenager.

Check out this article on Facebook, Is Internet Addiction Real: https://bit.ly/3vxsGUL

Another interesting read on Twitter, Teaching Your Kids Mindful Social Media Habits: https://bit.ly/3wIPssG