A Brief History of Social Media

Main sources:;xNLx;http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/social-media-history_b18776;xNLx; http://www.onlineschools.org/blog/history-of-social-networking/

Yahoo! Launches powerful new web search engine

In January 1994, two electrical engineering graduate students at Stanford create a website called "Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web." A powerful search engine, it quickly gains popularity and is renamed "Yahoo!'

pioneering social media site launches

The website TheGlobe.com launches as one of the first online social networks. It allows registered users to post personal information and connect with other users who share similar interests. The company is founded by two Cornell University students and in 1998 goes public. The initial IPO is huge, but the stock price crashes a year later. The site is shut down in 2008.

Google is born

Google starts as a research project conducted by two Stanford Ph.D. students named Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Like Yahoo! it is a powerful way to search millions of websites on the internet.

AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) emerges

America Online (AOL) releases Instant Messenger (AIM), the first large-scale online instant messaging service. It allows users to create personal profiles and chat with "buddies" in real-time. Users can also post "away messages," a predecessor of Facebook status updates and Tweets.

Early Facebook version comes to campus

While still an undergrad at Harvard, Mark Zuckerberg launches "theFacebook," a college-specific social network. The site is initially just for Harvard students but quickly expands to other colleges throughout the country before becoming available to everyone. The site now has over 800 million active users.

And then began the "blogging" era

OpenDiary.com allows users to publicly share journal entries and comment on other peoples' posts. The site was an early pioneer of the "blogging" format, inspiring many subsequent sites.

Friendster arrives

Friendster is one of the first social networks to emerge in the post-bubble internet era. A predecessor of Facebook, it allows users to form networks and share personal data about themselves. TIME Magazine calls it one of the best inventions of 2003.

Linkedin and the professional social network boom

Reid Hoffman, an Oxford-trained philosopher, launches LinkedIn, a professional social network for professional networking. While Friendster quickly plummeted in popularity, LinkedIn has remained a very popular and profitable professional resource.

The Myspace experience begins

Two musicians create MySpace. A competitor to Friendster, it allows individual users and bands to customize page designs, post ads, and share music. It becomes especially popular as a promotional site for musicians.

Flickr revolutionizes photo sharing

A Vancouver-based company creates Flickr, a photo-sharing platform that allows users to easily upload and post photos that can be viewed publicly and among selected networks of other users. A year later, the company is acquired by Yahoo! for about $35 million.

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