Timeline of social media

Last updated

This page is a timeline of social media . Major launches, milestones, and other major events are included.



1970s–1980sThe PLATO system (developed at the University of Illinois and subsequently commercially marketed by Control Data Corporation) offers early forms of social media with Notes, PLATO's message-forum application; TERM-talk, its instant-messaging feature; Talkomatic, perhaps the first online chat room; News Report, a crowd-sourced online newspaper, and blog; and Access Lists, enabling the owner of a notes file or other application to limit access to a certain set of users, for example, only friends, classmates, or co-workers. Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis conceived the idea of Usenet in 1979 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University, and it was established in 1980.
1980s–1990sAs operating systems with a graphical user interface, such as Windows and Mac OS, begin to emerge and gain popularity, this creates an environment that allows for early social media platforms to thrive and exist.

Bulletin board systems (BBS) and Internet Relay Chat (IRC) were popular during this time period, and IRC is still widely used today. [1] [2] The WELL, established in 1985, is one of the oldest still-operating online communities. Its name is an acronym for "Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link, coined by Stewart Brand, creator of the Whole Earth Catalog.

1990s–2000sVarious notable social media platforms such as Myspace and Facebook are developed and released, and blogging begins to gain popularity. Instant messaging platforms such as AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) and Windows Live Messenger also become increasingly popular. [3] Wikipedia is launched in 2001.
2010sMany social media platforms that have remained are now thriving, and new ones are appearing sporadically. This includes popular blogs, instant messaging servers, and various social networking platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Twitter. [4]

With advances in smartphone technology, almost all social media services now have their own mobile apps. [5]


