Social Media Timeline

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    Before Social Media and the World Wide Web

    The PLATO System and Usenet were two of the first "Social Media" sites created. The PLATO System was created in 1973 at the University of Illinois and Usenet was created in 1979 at the University of North Carolina. Both sites were used to help students make connections, share notes, and screens online.
  • was one of the first Social Media sites to be created. The site featured profile pages for users, list of connections (now known as friends or followers) and the ability to send messages.
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    The Era of Instant Messengers

    AOL, a multi-content server created in 1985, added an Instant Messenger feature, called AIM, in 1997. AIM was created by Barry Appelman, Eric Bosco, and Jerry Harris. Yahoo! Messenger was established in 1999 by Jerry Yang and David Filo. Microsoft created an instant messenger called MSN Messenger in 1999. along with the instant messenger features, it also allowed for video calling.
  • Hot or Not

    Hot or Not was a popular Social Media site that allowed users to rate other users photos. Users were encouraged to post pictures of themselves to receive a rating based on how attractive they were.
  • The End of was bought out for 125 million dollars before 2000. Over time the site began to lose users due to more popular sites and was later shut down in 2001.
  • Friendster's Short Reign

    Friendster was created in 2002 by Johnathon Abrams. This platform was originally used as a dating site. Friendster had similar features to other social media platforms at the time such as user profiles and messaging. The site had newer features such as status update and revealing your mood. However due to server issues caused by a spike in popularity, Friendster crashed in 2003.
  • Social Media Sites Gain Traction

    By 2003, Social Media sites of all types were being created.
  • LinkedIn

    LinkedIn is a professional Social Media platform created in 2003. The creator Reid Hoffman built the site to allow professionals around the world connect with each other.
  • MySpace

    MySpace is one of the most popular Social Media platforms. Created in 2003 by Thomas Anderson, the site allowed for users to customize their profiles. It was also the first platform to feature public profiles, which meant non-users of the site could access your profiles. MySpace was the rival of Friendster, eventually taking over its popularity.
  • The Birth of Facebook

    Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook in 2004. Facebook is another very popular Social Media platform. The site was able to gain one million users in the same year as being released.
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    The Social Media Storm

    After the release of Facebook, many Social Media platforms began to arise. There were various forms of social being released at this time. Photo-sharing platforms such as Photobucket and Flikr were created. Blogging sites were created. One of the most popular sites is WordPress. Youtube and Reddit were also created in 2005.
  • The Beginning of Twitter

    Twitter was launched in 2006 by Jack Dorsey. Dorsey originally envisioned the site becoming a place for friends to share updates with each other, similar to text messages. Posts made on this site are called tweets.
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    Growing Platforms

    Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube began to grow and gain media attention.
    Youtube announced partnerships with their popular content creators allowing them gain profit from advertisers on their videos.
    The popular aspect of Social Media, The Hashtag, was also created in 2007.
  • Pictures are Worth a Thousand Words

    Instagram, Pinterest, and the Emoji were all created and launched in 2010.
    Instagram was created by Kevin Systrom. The site has been notably one of the largest and most popular photo-sharing platforms.
    Pinterest was created by Ben Silbermann. The platform is a social bookmarking site.
  • Social Media in Real Time

    Snapchat was created by Evan Spiegel in 2010. Originally named Picaboo, the app is known for its 24 hour story and disappearing pic-mail. These features allowed users to send pictures or videos to each other that when opened only last about 10 seconds. When users post to their stories, they last for 24 hours before disappearing. Twitch was also created in 2011 by Justin Kan. This was a live-streaming platform that allowed gamers to share their experiences with games while playing games.
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    The Buyout

    In 2012, Instagram went under the ownership of Facebook for one billion dollars in cash and stock. in 2014, Amazon bought Twitch, the live streaming platform used by gamers.
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    The Vine/ Era

    In 2012, the app Vine was launched by Dom Hoffman. The app was used to create short comedy, musical, fashion, and other types of videos. Vine gained popularity quickly and is where many famous content creators from today got their start. Vine later shut down officially in 2016.
    In 2014, called was created by Alex Zhu and Luyu Yang. The platform was used to post lip-syncing videos to popular songs or sounds. After the Vine app shut down, gained popularity.
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    More Features on More Platforms

    In 2016, Facebook and Instagram added new features to their platforms. Facebook created Facebook LIVE allowing users to live stream events or just an average day. Instagram launched Stories, similar to snapchat, that allows users to post photos or videos on their profiles for a limited time In 2017, Twitter doubled its character count from 140 words per tweet to 280. The platform also introduced threads that allowed users to connect their thoughts in a string of tweets.