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Social Media “From then to Now”

First, there was the telephone, then the fax machine, and then social media — a revolutionary way of communicating. Since its creation, people have been able to connect with each other like never before. 

Friends and family can connect at any moment, and marketers have been able to reach consumers in an entirely new fashion. In fact, people use social media for an average of 144 minutes every single day. Because of its impact on society over the years, Social Media Day was born on June 30, and it has continued to grow in popularity ever since.

World Social Media Day was launched by Mashable on June 30, 2010. It was born as a way to recognize social media’s impact on global communication and to bring the world together to celebrate it.

 Everyone uses social media every day; it’s how we connect with people all over the world in a simple and fast way. Mashable is known to use social media to connect various cultures, movements, and fandoms, which is why they wanted a day to celebrate it. People use the hashtag, #SMDay every year, and this year is your time to get involved!

The first social media platform ever to be launched was Sixdegrees in 1997. Founded by Andrew Weinreich, the website allowed users to list friends and family members and had features such as profiles, bulletin boards, and school affiliations. At its peak, Sixdegrees had over a million users but it was eventually shut down in 2001.

The first modern social media platform was Friendster in 2002. The website allowed people to safely make new friends and has over a hundred million users, most of whom are in Asia. LinkedIn, the first business-focused social media platform was launched in 2003. MySpace launched in 2004, the same year as Facebook, but initially, it saw much greater success than Mark Zuckerberg’s creation. By 2006 MySpace was the largest social media platform in the world, with users loving the customized profiles that also enabled them to post their music.

YouTube launched its website dedicated to video in 2005 and Twitter followed with its limited characters platform in 2006. As both grew in popularity, so did Facebook, and the most popular social media platforms for the next five years were being established.

Instagram launched in 2010 and saw rapid growth, gaining over a million users within the first couple of months. With Instagram challenging their dominance, Facebook purchased the platform for $1 billion in 2012. Facebook also purchased the encrypted messaging platform WhatsApp for $16 billion in 2014.

 One platform that Facebook failed to buy was Snapchat. Snapchat, which became popular due to its disappearing stories feature, was launched in 2011 and reportedly turned down a $3 billion offer from Facebook in 2013. 

The most recent addition to the list of social media heavyweights is TikTok. The app was launched in 2016 and has become incredibly popular due to its extensive music and video editing features.

As social media has evolved and grown in popularity, so has the scrutiny that the platforms come under. With controversies surrounding their use of data, hate speech, impact on mental health, election results, and fake news, the platforms are under more pressure than ever to be transparent with what goes on behind the scenes.

Social media has become a way to instantly connect, often with friends and family, but also with complete strangers. It has become a huge source of news, shopping, and general entertainment. Social media day is for us to enjoy the positives that these platforms have brought into our lives, and maybe like or share a photo or two.

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