Social Networking Sites – A Brief History
Social networking is an online service focusing on reflecting and building of social networks or relations among people sharing same interests, activities or backgrounds. These services or sites allow the user to create a virtual representation or profile showcasing one’s likes, dislikes, interests, activities etc and also providing some additional services. Most of these services are internet based thus providing the users to interact with other fellow users easily. In 1994 the first social networking site was developed and the AOL messenger service was amongst the first popular instant messaging services evolved in 1997. These social networking sites have evolved and now have become extremely popular worldwide. Some of the popular networking sites are: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Friendster, Hi5, Orkut, Hyves etc.
A brief history of the evolution and popularization of social networking among the masses is summarized as follows:
Geocities was the first web-based social networking site developed in 1994. It allowed the users to create their own websites.
In 1995 THEGLOBE.COM emerged allowing users to publish their content and interact with the other users sharing similar interests.
It recorded an IPO of $850m but fell substantially to $4m in 3yrs.
In 1997 AOL INSTANT MESSENGER was launched which popularized the concept of instant messaging.
SIXDEGREES.COM was also launched in the same year which allowed users to create their individual profiles and listing friends.
Friendster was the real breakthrough in the field of social networking. Launched in 2002, Friendster was the pioneer of using the concept of online networking between real-world friends. The user base of Friendster grew to 3 million users.
Many other social networking sites like LINKEDIN, JAIKU, TRIBE.NET, CLASSMATES.COM etc were launched in the following years.
In 2004 FACEBOOK was launched at Harvard University as a way of connecting all the U.S. college students.
In 2006 Twitter was launched which has been a huge success with 300 million users presently.
In 2008 Facebook overtook MySpace to become the leader among the social networking sites. Presently Facebook has a user-base of more than 845 million!
These social networking sites are being developed ever since and have now exploded to become one of the biggest industries. These sites in order to remain at the top of social networking continuously add new features and applications to make it more user-friendly. Chatting and video calling has made it easier for the users to keep in contact with their friends. Sites like Facebook have added many games and applications thus attracting users making it a means of killing their free time. While Twitter, a micro-blogging site allows the users to constantly update their daily activities. Facebook, Twitter, MySpace etc are the sites currently dominating the field of social networking but it requires implementation of new concept to create the gravity around these sites else its user-base can fall drastically and their market share can dwindle in no time as it happened in case of Orkut. Nevertheless social networking sites have been a great boon in our lives helping people to remain connected.
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