YearEvent typeDescription
1973Invention Talkomatic is created by Dave Woolley and Douglas Brown at the University of Illinois, as a multi-user chat room application. It is an instant sensation among users in the PLATO System's online community.
1973InventionTERM-Talk is created by the staff at the Computer-based Education Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois, as an instant-messaging application enabling any two users on the PLATO system to conduct a live, character-by-character typed conversation on the bottom of the screen of their PLTO terminals. Soon many features would be added to it including "Monitor Mode," enabling one user in the TERM-talk to share their own screen with the other user, to ask questions or point out something that they're seeing. Years later this concept would be introduced as "Screen Sharing" or Remote Desktop Software.
1973InventionPLATO Notes is created by 17-year-old student Dave Woolley at the Computer-based Education Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois, as a conferencing and bulletin board forum system for communicating with the user community. In 1976, Notes expanded to enable any user to create a "notesfile" on any subject. PLATO Notes would serve as the inspiration for Lotus Notes developed by former PLATO users Ray Ozzie, Len Kawell, and Tim Halvorsen.
1974Invention ARPANET evolved into the Internet following the publication of the first Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) specification, RFC   675 (Specification of Internet Transmission Control Program), written by Vint Cerf, Yogen Dalal and Carl Sunshine. [6]
circa 1980Milestone Bulletin Board System (BBS) emerges as one of the earliest known forms of social media, and remains popular and under development until the late 1990s. [7]
1984Invention FidoNet forms as BBSs start to exchange email in North America and later internationally.
1988InventionIRC rises from the roots of BBS (and was initially intended to extend it), offering a similar service and experience. [8] [9] It has remained in use to this day.
1995Launch Classmates.com, originally launched as a list of school affiliations, is launched in December 1995. The site, founded by Randy Conrads, later incorporated features to help former and current classmates find and contact each other online. [10]
1996LaunchThe Swedish social networking website LunarStorm, originally called Stajlplejs, is launched in 1996. The site, founded by Rickard Eriksson, was renamed LunarStorm in 2000 and has been described as "the world's first social media on the Internet" by the founder. [11]
1996Launch ICQ is released by Israeli company Mirabilis. [12]
1996Launch Bolt.com was started as the first social networking and video website.[ citation needed ]
1997Launch, MilestoneSocial networking website SixDegrees.com is created. [13]
1998Launch Open Diary launches the first social blogging network, inventing the reader comment and friends-only content. [14]
1997LaunchAOL Instant Messenger is released. [12]
1998AcquisitionICQ is acquired by AOL, and the service is patented. [15]
1999AcquisitionSixDegrees.com is purchased by YouthStream Media Networks for $125 million. [16]
1999Launch Yahoo! Messenger instant messaging service launches. [12]
1999Launch MSN Messenger (also known as Windows Live Messenger), a messaging, video and voice calling service, launches. [12]
1999Launch LiveJournal, an early blogging platform and social network launches.
2000Launch Habbo, a game-based social networking site, launches.
2000LaunchFriends Reunited exploiting a gap in the UK market following the success of US website Classmates.com
2001DefunctionSixDegrees.com shuts down. [7]
2001Launch, Invention Windows Messenger is released, and is shipped with Windows XP. This is an integrated version of MSN Messenger.
2002LaunchSocial networking and gaming site Friendster launches. The service would be popular in Asia and the Pacific Islands. [17]
2003LaunchBusiness-oriented social networking service LinkedIn launches. [18]
2003LaunchSocial networking website Hi5 launches. [4]
2003LaunchThe business-oriented social networking website, XING, launches. [19]
2003Launch 4chan, an english-language imageboard, launches. [20]
2003LaunchMyspace launches.[ citation needed ]
2003Launch Skype, an instant messaging and video/voice calling service (VoIP), launches. [21]
2004Launch, Milestone Facebook, the most popular social networking service to-date, launches. [22]
2004Launch Flickr, an image and video hosting website, launches. [23]
2004Launch Orkut, a social networking website owned by Google, launches. [24]
2004Launch Tagged, a social discovery website, launches. [4]
2005Launch Bebo, a social networking website, launches. [25]
2005Launch YouTube, a video-sharing website, launches. [26] [27] [28] [29]
2005Acquisition Myspace is acquired by News Corporation for $580 million. [30]
2005Launch Qzone, a Chinese social networking website, launches. [31]
2005Launch Reddit, an American social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion website, launches. [32]
2005Launch Renren, a Chinese social networking website, launches. [33]
2005Acquisition Yahoo! acquires Flickr. [34]
2005LaunchFacebook launches its photos feature with no restrictions on storage (but without the ability to tag friends). [35]
2006Launch Twitter launches. [36]
2006Launch VK (VKontakte), a Russian-based social networking service that resembles Facebook, launches. [37]
2006LaunchFacebook launches News Feed. The original news feed is an algorithmically generated and constantly refreshing summary of updates about the activities of one's friends. [38]
2006LaunchNasza Klasa launches, later rebranded NK.pl peaking in popularity by 2009, becoming the biggest social media in Poland and the 4th most-visited website in the country. [39]
2007Launch Tumblr, a microblogging and social networking website, launches. [40]
2007Launch FriendFeed, a real-time social media feed aggregator, launches.[ citation needed ]
2007Launch Justin.tv, a live-streaming that allowed anyone to broadcast video online, launches. [41]
2008AcquisitionAOL buys Bebo for $850 million. [30]
2009AcquisitionFriendFeed is acquired by Facebook for $15 million in cash, and $32.5 million in stock. [42]
2009Launch Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblogging website, launches. [43]
2010Launch Pinterest, a photo-sharing website, launches. [44]
2010AcquisitionAOL sells ICQ to Mail.Ru (formerly known as Digital Sky Technologies) for $185 million. [45]
2010AcquisitionBebo is sold by AOL to Criterion Capital Partners. [46]
2010Launch Instagram, a photo/video sharing and social media service, launches. [47]
2010Launch Path, a social networking-enabled photo sharing and messaging service for mobile devices, launches. [48]
2010Launch Quora, a question-and-answer platform, launches. [49]
2011Launch Snapchat, a photo/video sharing and social media service, launches. [50]
2011Acquisition Microsoft acquires Skype Technologies for $8.5 billion. [51]
2011Launch Google+, a social networking service, launches. [52]
2011Launch Keek, a video-sharing and social media service, launches. [53]
2011AcquisitionMyspace is sold to Specific Media by News Corp. for $35 million. [54]
2011LaunchLinkedIn files for an IPO and trades its first shares under the NYSE symbol "LNKD", at $45 per share. [55]
