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The Evolution of Social Networks

Let’s remember that the internet only came to be in 1983. Nineteen fucking eighty three!! Are you kidding me!? So, let’s take a look at our society’s evolution into the internet-centered world we know today through the expansion of social networks. Yes you got that right, time to rehash your old myspace profile and embarrassing entrance into social media.

SixDegrees (1997)

Firstly, SixDegrees was the first social networking site to hit the internet, Founded in 1997, users could set up a profile, send messages, and make connections. The platform had nearly one million users and was ultimately bought out for $125 million in 2000.

Hot or Not (2000)

Secondly, we have Hot or Not. The existence of this platform is baffling. Users would upload photos of themselves to be rated by strangers on their attractiveness.

Friendster (2002)

Following, Friendster was very popular for its time with an original intent of being a dating site. Users could message people, update their status, and declare their mood on their private profiles.

MySpace (2003)

Finally, I know you couldn’t wait for this. Used by teens everywhere in the early 2000s, MySpace was an iconic social network. It allowed for public profiles—unlike Friendster. Furthermore, MySpace inspired many social media apps used today and at one point was the 5th most popular site in the U.S. in 2005.

LinkedIn (2003)

With the idea to connect a global workforce, founders Reid Hoffman, Allen Blue, Konstantin Guericke, Jean-Luc Valliant, and Eric Ly created LinkedIn in Hoffman’s basement in 2002 before launching in 2003. The app is still very common in the workforce and helps provide effective resources to network with the ease of a connect button.

Facebook (2004)

Social Networks

Still standing as one of the largest apps of active users, Facebook has definitely made its mark on the world of social media and shaped the internet we live with today. And as the story goes, Facebook was originally started to connect Harvard college students.

YouTube (2005)

Youtube was launched by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim who were three former PayPal employees. Karim was actually the first YouTuber to ever upload a video. To clarify, the video was 18-seconds long that showed Karim at the zoo. It has over 90 million views.

Reddit (2005)

Subsequently came Reddit. The site was founded by two roommates from the University of Virginia. It’s known for its social discussion, web content rating, and new livestream feature. Basically there is a niche for everything and everyone on Reddit. By 2006, the site was acquired by media conglomerate Condé Nast. From there, it became an independent subsidiary of Condé Nast’s parent company in 2011.

Twitter (2006)


Now incredulous for its flock of memes, hilarious commentary, and often news distribution, Twitter’s microblogging is still one of the most used apps of today—nevertheless being 15 years old.

Tumblr (2007)

Most known for its 2014 emo-teen references and aesthetics, Tumblr was first launched as a blogging platform to share pictures, videos, links, and writing.

Grindr (2009)

Whether you’re looking for hook ups or for relationship, the queer, bi, and trans community has made Grindr the world’s largest queer app on the market.

Instagram (2010)

Notorious for portraying picture perfect lives and an incredible resource to stalk exes, Instagram is now a part of many users’ daily lives. Originally named Burbn, Instagram now creates jobs, connects people internationally, and is one of the most used photo-sharing apps to date.

Pinterest (2010)


Founded by Ben Silbermann, Paul Sciarra, and Evan Sharp, Pinterest was created to assist the discovery of images across the internet and inspire businesses and everyday users with content ranging from recipes, designs, advice, style, and more.

Snapchat (2011)

Meant for sharing temporary photos and messages, Snapchat is notorious for constantly adding new features like filters, stories, news, and more.

Phhhoto (2014)

Meant to share and capture a sequence of looping photos, Phhoto shut down only a few years after it’s launch when Instagram released Boomerang’s and Phhhoto lost momentum at 10 million users. 

Periscope (2015)

This live streaming app differed from other video sharing apps at the time by actively engaging the viewers in real time. It was eventually acquired by Twitter.

TikTok (2016)

TikTok’s popularity has been on a steady incline especially this past year and served as much needed entertainment during lockdown. The platform now has approximately 1.1 billion users and is growing as of February 2021.

Clubhouse (2020)

Finally, we are up to date with Clubhouse. This audio only app has been picking up speed and continue to make headlines. Learn more here.

It will be interesting as we continue to follow the timeline and see what new social networks hit the scene.

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