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Evolution of social media

soniarpit profile image CodeSnail 🐌 ・4 min read

The term Social networking can be described in simple words as “web-based sites that allow people to interact with each other who share similar personal or career interests, activities, backgrounds, or real-life connections”.

Most people know Social Networking sites from twitter or Facebook. But Social Networking has a very long history. So, let’s dive deeper to know from where the idea of Social Networking comes.

Social Networking before 2000

Early social networking started in 1994, as Geocities. It was a web hosting service site. The users can store their webpages in “cities” which were assigned names after real cities or religion according to the content. For example, computer-related pages are stored in “Silionvalley”, entertainment-related pages stored in “Hollywood”.

Similar to Geocities, launched in 1995 offered services like blogging, photo album manager, site building apart from web hosting. In the same year, brought people to interact with each other via chatrooms. While the classroom took a different approach by simply having people link to each other via email addresses.

PlanetAll launched in 1996 was probably the first social networking site. It had more than 10,000 groups organized around academic institutions and employers. The service included calendaring and address book. It also worked with the user’s contact’s travel plans. The site would notify users when they cross paths with their contacts.


SixDegrees developed in 1997, was the first site to implement a web of contacts model. It allowed users to list friends and family members and also invite external contacts to join the site. SixDegrees was one of the first social networking sites of the general form that is in widespread use today.


In the late 1990s, user profiles became a central feature of social networking sites. Allowing users to compile lists of friends and search for other users with similar interests. One of them was The Open Diary launched in 1997.

Open Diary, an online diary has hosted more than five million diaries since it was founded. Including diaries from 77 different countries and all 7 continents. It had key features like the reader’s comments and friends – only privacy.

open diary

There were many more websites for social networking. Which are :

Website Year Features
Usenet 1980 Read and post messages to one or
more newsgroups
Prodigy 1984 News, weather, shopping, bulletin boards, games, polls, expert columns, banking, stocks, travel
LISTSREV 1986 Mailing service
(bulletin board service)
1990 Uploading and downloading data, reading news
and bulletins, sending messages via public
message board or direct chatting
(America Online)
1991 Web portal, e-mail, instant messaging
MIxi 1999 Send and receive messages, write a diary,
read and write comments on other’s diaries,
organize and join communities, invite friends
Makeoutclub 2000 User profile pages, image galleries, message boards,
blogs, private mail, private galleries, and “crush-lists” 

Social Networking after 2000 (change the world)

continue to read: History of social media

Discussion (1)

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maihar91 profile image

Yes, social media has made a significant leap in the last decade. I read this blog and understand that I need to study a lot on this topic. Social media have become a part of our society, so it's worth paying serious attention to them.