Social media has become more and more prevalent since the turn of the 21st century, and does not look like it will slow down anytime soon. In the present, social media is everywhere you look; it is essentially any app you open, any social website you visit, or any post or picture you post to the web. So what exactly is social media? Social media is the collection of online communications channels dedicated to community-based input, interaction, content-sharing and collaboration. Websites and applications dedicated to forums, microblogging, social networking, social bookmarking, social curation, and wikis are among the different types of social media.
The computer itself is a relatively new invention, the first “personal computer” being sold in 1975. Moreover, it goes without saying that social media is even more recent as it really began to come on the scene in the early 2000’s. In 2002, social networking/media really hit its stride with the launch of Friendster, which used a degree of separation concept similar to that of the now-defunct SixDegrees.com. Friendster created a platform for people in the web community for people to interact over common bonds/interests. A year later, LinkedIn was introduced and took a much more serious, sober approach to the social networking phenomenon. Rather than being a mere playground for people with common interests, LinkedIn was, and still is, a networking resource for business people who want to connect with other professionals. Today, LinkedIn boasts more than 297 million members. Social media then took its sharpest turn towards relevancy in 2006, when Facebook was released to the general public. Facebook boasts the most active users of any social media outlet. Twitter and Instagram follow suit and are widely considered the most popular three media outlets we have today.
The “First” Outlet: While there were social media networks that existed before Friendster, none of them engaged the mainstream with the same amount of success until they did. Launched by Jonathan Abrams and Peter Chin in March of 2002, the site was built on the premise that people were separated by six degrees. A feature showed how you were connected to strangers made meeting people less intimidating and highly addictive. It was also considered a safe way to meet potential dates online. Unable to scale the service at the same rate as demand, the site encountered many technical hiccups. Frustrated users began migrating away from the popular social network and on to its rival MySpace. Friendster is still credited as “giving birth” to the modern social media movement. In May of 2011, the site abandoned user profiles and transitioned into a social entertainment site. Technically, Friendster wasn’t the first social media outlet, however, it paved the way for future outlets to mimic their success and utilize social media