2011Launch Twitch, a live-streaming service, launches. This service is a spin-off from Justin.tv, as it is more focused on broadcasting users playing video games. [56]
2011LaunchTwitter overhauls its website to feature the "Fly" design, which the service says is easier for new users to follow and promotes advertising. In addition to the Home tab, the Connect and Discover tabs are introduced along with a redesigned profile and timeline of Tweets. [57]
2012Launch, MilestoneFacebook goes public, negotiating a share price of $38 apiece, valuing the company at $104 billion, the largest valuation to date for a newly listed public company. [58]
2012LaunchSnapchat launches video sharing, allowing users to share 10-second videos. [59]
2012Launch Tinder, a dating-oriented social networking service, launches. [60]
2012AcquisitionFacebook acquires Instagram for $1 billion in cash and stock. [61]
2013Launch, Acquisition Vine, a video-sharing and social media service, launches shortly after being acquired by Twitter for $30 million. [62] [63]
2013LaunchTwitter files for its IPO, and begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The share closed at $44.90, giving the company a valuation of around $31 billion. [64]
2013LaunchInstagram launches video sharing. [65]
2013Acquisition Tumblr is purchased by Yahoo! Inc. for $1.1 billion. [66]
2013Launch Slack, an instant messaging service designed for internal use by organizations and professionals, launches. [67]
2013Launch Yik Yak, a social media app for local discussion, is launched. [68]
2013Launch 8chan, a decentralized English-language imageboard, is launched by Fredrick Brennan. [69]
2013Launch Patreon, a crowdfunding site that would later become a subscription service for content creators on social media sites, is launched.
2013AcquisitionBebo is purchased from Criterion Capitol Partners for $1 million by Bebo's founders. [70]
2013LaunchInstant messaging and video/voice calling service Google Hangouts launches. [71]
2013Launch Telegram, launches service for exchange messages, share media, files, live location, hold private and group voice or video calls, as well public livestreams.
2013Launch *Myspace re-launches, coming out with a re-designed website, and a mobile app. [72]
2014DefunctionJustin.tv shuts downs to focus work on Twitch. [73]
2014Launch Musical.ly, a lip-syncing app, launches. [74]
2014LaunchSnapchat launches collaborative timelines based on events. [75] [76]
2014Acquisition Amazon acquires Twitch for $970 million. [77]
2014DefunctionOrkut is shut down by Google. [78]
2015Defunction, MilestoneFriendster shuts down due to "the evolving landscape in our challenging industry" and lack of engagement by the online community. [79]
2015Launch, Acquisition Periscope, a live video sharing app, launches shortly after being acquired by Twitter. [80]
2015Launch *Bebo re-launches as a messaging app for iOS and Android. [81] [82]
2015Launch Beme, a short video-sharing app, launches. The creators are Casey Neistat and Matt Hackett. [83]
2015Launch Discord, a free instant messaging and video/voice calling service (VoIP) designed for the gaming community, launches. [84]
2015Launch Meerkat, an application similar to Periscope, launches. [85]
2016Launch Triller, a video editing app, is converted into a social networking service by allowing users to follow each other and share their videos publicly. [86]
2016AcquisitionMicrosoft acquires LinkedIn for $26.2 billion on 8 December 2016. [87] [88]
2016Acquisition Time Inc. buys Myspace and its parent company. [89]
2016Defunction, MilestoneYahoo! discontinues its services for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Solaris clients in early August 2016. It will now only support Yahoo! Messenger on Android, iOS, and web clients. [90]
2016DefunctionVine announced that Twitter would be discontinuing the Vine mobile app, later renamed to "Vine Camera". [91]
2016Acquisition CNN acquires Beme, with the terms of acquisition remaining undisclosed. [92]
2016Launch Mastodon, a free and open-source software for self-hosting interlinking social networking services, is launched.
2017Launch Gab, an alt-tech microblogging site, [93] is launched publicly on May 8, 2017. [94]
2017Acquisition ByteDance acquires Musical.ly for $1 billion. [95]
2017Launch Pillowfort, a microblogging and social networking service, is launched, and is billed as an alternative to Tumblr. [96]
2017DefunctionYik Yak is shut down following a rapid decline in users, accusations of rampant bullying, and the app's banning from some schools. [97]
2017MilestoneSnapchat files for its IPO, and begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The share closed at $24.48, giving the company a valuation of around $33 billion. [98]
2017Launch TikTok, a short video-sharing and social media service, launches. [99]
2017Launch Co–Star, an astrological social networking service, launches. [100]
2017Milestone Tumblr announces a complete ban on adult content after Apple Inc. removes Tumblr from its App Store. The move triggers a massive drop in online traffic for Tumblr. [101]
2017Defunction AIM is discontinued as a service.
2017DefunctionBeme shuts down on January 31, following its acquisition by CNN in 2016. [102] [92]
2018DefunctionYahoo! Messenger shuts down on July 17, 2018. [103]
2018DefunctionMusical.ly shuts down and migrates its users to TikTok. [74]
2018DefunctionPath announces the termination of its service on September 17, 2018. [104] Its closure takes place nearly a month later, on October 18, 2018. [104]
2018Launch Parler launches, billing itself as an unbiased and free speech alternative to larger social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook.[ citation needed ]
2019DefunctionGoogle+ shuts down in April 2019 due to low user engagement and an API flaw. [105] [106] [107]
2019AcquisitionVerizon Media announces it will sell Tumblr to Automattic, owner of WordPress.com and backer of WordPress for less than $3 million. [108]
2020Launch Clubhouse, an audio-chat social networking app, launches. [109]
2020Launch BeReal, a social media application that emphasizes authenticity, launches. [110]
2021Launch Gettr, an alt-tech social media platform aimed at conservatives, is launched by Jason Miller, a former aide to U.S. President Donald Trump. [111]
2021Defunction NK.pl was shut down on 27 July ending a near-15 year history of once the most popular social media in Poland. Arrival of Facebook to the Polish market being cited as one of the reasons for the departure of users and eventual closure. [39]
2021Launch Truth Social, an alt-tech social media platform, is launched by former U.S. President Donald Trump. [112]
2022Launch *Yik Yak relaunches on the App Store. [113]
2022Acquisition Twitter is acquired and taken private by businessman Elon Musk in a $44 billion deal. [114]
2023Launch Nostr
2023Milestone Poast DMs hacked [115]
2023Milestone 2023 Reddit API controversy
2023Launch Threads, a platform that uses a user's Instagram account to create an account in a format similar to Twitter, is launched by Meta. More than 30 million accounts were made in the first 24 hours of the platform's existence.[ citation needed ]

(*) Such launches are not initial launches, but rather relaunches.

See also

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