Social media has been evolving since the invention of the internet. From the first email in 1971 and Usenet in 1979 to GeoCities allowing everyone to set up their own personal homepage in 1995. However, Six degrees is widely considered to be the first social network. Six Degrees launched in 1997 and grew to around 3,500,000 registered users and was sold to YouthStream Media Networks in 1999 for $125 million. So why aren't we using the Six Degrees today? A lot of it has to do with timing. In 1997, the internet's infrastructure wasn't really ready for social networking and while the site had millions of registered users, growth was limited due to the lack of people connected to the Internet. Six Degrees was followed by social networking sites based on the "social-circles network model." A slightly different approach than the "Six degrees of seperation" model. Instead of connecting with people you see as first, second or third degree connections. Social circle networks allow you to connect with anyone you know, whether they're best friends or acquaintances. To highlight how social media has evolved, let's take a look at a few of the seminal platforms that helped the social media phenomenon take off. The site was many people's intro to online social networking, but like many before and after, the network failed to become a part of user's daily routine and ultimately people skipped off when newer, shinier social networks emerged. From 2005 until 2008, Myspace was the largest social networking site in the world, and in june 2006 surpassed Google as the most visited website in the U.S. Facebook overtook myspace in may 2008 and since then the platform has been playing catch-up trying to re-invent itself.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of reasons that social networks decline. The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology studied networks like Friendster and Myspace with the goal of figuring out what kills a social Network. While networks like Friendster and Myspace had tens, and eventually hundreds, of millions of registered users the bonds between users weren't particularly strong. Many users had very few connections and as such felt looser affiliation with the networks. This shows that it takes more than just a large user base to build a social network. Strong social networks are made up on strongly linked people, not large groups of strangers and acquaintances. Facebook has risen to the top of the social media world with 1.49 billion monthly active users. You could write a book on how Facebook has grown to become the most dominant social network of our time, but i'm going to try and summarize its meteoric rise in a few bullet points. During Facebook's rise they adopted the mantra "move fast and break things." Putting this belief into action is a huge reason why Facebook rose aboce their competition. Facebook has never stood still and they've never been afraid to make bold changes to their platform. The Facebook Newsfeed has been a key part of their success. On early social networks you had to go off in a search of content from connections. The newsfeed put your friends' content, updates and discussions front and center, giving Facebook a truly social feel.
During Myspace's beginnings, no-one outside of a certain Havard dorm room would have predicted Facebook, just as Facebook didn't see Snapchat coming and again changing the way millions of people connect with each other. Facebook has reached the highest of highs, and much like a fighting World Champion boxer, they face a tough battle to keep their pace on a pedestal and remain at the top. Although the future of social media is uncertain, here's my best go at predicting what's coming next. One of the reasons Facebook beat out Myspace was that it was the first network that allowed us to be ourselves and as it evolves, social media will continue to become more personal. Social networks will start to become more genuine. Focusing on who we actually are as individuals, as opposed to the edited version of ourselves we currently put forward. Platforms will move beyond static images and text-based profiles and evolve to feel more alive we're already starting to see this come to fruition with Facebook. A tweet currently has a shelf life of 18 minutes. The average Facebook user has access to about 1,500 posts per day but only looks at 300. Content is overwhelming and it's a problem for both users of social media platforms and marketers. At the moment content is produced in masses and we share it with our followers at a time we deem to be most revevant. This isn't ideal. As social media becomes more personal, so will the way we deliver content. In years to come, content will feel hand-delivered. We'll be able to tailor content to specific individuals in real time based on their routines and interests. Facebook is already testing an Algo determine what content is in photos in order to serve the most relevant ones in your timeline.
No lines are longer than 80 characters, TYVM. Other specified properties aren't being scored automatically at this time so this is not necessarily good news...