The Brief History of Social Media Before Elon Musk Ruined it

Any idea how long after the birth of the World Wide Web in 1991 it took to come up with the first social media site? And for extra points, what was it?

Any idea how long after the birth of the World Wide Web in 1991 it took to come up with the first social media site? And for extra points, what was it? 

Times up! The answer? A wapping six years – and in 1997, Six Degrees was established.

Six Degrees was the first internet platform where you signed up with your email, created a profile, and added your friends to your network. It had around 1 million subscribers, but sadly, only three short years after its inception, people began to lose interest.

Next up – Am I Hot or Not? (Yeah, I don’t remember it either.) Here, people submitted their photos to the site for others to vote on if they believed they were, in fact, hot or not! However disturbing that may sound, it is rumored that this site was the inspiration for YouTube and Facebook.

In 2002, Friendster entered the scene, originally meant as a dating site to connect with friends of friends. Friendster improved upon Six Degrees by offering photo and video sharing. You could even leave comments on people’s profiles if they were in your network.

Then comes the social media turning point of Myspace in 2003 and Facebook soon after. 

In 2006, Myspace was the most viewed website in history; however, Facebook was lurking around the corner and, by 2008, had overtaken Myspace’s popularity and sent it to the social media graveyard.

YouTube was quick to follow in 2005, with its laughing babies and cute animal videos. This was the only platform that allowed you to create and share media.

Twttr – or as we know it now – Twitter, changed the game. What started as people posting about what they were doing, eating, etc., became the hottest gossip/socially significant social media site to date. 

Then entered, Elon Musk into the Twitter boardroom. You know, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX. He was going to buy the social media platform, then not, then after a lawsuit, reluctantly bought it. He came in guns blazing - introducing the paid platform Twitter Blue, allowing any user to pay a small fee to get a blue ‘verified’ check mark on their account. Of course, people took advantage of this, and comical fake accounts were soon set up and verified. Lots of fake tweets and news were soon to follow.

We can’t forget Instagram! This platform was a game changer for visual communication. Instagram collected all the popular features from other social media sites and really became an all-in-one platform. 

Oh, and TicToc. But maybe that one is better left for another day.

Whatever will come up next? What will rival or replace Twitter or Instagram? Do you have any big ideas for the future of social media?