In recent years, social networks have become a fundamental part of modern society. They have become a great way to stay connected with old friends and family, post pictures and videos, and meet new people. But how did it all begin? It wasn’t always a huge part of our lives as it is 15 years ago. So how and when did it begin, and why is it so important?

We begin way back in 1979, with Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis, 2 graduate students, and good friends, from Duke University. They created one of the first social networks, Usenet. This social network Usenet, a communication system on the Internet, enabled people to post articles and others ideas to newsgroups. Let’s fast foward about 9 years. The idea of IRC (Internet Reply Chat) was developed by Jarkko Oikarinen in 1988. It was designed for group chats, however; one can use private chat for one-on-one conversations.  An Israeli company called Mirabilis in the mid-90 later developed ICQ. It soon came to America and became a popular instant messaging website.

In the late 90’s, another social network website was conceived. Andrew Weinreich launched in 1997. Registered users were allowed to send messages and post items to a bulletin board. Similar to Facebook, only immediate and mutual friends could see their posts. Although this website only lasted until 2001, it was the gateway social network for MySpace, LinkedIn, and even Facebook.

In 2003, MySpace was created however; it became popular 3 years later, in 2006. What makes MySpace different from other social networks is that it allows the user to customize their profile. It also introduced instant messaging within the site as well as a personal blog for every user. Most recently, MySpace has offered a news-feed, which is a means of real-time statues updates. LinkedIn was also created in 2003. What makes this standout form other sites is that it is mainly geared towards the business world. It allows users to upload their resume as well as design a profile. Employers can put out job ads and opportunities. In addition, groups may be created according to company or business. Co-workers also have the option to send friend requests to each other.

If you have seen the social network, you know all about the development of Facebook, however, if you have not, then you may not have known that Facebook started as a Harvard-only social network in 2004. Mark Zuckerberg quickly helped to expand this network to other schools and eventually, the world. It is an easy way to stay connected, post videos and pictures, as well as your personal status.  Users can also comment on their friends’ activities or photos. Through Facebook, one can have one-on-one chats, or even video chats.

Jack Dorsey founded twitter in 2006, however; it gained popularity in 2007. It allows people to post real-time status updates and post pictures. You can follow your friends, family, and even celebrities. Twitter messages are called tweets, and only allow u to 140 characters, making them fairly short and sweet, and easy to read. About a year after Twitter was created, David Karp introduced Tumblr. It is a site where users can post pictures, video, audio and links. It is, in simplest terms, a blog.  One of the greatest things about Tumblr is that it can be anonymous. You post whatever you want and people will only know you by your tumblr URL name.