How Old Is Social Media? History of Social Media

history of social media

Our generation is full of people who are addicted to social media. Overtime social media has become an integral part of our life. And as social media can’t exist without the internet so it isn’t hard to calculate that social media is younger than 30 years. We spend a lot of our time scrolling through social media, chatting, and watching funny cat & dog videos but have you ever wondered about the history of social media? As mentioned above, social media can’t be older than 30 years but it is much much younger than that.

It wasn’t till the late 1990s that social media came into existence and it took around 2005 for it to become as famous as it today. The biggest reason for social media to turn into such a sensation is the growth of smartphones. With the rise of smartphones, one can access the internet from anywhere they want, the best part is that all your favorite social media applications are now just a few clicks away.

Let’s learn what is social media and how social media changed the world forever. Nowadays there is no limit to social media applications out there but not all of them become as famous as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. For example, MySpace was one of the best things out there but soon it died out due to the launch of Facebook. Let’s go over the complete History of Social Media.

What Is Social Media?

Social media is a type of communication within a group. But the definition of Social media is evolving day by day and the form of communication over social media is changing every day. While all of us know a platform is social media just by looking at it but there is no complete definition of what social media actually is. 

If we are to give a perfect definition of what is Social media then it would be something like this. “Social media is an online tool designed to create networks and community where any kind of information like Ideas, Photos, Videos, etc can be shared.”

The Invention of Social Media

Most of the people nowadays believe that social media came into existence after Facebook. But the truth is Facebook is the biggest reason why social media is so famous. There is a huge social media site list but they died down as the users shifted to other social media platforms.

As a matter of fact, social media was officially born in 1997 but the base of social media goes as far as the early 1990s with the launch of the Blogosphere. That was the start of people going on the internet and posting what they want and sharing it with people all around the globe. The best part is that you can share and receive feedback without accessing a third-party platform.

Social Media Sites List

The history of social media goes through a lot of steps including all the Social media sites without Facebook. There were a lot of platforms before Facebook but by the end of the 2000s, Facebook emerged as the king of social media without a doubt, and to date Facebook hols that position. Let’s go over all the biggest social media platforms that were available to users around the world.

Six Degrees – 1997

While it was blogging that gave birth to the concept of social media, it wasn’t until 1997, users got to access a proper social media platform. A site named Six Degrees allowed users to create their personal and unique profiles and they could communicate with users across the world who use the same platform. To communicate with someone, users had to “Add” their profile, which is similar to Facebook’s friending someone idea.

The site became quite popular after it’s initial launch and it had over 3.5 Million users worldwide at its peak of popularity. In 1999 it was bought by Youthstream Media and by 2001 it was shut down. The reason for it’s shut down was one of the most major reason for the shut down of most social media. Social media had to be free to users, so to make profits, Social media platforms have to run ads but these advertisements can interfere with the user experience.

Friendster – 2002

In 2002, just a year after Six Degrees was shut down, Friendster was launched. In a lot of ways, it was similar to Six Degrees, users have to make a profile and add friends to interact with other users. However, it took social media one step ahead of Six degrees as users could share photos, videos, and messages to a lot of people.

These new features made Friendster a lot more popular than Six Degrees. It gained over 3 million users in just over 3 million users just after a few months of launch. In 2008, it surpassed the 100 million user mark and that was a pretty big deal in the industry of social media.

Friendster also faced the challenges that Six Degrees faced and it came out on top but not for a long time. The platform was in use till 2011 but it was shut down in 2015 but Friendster made a huge impact on how social media changed the world.

LinkedIn – 2002

It may surprise you but the next Social media scene was LinkedIn. It was launched in December 2002 and the site focused on helping professionals all around the world build a profile for themselves. Surprisingly enough, LinkedIn remains relevant to date and it still serves its original purpose.

The number of users for LinkedIn grows continuously even with the growth of several social media sites. To be accurate, LinkedIn has experienced a 1,262 percent increase in the number of users in the past ten years.

MySpace – 2002

Those who don’t think that Facebook was the first Social media Platform in the industry believe MySpace was the first platform. There were indeed a lot of social media platforms before MySpace but the truth is that MySpace completely changed the game. 

It was officially launched in 2002, and by 2005 it had around 20 million unique visitors to the site every month. In that same year, Rupert Murdoch’s company, NewsCorp bought the site for $580 million. Over the years, MySpace continued to gain popularity and by 2008 it had over 80 million unique visitors monthly and it was valued at $12 billion. 

At that time it was the #1 visited website In the world and according to Alexa rating it is ranked in the 4000s today. MySpace made it extremely easy to share photos, videos, and all sorts of media over the platform and it garnered its population because of the students that entered schools at the time internet was getting more and more famous. 

At the beginning of 2004, MySpace started to lose followers and visitors because of the fact that it had to compete with Facebook. Facebook was recently launched and it became one of the most used sites in the world. In 2007, MySpace was on its peak and it had 300 million users, and in the same year, it was sold in 2011 for just $25 million. Unlike most old social media platforms, it still exists today but not a lot of people use it.

Facebook – 2004

By the year 2004, Social Media had become incredibly famous. When Mark Zuckerberg and his friends gave birth to “The Facebook”, Social media became a crucial part of everyone’s life. Initially, it was only available to those with an “” email address. Facebook quickly expanded to the rest of the IVY league and finally became public in 2006 to all those over the age of 13.

Once it became popular, there was no stopping Facebook’s growth. Soon it took over MySpace as the most visited site in the world and is currently ranked number 3 just behind Google and YouTube. In 2012, the organization went public at a value of $104 Billion. It continues to be one of the most profitable companies in the world. 

If you compare the growth of Facebook with old years to recent years, then you will see that the growth has been slow. However, it still remains one of the most used social media platforms in the world.

Instagram – 2010

Instagram is one of the late addition in the Social Media industry as it was launched in 2010. This platform specializes in photos and video posts only and it allowed users to post photos in a square only. Instagram was launched with the sole interest in sharing beautiful ad artsy photos with friends.

Instagram became a sudden sensation and it reached 1 million users in just a few months. Nowadays there are over 1 billion regular users on Instagram. In just 2 years, Facebook bought Instagram for around $1 Billion. Today the market value for Instagram is $100 billion.

Snapchat – 2011

Another great social media platform came into existence in 2011. It is popular among teenagers and It offers a unique method of communication. Users can send a photo with a message and it will disappear in just seconds. It also has a 24-hour story option that allows users to put up stories that stay live for 24 hours.

The site has increased its users up to 5 times in just 5 years and it was valued at $31 billion during its first offer of purchase. However, in recent years the numbers have taken a tumble and the company is struggling to make a profit.


The history of social media is surely interesting and in just 22 years social media has changed drastically. Earlier it used to be just a mode of communication but now it has turned into an integral part of our lives. It has brought users together from all around the world. Recently a lot of people are using social media for marketing their products and services. So social media marketing is one another feature that is using by people these days. But some people raised concerns about their privacy on these social media platforms. However, it is simple to see how social media changed the world.

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