Saturday, 28 August 2010

The Evolution of Social Networking

From the very beginnings of social networking ten years ago in 1999 to the present day popularity, it is obvious that some shift in usage occurred at some point. Sites such as Twitter and Facebook have become cultural icons and have increased internet communications across the board. Facebook and Myspace have been two of the longest lasting fads in the internet world, and have truly made a name for themselves as a lasting presence for social networking, paving the way for sites such as Twitter and any new sites to come. However, they were not the original social networking sites either, with the original formation of such “blogging” sites beginning well before 2000.

Blogs and email are the originators of this new trend of social networking, with sites such as Xanga and Livejournal paving the way to the more common blogs of today through mediums such as WordPress. However, these original blogs were meant to be an online journal wherein many people just posted stories about their days or their feelings; the blogs of today are intended for a wider array of audience members and cover a vast number of topics such as organic foods or leadership skills in the workplace. No longer are blogs confined to these early methods of emotional release, but are instead intended to help people pick out what is a healthy meal. This transformation has seemed to happen overnight, as blogs have picked up popularity and have infiltrated into mainstream media.
Friendster was the next social networking site to emerge which truly changed our concept of what being a social networking site entailed. This was a site through which you could connect with old acquaintances over the internet and meet new ones, providing an online safe haven for users. However, this type of site did not gain popularity until the creation of Myspace and Facebook a few years later, in 2003. These sites were the true originators that defined what social networking is today. Gone are the days of phone calls and email updates, and instead we have become addicted to the constant updates on Facebook’s newsfeed of all our “friends’” activities as well as the photos that are updated daily. This transition took a few years to get a hold onto the social spectrum, but has now become the sole way many of us now communicate to old high school friends or the like. Facebook was originally intended for use only by Ivy League schools as its creator was a Harvard student, but changed that by 2006, when anyone with an email address could join the site.
Myspace has been another major phenomenon in social networking that paved the way for Facebook’s popularity. Myspace allowed for blog updates, pictures, and friend posts, all the while maintaining connections through different cities and states. Facebook overtook Myspace in terms of popularity after it became available to everyone, and has since reigned as the number one site in terms of users. These major sites have led to the current trend of Twitter; almost every celebrity and news/political forum “Twitters” now, adding to the newest social networking site’s popularity. This internet evolution has become one of the most significant modern trends since it has affected the way in which we do business and communicate with peers.

ref. Kimberly Peterson


  1. I, personally, like being all inter-connected but, it does make it difficult to just disconnect sometimes. I have to go camping out where there is no cell signal if i want to break away.

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  4. Nice article. Everything evolves, not just social networking :P

    the Evolution theory is truely one of the most beautiful things every discovered by man.

  5. very interesting write up!

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