How Mobile Apps Fit Into Social Media
By Tom O'Rourke President & CEO, O'Rourke Hospitality | February 01, 2015
The beginnings of social media are up for debate. Most people see it as Mark Zuckerberg's creation in February of 2004 in his Harvard dorm room. But we can actually go all the way back to 1992, when Tripod launched an online community that helped connect college students and young adults. Fast-forward to 1997 and SixDegrees.com launched a site that let users create profiles and list their friends. A short 2 years later in 1999, Friends Reunited launched in Great Britain, with the goal of reuniting past schoolmates; it's remembered for being the first true social network to achieve some prominence.
But it was Friendster that perhaps really launched the social media frenzy in the U.S. Friendster launched in 2002 as a social networking website and grew to 3 million users in just 3 months. But the following year was a big one for social media as well. 2003 saw the launch of MySpace, referred to then as a clone of Friendster, and also LinkedIn (yes, LinkedIn started before Facebook!).
As you can see, things are really starting to pick up pace in the early 2000s. And in February of 2004, Facebook (referred to then as thefacebook) launched in Mark Zuckerberg's college dorm room. It was referred to at the time as "the college version of Friendster". 2004 also saw the introduction of podcasting (iTunes had launched a year earlier in 2003), Flickr and Digg.
By 2005, Facebook was expanding its reach to high school students; YouTube had launched and began storing videos. 2006 saw the introduction of Twitter, and MySpace was crowned as the most popular social networking site in the U.S., but that would soon change since Facebook opened its membership to anyone over the age of 13 the same year. In 2007, Facebook let third-parties develop apps for Facebook and introduced its Beacon advertising program, which made user purchasing activity available so advertisers could target users with ads on Facebook based on their purchasing activity; the service was shut down in 2009 after protests from online privacy advocates. It was the first true attempt at very targeted online ads, which will be discussed later.
Fast-forward a few years and social media has come a long way since Mark Zuckerberg and company first introduced Facebook to the Harvard campus in February 2004. There were a lot of developments that happened between 2009 and today, but the real social media story after 2009 is the rise in social media usage. It's undeniable that social media has become intertwined into many of our daily lives. In fact, 74% of online adults are using some type of social media and the U.S. has over 200 million social media users alone!
Social media is truely a broad term, but we have to remember that its ultimate goal is to connect people in one way or another through technology. This could be connecting with old friends or simply sharing your latest selfie. But the growth and usage of social media was hindered by the lack of mobility in technology. You would only be able to use Friendster when it first launched from your desktop computer for instance.
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