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The History of Social Media

Social media is everywhere.  Facebook posts make major announcements, news shows turn to Twitter for instantaneous feedback, and hundreds of millions of people check in to their favourite sites every day to see what their friends are up to.  If you see someone staring at their phone the chances are it’s an app hooked into a social network.  To think, twenty-odd years ago the term didn’t even exist and now it encompasses an enormous part of how we communicate.  It’s always important to understand history and how it leads to the world we live in today, and that’s especially true with something like social media.
The Early Years
The truth is social media existed before the term did.  It existed the first time one person communicated with more than one other person via computer.  It began on Bulletin Board Systems – kind of a proto-Reddit where modems would have to call into local numbers and users online would be limited by the number of phone lines.  This expanded to larger dial-up services like Compuserve and AOL.  As the web went broadband and expanded websites began to take up the mantle as the online place where you met and found friends.  Then in 2002 the first modern-incarnation of the social media site emerged – and it was called… Friendster.
The New Leaders
Friendster catered to exclusivity – instead of a free-for-all your profile was hidden to all but those who knew you and those that knew them.  It was followed quickly by LinkedIn (for business users) and MySpace which rocketed to popularity on the back of music and page customizability.  Facebook entered the scene in 2004 for Harvard students only but quickly spread across academia and eventually everywhere.  The reason for Facebook’s meteoric rise is still subject to some debate but it was far more user-friendly than MySpace and stayed online nearly 100% of the time (a chronic issue for Friendster).  In truth – it was just a better product than its competitors.  Another platform emerged and found some popularity in sharing personal thoughts with the world at large, but Twitter wasn’t yet ready to hit the mainstream.
The Emergence of Mobile
Twitter is an interesting case actually – it was always built with mobility in mind but since smartphones weren’t very common in 2006 it was done through SMS messaging.  When smartphones exploded after the introduction of the first iPhone Twitter was among the first to capitalize.  Mobile has completely changed the social media game since – spawning Instagram, Tinder, Snapchat, and the like.
Social media has transformed from a way to organize parties for college kids into a mainstream tool for communication.  That tool has transformed business in numerous ways.  No business can now afford to ignore social media as lack of a presence can often indicate a business that doesn’t understand how the world now operates.  Social media is also now one of the most cost-effective ways to market your business – making sure your product or service is advertised to the people most interested in buying it.
If you need a group with the expertise to guide your business through the ever-changing social media landscape contact ReferLinks FCM today.

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