None of the main social networks that we use today are more than 25 years old, but you can go back to the 70s of the last century, when the Internet was born, to find the first antecedents of what we have called “social media.” ».
Background of Social Networks: the first social media
The sending of the first emails in 1971 and the creation in 1979 of Usenet, an online community of users that allowed opinions and news to be exchanged between computers around the world, could be considered the germ of the 2.0 universe as we currently understand it.
However, we will have to wait until 1989, with the development of the network, web or www (world wide web), by Sir Tim Berners Lee, and its popularization during the 90s, to find examples that can be considered media. social networks themselves, understanding them as online platforms that allow real user interaction.
In 1994 Geocities was born, a service that allowed you to create and host web pages for free and that had a chat system, newsletter and forums. A year later, The Globe appeared, a community of users who could publish content on the network and interact with others with similar interests. Both platforms are considered two of the first social media.
For its part, the first instant messaging program, AOL Instant Messenger, was born in 1997 and just a year later the first blogging platforms appeared, including Blogger, an independent company that Google – which was also created in 1998 – ended up acquiring in 2002.
The first social networks
The first social networks as such did not emerge until the popularization, at the beginning of the 21st century, of web 2.0, whose main foundation was to give users the possibility of creating and publishing their own online content. This led to the creation of tools that allowed interaction between Internet users, exchanging opinions, sending comments and even following each other, maintaining continuous contact over time.
There were, however, some precedents. In 1995 it was launched in the United States Classmates.coma very basic social network that allowed you to find old classmates from kindergarten, school, university and even from the army.
Two years later, in 1997, he was also born SixDegrees.com, a website where users could create a personal profile and make lists of friends. Its name refers to the “Theory of six degrees of separation”, enunciated by the Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy in 1930. According to him, any person was connected to any other person in the world through a chain of contacts that did not exceed the five intermediaries. Thanks to the Internet and social media, today that number has been reduced to zero.
In 1998 it was created in Great Britain Friends Reunitedan imitation of Classmates.com that enjoyed great popularity, but it was in 2002 when a Canadian programmer, Jonathan Abrams, gave birth to Friendster, the first social network considered as such. It was the first online platform whose objective was to connect real-life friends on the Internet. This approach marked a before and after in the history of social media: other social networks that arrived a few months later, and that enjoyed even more popularity, emerged as a copy of Friendster. Among others, MySpace and Facebook, without going any further.
Historical evolution of social networks
At the beginning of the 21st century there were already more than seventy million computers connected to the Internet around the world, a whole army of machines ready to allow users to share content and interact with each other. The following timeline allows us to review how, year after year, the brief history of social networks has been written:
2002. Friendster is born, considered the first social network as we understand it today.
2003. In August, MySpace appears, developed as a copy of the previous one by Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson. On the other hand, Reid Hoffman created LinkedIn, the first professional social network in history and which, currently, is the oldest platform of those we use regularly.
2004. Mark Zuckerberg creates Facebook at the beginning of February from his dorm room at Harvard. Also the year of creation of Bebo, Flickr and Orkut, the first social network promoted by Google.
2005. In April, YouTube was born, founded by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim as a platform designed so that users can share their videos with other Internet users.
2006. Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams and Biz Stone create Twitter, the first microblogging network. Google takes over YouTube for $1.65 billion. Meanwhile, in Spain Tuenti is born.
2007. A hashtag is used for the first time on Twitter, to which a competitor emerges that year: Tumblr. In addition, Facebook launches fan pages and the first advertising services for companies, and also launches the version of the social network in Spanish.
2009. Jan Koum creates the first instant messaging service, WhatsApp. Foursquare, the first social app based on geolocation, is also launched.
2010. Google creates its first attempt at a social network, Google Buzz. For his part, in October, Kevin Systrom creates Instagram together with Mike Kryeger. Meanwhile, in Spain Telefónica buys Tuenti for 70 million euros.
2011. Google+ is launched in June. That year, Evan Spiegel launches Snapchat.
2012. Vine, a social app for creating 6-second videos, is launched and the social dating app Tinder is also born. Facebook buys Instagram.
2013. Telegram, the main alternative to WhatsApp, is created.
2014. Facebook acquires WhatsApp for 19 billion dollars and Tuenti ceases to be a social network as such to become a virtual mobile operator. On the other hand, Google closes Orkut permanently.