The Evolution of Social Media

Allen Taylor
15 min readJan 24, 2019

We live in an age of social media. According to Pew Research Center, approximately 60% of adults in advanced economies use social networking sites. In emerging economies, it’s 53%. But where did social media come from, and where is it going? That’s what I intend to discuss in today’s post.

Image from Pixabay.

In my last post, I discussed why I deleted my Google+ account. Privacy advocates have been emboldened as a result of last year’s negative impact of social media data usage by the top social websites including Facebook and Google. The news of such events as Cambridge Analytica is what led to Google announcing it would be shutting down Google+ in April of this year. But the rise of this data usage itself corresponds to the rise of social media itself along with the technology that allows for invasive corporate espionage. As I write this, I am aware of the emerging voices that remain hopeful of less spying and personal data breaches in social media going forward even as I remain aware that the technology that makes it happen continues to be improved upon. It makes one wonder, what is to become of the social media of tomorrow?

A Brief History of the Rise of Online Social Media

Most internet history buffs today would point to a website called Six Degrees as the first online social media website. Launched in 1997, users were able to create a profile and befriend other users. The site also allowed non-registered internet users to confirm friendships without joining the site.

Shortly after Six Degrees launched, blogging became a popular medium of expression and bloggers were able to interact with their readers on their blogs through threaded comments. Six Degrees breathed its final breath in 2000 in the wake of the dot-com bust. The web domain is still active, but it’s a virtual ghost town.

Popular free blog hosting website Blogger, now owned by Google, was launched in 1999 and helped to usher in the age of blogging as a social medium. Blogger itself allows users to interact with each other through their blog accounts and even allows for multi-user blogs, putting the “social” in social media. WordPress.com launched in 2005 to compete, but the downloadable blogging software had already been launched in 2003.

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Allen Taylor

Allen Taylor is chief content officer at https://tayloredcontent.com, an author and ghostwriter, and publisher at https://cruxpublications.com.