Social Media, an ever growing medium for individuals to share and access information from anywhere, at any time. However, one aspect people never ponder is how these companies generate money, market, and share. They never ask the question, “How is this free service staying in business and becoming a Titan of Silicon Valley?”. This Technical brief will delve into this topic and explore the strategies pushing social media sites to the top. Before this happens, let’s set the background for what social media has evolved from. Many people yet to realize that the sites they are using: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, all came from centuries of development. This realization is easy to skip over yet so crucial in beginning to understand this subject.
History: How Social Media Evolved
Some of the earliest methods of communicating across vast distances were through written correspondences delivered in person, letters, the earliest form reaches to 550 B.C. Then in 1792 a break through occurred in message delivery when the telegraph was invented. This allowed messages were delivered faster than a horse could carry them and could reach long distances at the same time. Though these messages were short, the machine revolutionized the way news was alerted to the masses and other parts of the world. 1890 and 1981 sparked two of the greatest inventions in the history of mankind, the telephone and the radio. Both technologies have evolved drastically today, however these mediums allowed people to communicate instantaneously, bringing forth the fastest mode of communication to date. However, the 20th century would bring forth even greater technological breakthroughs that helped pave the way for modern day social media.
During the 20th century technology was evolving at a rapid pace. During the 1940’s the first super computers were created and scientist and engineers were developing ways to create networks between those computers. This study would later lead to the birth of the internet. During the 60’s and 70’s, the earliest forms of the internet, rudimentary forms of email, and even virtual newsletters were being constructed. By the 80’s home computers were becoming more of a consumer item and social media was gaining sophistication. Throughout the rest of the 20th century internet relay chats would dominate and the first recognizable social media site, Six Degrees, would be released. Six Degrees allowed users to upload a profile and make friends with other users of the site. Finally, in 1999, blogging was released into the world, creating a social media storm that still continues today.
Now Social Media stretches across different subjects: business, social, art, etc. yet still remains a medium for people to gain information and stay in touch with other users of the same platform. Users today are able to share anything on their pages ranging from personal interests, current activity, political views, news articles, videos, personal photos, basically anything they want as long as it is in the confines of the user agreement. Social Media today is so much more than a place for people to communicate. Social Media is a tool in keeping people up to date and in touch with those close and far away. It provides some of the fastest communication and is one of the most utilized mediums by news organizations. Social Media is only beginning to thrive and it will continue to do so for many years to come. Today, there is an ever-growing number of social media sites that people can join. However, there are a few stand out sites that dominate the market today.