The Evolution of Social Media, A Timeline

Social media, which has blown up into an enormous internet sub-culture in the past decade, is defined as interactive dialogue between multiple people, usually through technological means. Though many think of modern-day media tools such as Twitter and YouTube when thinking of social media, mass communication has taken place since the 1800’s.

See how the methods and mediums of social media have changed over time:

1846 The first commercial telegraph line is built between Washington, D.C. & New York City by the Magnetic Telegraph Company (founded by Samuel F.B. Morse). This is the first electronic network for communication.
1850’s-1950’s People seeking partners for marriage run “personals” in the newspapers. Not unlike Craigslist today, the newspaper provided the public with opportunities to communicate with strangers.
1920 Radio becomes commercial.
1960’s Radio DJ’s begin taking phone calls from listeners, who give “shout-outs”, dedications to special people in their lives that are broadcast to everyone listening.
1969 Compuserve, the first major commercial internet provider in the U.S., is found.
1971 The first email is sent.
1978 The first online “bulletin board” is created by two Chicago computer hobbyists to make announcements and share information.
1993 WWW technology is introduced to the world by CERN, and the first web browser, Mosaic, is born.
1997 The web grows to 1,000,000 sites. Blogging begins. AOL Instant Messenger opens, and the instant messaging phenomenon begins.
1998 Google opens as a major Internet search engine.
1999 Friends United, the first online social network platform, is found in Great Britain. Friends United allows users to re-connect with old classmates.
2002 Friendster opens and gains 3 million users in three months.
2003 Myspace is launched. LinkedIn is launched.
2004 Facebook is started for students at Harvard College. Podcasting begins. Flickr opens.
2005 Facebook launches a version for high school students. YouTube launches.
2006 Twitter launches. Facebook expands its membership to anyone over age 13. Google is now receiving more than 400 million queries a day.
2007 Apple releases the iPhone, allowing social media to be portable.
2009 A Twitter user beats journalists to broadcasting a hard news story about a plane crash on the Hudson River through a tweet: “There’s a plane in the Hudson. I’m on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy.”Google now contains one trillion unique URL’s.
2010 Apple releases the iPad. The internet becomes the primary medium for Americans to receive news.
2011 There are now over 550 million people on Facebook, 65 million tweets sent on Twitter daily, and 2 billion video views everyday on Youtube. Google+ launches.
2012 TheLoop, a brand new social network platform, launches.

Where will mass communication take us next? Social media has proven to be an unpredictable force–TheLoop is staying tuned.


Author: Patricia Pham, TheLoop Global Marketing Team

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2 thoughts on “The Evolution of Social Media, A Timeline

  1. So detailed, love it, keep up the good work!

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