10 years ago, ‘social media’ was not a buzzword, Facebook was just a baby, there wasn’t ‘an app for that’ and most of these other websites didn’t even exist yet. I’m going to take you on the journey through the years of evolving social sites so you can see just how far we’ve come. Written by Juliet Rocco
Every few years, a new social platform is discovered and continues to alter the social landscape. In this list, I’ve comprised some of the most popular websites used at the peak of their popularity. Some of you may have even adopted these accounts before they became mainstream. It’s time to go back in time. Are you ready?
1. The Beginning: It all started out so innocent, possibly with a Xanga account in the early ‘00s where you could ‘blog’ about 7 Minutes in Heaven, drama with friends and other silly middle school things. Your account could be set to private or you could follow all of your friends, but everyone had weird usernames. Mine was DEVils_QuEEn91 or something like that. Internet security and online predators were fresh topics at this time, so parents were skeptical about letting their kids do anything besides homework and playing pinball on the computer.
2. AOL Instant Messenger: AIM was the first place teens and tweens had a place to chat besides their home phones. You could post a customized “status” a.k.a. an Away Message and be passive aggressive towards someone or complain about how much homework you had to do. If you were a girl, your screen name probably had lots of x’s in it. It was a great place to gossip or talk to your crush, and you probably got into an argument with SmarterChild at some point too. Chat rooms were scary, I stayed away from those.
3. Finding Friends on Friendster. I didn’t have one of these accounts, but it was similar to MySpace, which everyone quickly moved to once Friendster was deemed uncool and Myspace was the fun new place to go to by early 2004.
4. Ah yes, Myspace. Some guy named Tom was your first friend, greeting you with that memorable friendly grin. You could see how many people viewed your profile or specific photos. Also, the falling hearts HTML code and music choices were crucial for your homepage. You knew how to work your most attractive poses in photos (which were mainly bathroom mirror shots and an occasional duckface). Eventually, people started using Myspace less and less, getting bored of it.
5. YouTube: This was the next obsession by early 2007. You didn’t know it at the time, but this was to become one of the greatest procrastination websites of all time. “I’m just gonna watch this one music video”…and 10 videos later you’re watching a panda sneeze and laughing hysterically. Justin Bieber was just a kid from Canada, uploading videos of his singing and playing for family members. YouTube didn’t have advertisements playing before videos at this time either, which is something I miss.
One of the first YouTube videos I remember seeing was Potter Puppet Pals
6. ‘THE’ FACEBOOK happened! You started poking people, writing “like” or “love” in a status because there wasn’t a Like button yet. Facebook was actually limited to college students for some time before hitting the high school scene. I was one of the last ones to join in on all of the fun by Summer 2008. Parents caught on soon after, but for the most part people were okay with having their parents be friends with them, thanks to privacy settings.
7. Tweet Tweet: By 2009, Twitter became the hot new social site. Twitter was different, a new microblogging platform where people could tweet in rapid fire during sporting events, TV shows or rant about their day-to-day lives. Being limited to 140 characters or less in a tweet made you choose your words very carefully. The hashtag took on an entirely new meaning and people definitely overused it (and still do).
8. Tumblr & Pinterest 2011: I’m putting these two together because they work in a similar way. Tumblr was always the hipster kid of the social platforms. If you want to repost lots of photos and create dream boards, then Pinterest is for you. I was never a huge fan, but they have continued to grow and maintain a strong following.
9. Instagram was next: Finally, a place where everyone could upload photos of what they were eating or drinking with some cool filters mixed in! If you love sunsets and long walks on the beach, Instagram is probably the best place for you. This is currently the most popular social networking tool amongst teens. The ‘selfie’ was also born and is now an official word in the English dictionary. Look it up…
10. Vine and Instagram video: By 2013, these two became the latest and greatest tools for short videos and speedy sharing. Amazing Vines and VineLoop are really fun accounts to follow.
11. I wanted to save this one for last: LinkedIn is the only social account that you probably don’t use on a regular basis, but you really should! It’s actually how I ended up getting my new job, by being contacted by a recruiter. If you’re not on LinkedIn and you’re in college or have graduated, you need to create a strong LinkedIn profile! Get started here: http://mashable.com/2013/11/17/linkedin-tips-2/
12. So what’s next? BuzzFeed and Thought Catalog are great examples of new leaders in the social atmosphere, where users like you and I can contribute blog posts to be chosen and promoted on their websites. These two are tailored for twenty-somethings. Blogging has always been popular, but BuzzFeed and Thought Catalog put a refreshing twist on creating content that has incredible reach and sharing capabilities.