Social networking has been with us in some form since 1969, when the first Internet dial up connection was introduced. Since then, we have become addicted to online media, and as a result, everyone from the common man to the highest official in the US Government is online in some form.
That initial dial up connection would have a great life until the 80's, when it would whittle down and get ready to fade away. Dial up did finally die in the 90's, with only a few households left using the service.
The first email was sent and received in 1971, and the excitement was akin to the first phone call. A bulletin board system came in 1978, where Internet users could leave messages to each other. In 1979, the University of North Carolina and Duke University connected to each other with this bulletin board system.
Dial up companies began to open with AOL premiering in 1985. The World Wide Web was being created in Switzerland in 1989. An online college opened in 1992, and the World Wide Web was released upon the world in 1993.
There were more than 1,500 servers by 1994, and this new wealth of information was nicknamed the Information Superhighway. Yahoo also came onto the scene this year.
Blogging made its appearance in 1997. Sixdegrees.com was created, allowing users to have profiles and list their friends. AOL Messenger was ablaze with users while Blackboard enabled students and teachers online communication.
Google joined the party in 1998, while the first classmate site, Friends Reunited, came in 1999. The .com bust happened in 2000, but this didn't stop the social media engine. Wikipedia was introduced in 2001 and Apple grabbed the world with iPods. Friendster came along in 2002, grabbing 3 million users in 3 months. The popularity of social media was evident. MySpace followed in 2003.
LinkedIn and Second Life also appeared in 2003. Apple introduced the world to iTunes; Facebook soon followed in 2004. It was focused on college students. Podcasting got big in 2004, and Flickr and Digg appeared on the social media scene.
Bebo and YouTube came along in 2005. Twitter landed on a wire in 2006 while Facebook expanded their audience to anyone over 13. MySpace was ruling the scene with the most members for the year, but would only hold the crown until 2008, when it was beat out by Facebook.
We were introduced to the smartphone in 2007. Bebo lost members severely in 2008 and nearly fell off the social media map. Bing was created in 2009, when a quarter of the Earth was online in some form.
Apple released the iPad in 2010, the same year Google introduced Buzz.
Google stepped up to the plate with its social platform Buzz in 2010. Apple released the iPad tablet the same year. The Internet passed all other sources for news, including newspapers and television stations.
By 2011, ecommerce was growing, as was social media. Both were available everywhere due to mobile devices. Bebo and Myspace were restructured to try to keep up with the more successful sites.
Over the next two years, the social media wars settled down with Facebook coming out on top. YouTube pushed the one billion monthly visitors mark and businesses began to take notice. Social media advertising took off and sites such as Pinterest and Google+ continued to grow.
Social media is so popular that it will not dwindle in the coming decade. It will, in fact, begin to look more like television as advertisers realize the power of using these avenues for their messages. Nearly all aspects of business, from customer service to accounting, will have something to do with social media sites.