Social media as we know it is 20 years old this year. Let’s remind ourselves just how far we’ve come.
Legend has it that the first social networking site launched around 1997. Six Degrees was a social networking site that allowed you to create a profile and make friends with other users. Based on the Web of Contacts model of social networking, Six Degrees was named after the six degrees of separation concept by Frigyes Karinthy: the idea that all living things are less than six steps away from each other.
Unfortunately Six Degrees was not to be. It was soon overshadowed by the likes of Friendster, Linkedin, Myspace, Bebo and the almighty Facebook.
Around the same time that Six Degrees launched, private messaging sites came to light, and have been popular ever since. We all use some form of messaging app; whether it’s Slack for work, Whatsapp for play, or chatbots to discuss problems with your phone contract – the chances are, you use them every day.
Eventually, video messaging became possible. Skype was, and still is, a firm favourite among families trying to connect overseas, or business men and women trying to conduct business at a distance.
It wasn’t until 2005 that videos online really made an impression. YouTube, the second most popular social networking site after Facebook, has kept people entertained day and night with hours and hours of videos to watch for over two decades.
Social media was, and is, the best way to enjoy the internet. But don’t just take our word for it – check out our timeline of the most popular social media sites and be reminded of just how far social networking sites have come over the years.