Hottest News on Social Media

If You Ever Wondered How Social Networking Began – Please Read This!

Beginning of Social MediaSocial media sites seem to have taken the world over recently. Can you imagine what we used to do before they existed? We probably went out a bit more and socialized in person instead of via our computers. There are good and bad things associated with the way we attach importance to this way of communicating. But it looks as if social media will be around for a while yet despite the misgivings. Here we look at how on earth it began and why it became so popular!

The Pioneers Of Social Media

If you can imagine a time when social media did not exist, then you need to begin this journey in nineteen seventy nine. Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis conceived an idea that led to the development of something called ‘Usernets’. Essentially, these were sites on a dedicated network that allowed users to post articles. They were split into separate groups depending on the topic that the users were interested in. These became known as ‘newsgroups’.

Bulletin Board Systems

These came into existence about the same time as the newsgroups/usernet systems. They were hosted on personal computers and the users had to access this system by using a modem connection. Bulletin boards were fairly restrictive as they only allowed a single user to access the system at a time. Soon a network of bulletin boards existed and users could usually find one that suited their interests. There was also a non-legitimate group of underground bulletin boards that catered for the more sleazy interests held by the public.

Online Services

Online services started to develop in the mid to late nineteen eighties and they were the start of big business’s involvement in this interest. CompuServe and Prodigy began to make the way we communicated to each other over the web a more professional affair. Of course they charged users for the courtesy and soon it became apparent that a lot of money could be made this way.

Instant Messaging

beginning of sm-2

ICQ was a system that was developed in the nineteen nineties and was the first instant messaging system that was available on all home computers. It was the first system that saw ‘textspeak’ develop as the users embraced this new culture. Soon terms like ‘Lol’ and ‘Brb’ were to become an everyday way of communicating.

Dating Sites

The more romantic and adventurous of us out there soon helped to make dating sites and important part of the social network culture. This is where social profiles with photos and personal information came onto the scene for the first time.


Forums were very important in the development of social networking sites. They were a more sophisticated version of the bulletin boards and offered a more user friendly experience.


Fast forward to two thousand and four, Facebook began as a Harvard university social network. It started to expand to other schools and universities and soon took its place as the number one social networking site. Facebook is still free for users but what will happen when it decides to start charging its many millions of followers?

Featured images: 1, 2 .

John Miller heads the web development division of A specialist in web designing he started of his career 10 years back and has become one of the foremost developers in the firm. He keeps a keen tab on the latest developments in the field of technology and writes frequently about it on his blog.

Posted in Social Networking. Tags: ,

One Reply

  1. The term “social networking sites” also appears in public discourse, and the two terms are often used interchangeably. We chose not to employ the term “networking” for two reasons: emphasis and scope. “Networking” emphasizes relationship initiation, often between strangers. While networking is possible on these sites, it is not the primary practice on many of them, nor is it what differentiates them from other forms of computer-mediated communication

Leave a Reply