The Real Start Of Social Media

A Decade Of Social Media

Where Did It All Start

You can see that the timeline above has lots of different companies and services that play an important role in the development of social media over the last decade but there are some of the companies that appear more than normal and are highly social and have shaped a whole new generation on the web. We wanted to look at some of those companies here in more detail and look at the very start of their journey and see how they started out…


We now all use Facebook as a matter of course and share our photos by the billions, upload videos and play games but right back at the start it was actually called The Facebook when first launched at Harvard by Mark Zuckerberg as a tool for students to connect with each other. As it increased in popularity it was expanded to other colleges within the Boston area followed by colleges nationwide and eventually to anybody over 13. The site continued to grow and this year has seen it adopted by the masses all over the world and it is fast approaching a user base of 400 Million with 650,000 people joining Facebook every single day of the week. When you think of social media Facebook is the main service that springs to mind and with the introduction of it’s Facebook connect platform you can expect it to grow and become a bigger part of our life for the next decade.


In the image: Facebook first login screen


Youtube is a massive site at the moment that has billions of videos but like all sites it had to start somewhere and way back in April 2005 (seems like it has been around much longer than that doesn’t it) this was the very first video that ever graced the site.



in the image: Digg original screen

As you can see from the screen grab Digg looked very different when it launched in late 2004 to what it looks like now. The site was founded by Kevin Rose who acts like a poster boy of social media and the popular weekly video show Diggnation is a round up of all the best stories from Digg and watched by nearly half a million people. There have been persistent rumors of a sale with the latest talks with Google breaking down at the due diligence stage after a $200 deal had apparently been agreed. Digg has taken on nearly $30 million of additional funding recently and is focusing on becoming profitable and will continue to be a great source of user generated new content.



In the image: Flickr Original Website

Flickr started off life as a chat room style site in 2004 where users could initially share photos they found on the web and it developed in to a service where users uploaded their own photos and them embed them in to their websites or blogs. It was quickly acquired by Yahoo in 2005 as they clearly saw the massive potential of the service and today it hosts over 4 billion images and has a strong community element. Users now upload and tag photos from all over the world and premium paid accounts let you use the service in a variety of increased ways. Flickr is also becoming more and more powerful as an image search engine as tagging is a strong element of the site and the public can use most of the photos under a creative commons license as long as they are attributed back to the person who uploaded the image.



In the image: Twitter At Launch

We all use Twitter on a range of mobile clients and 3rd party apps now but at the very start it was one simple website and as you can see from the photo it looked fairly rubbish and nobody could have possibly guessed that it would go on in a couple of years to where it is today. The project was initially developed as a side line but quickly become the main service that Odeo (the company who founded it) when they realized it’s mass potential. Over the first couple of years of the service’s existence it was used by a mostly technology user base but this year has seen it adopted by the mainstream and embraced as everything from a news breaking tool to a customer service tool by major brands.

Fisher, Lauren. A Decade Of Social Media" simplyzesty (2011)