Social media has evolved a great deal over the last decade. It's been fueled by technological advances and our human impulse to connect with others. With the rise of mobile apps and smartphones, we can now stay in touch with our friends and family on the go. And businesses have seen the power of social media to market their products.
In the beginning, social media was just a way to communicate with friends and family. We could post personal messages on Facebook and Myspace, and share photos and videos on Twitter. But in 2010, we started to see the birth of more niche platforms.
For instance, YouTube, launched in 2005, became a hot trend and quickly shifted its focus to video content. TikTok, a short video app launched in September 2016, has already hit 1 billion downloads. The platform has become popular among teenagers and influencers, and a recent survey revealed that 80% of users spend a significant amount of time on the app.
One of the early social networking sites was SixDegrees, founded in 1997 by Andrew Weinreich. The site, which adopted a social-circles network model, let users upload profiles and bulletin boards. They could also send and receive messages with people in their first and second degrees.
Friendster, which launched in 2003, incorporated background music, profile shout-outs, and customizable background images. When the site was new, it had three million active users. However, Myspace came on the scene and was the most popular website in 2006.
Blogging, which had been popular for years, began to take off in the late 1990s, and by the turn of the millennium, a new flurry of social networking websites had emerged. Some of the earliest of these sites were Friendster, MySpace, and LiveJournal. These sites allowed users to post and interact on topics such as politics, entertainment, sports, and news.
Another early social media site was Twitter, which was launched in 2006. Users can post messages, photos, and video clips, and follow celebrities and other users. Although it isn't the first social networking site to enter the marketplace, it was one of the most successful. By the end of the 2000s, Facebook had eclipsed MySpace, becoming the world's largest website.
Google+ was another attempt to enter the social media sphere. However, after a data security breach, the company shut down its service.
As with most technology, the evolution of social media has come largely from the desire for communication. This is why it has remained as popular as it is today. Whether it's staying connected with distant family members or landing a new job, humans have long sought to connect with those they care about.