People of all ages are downloading, creating profiles, and sharing their lives with the world in ways large and small. The creation of new social media platforms takes place regularly, but it’s the platforms that have stuck around that may have the biggest impact on the history of social media and how it has evolved. Humans have always had a natural inclination to connect with others, but how has this consistent sharing of our lives changed our connection with others? Here we will take a look at the history of social media that gets us to where we are today, and why the quality of the content you share with the world matters.
The beginning of social media starts in the education field with the creation of the PLATO system that worked to assist educators and allow them to share across information this platform. This was developed in 1973, and is the original online chat as it opened the doors to larger chat programs. In the ‘80s, Compuserve took center stage in the business world as it served as the platform for people in the industry to share documents and news with other people that were on the network. This led to the use of message boards, which are still common today. E-mails also helped expand the communication between others, as they finally were able to send messages digitally without even having to know the other person.
This form of communication on chat rooms and forums went into the ‘90s when the popular AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) came to fruition. AIM allowed users to have a screen name, chat individually with others, post on chat rooms, and even have a personal biography known as a “profile”. If a user was going away from their computer, they could set an “away message” to alert others trying to contact them. This created a sense of having to share with the world what you were doing at all times. This perhaps “over-sharing” of information spiraled into other social media platforms as the years went on.
Online sites for social networking with others included SixDegrees, Classmates and Friendster, which aimed to help connect people via the Internet. Here you could find and communicate with friends old and new and share details of your life they wouldn’t have known without social media. This led seamlessly into the development of Myspace and Facebook. Myspace has since lived out its day, but Facebook is still around presently. Myspace created a unique social ranking of “Top 8” where you could choose and change your top 8 friends. Facebook created a “newsfeed” which resembles reading a newspaper of things your friends and family are doing and is updated and refreshed with the click of a button. We became connected with one another in extremely personal ways, sharing photos of new babies, sharing heartbreak from ending relationships, and everything in between.
Other common social media platforms that fluctuated in popularity overtime include tumblr, pinterest, instagram, twitter and vine.
Each has a specific “niche” of what you are sharing. With twitter, you share 140 characters of words. With instagram, you share only photos and videos. With vine, you share 6-second videos. Each found its unique market and gained popularity. Today, instagram and Twitter remain popular amongst other platforms such as Facebook. We share so much of our lives on social media today that its extremely important to keep what we share true to ourselves or our businesses. Those who want to remain involved usually do social media posts regularly, but what matters is also the quality.
You want your profile, on whatever platform, to be a valid representation of who you are as a person or company. As social media has evolved overtime, now is more important than ever to share what makes you different amongst the crowd.