The History of Social Networking

A brief look at the history and rise of social networks.

The internet has given us the ability to connect with people from around the globe with a fews clicks of a button, making it easier than ever to keep in touch with our friends and family. Because of that, social networking is the biggest industry of our time, but it wasn’t always that way.

The Early Years

Social networking began in 1978 with the Bulletin Board System (or BBS.) The BBS was hosted on personal computers, requiring that users dial in through the modem of the host computer, exchanging information over phone lines with other users. This was the first system that allowed users to sign in and interact with each other, although it was quite slow since only one user could be logged in at a time.

Later in the year, the very first copies of web browsers were distributed using the bulletin board Usenet. Usenet was created by Jim Ellis and Tom Truscott, and it allowed users to post news articles or posts, which were referred to as “news”. The difference between Usenet and other BBS and forums was that it didn’t have a dedicated administrator or central server. There are modern forums that use the same idea as Usenet today, including Yahoo! Groups and Google Groups.

The first version of instant messaging came about in 1988 with Internet Relay Chat (IRC). IRC was Unix-based, limiting access to most people. It was used for link and file sharing, and generally keeping in touch with one another.

The Birth of Social Networking As We Know It

Geocities was among the first social networking sites on the internet, launching its website in 1994. Its intent was to allow users to create their own websites, dividing them into “cities” based on the website’s content. In 1995, was launched, offering users the ability to interact with people who held the same interests and publish their own content.

Two years later, in 1997, AOL Instant Messenger and were launched. This was the year instant messaging became popular and it was the first time internet users were able to create a profile and friend each other.

The New Millennium Brings the World Closer

Friendster was the pioneer of social networking. In it’s first three months, the social networking website acquired 3 million users, amounting to 1 in 126 internet users being members at the time. Friendster served as the launching point for the widely popular MySpace, who cloned Friendster and launched after just 10 days of coding.

In the following years, other social networking websites like, LinkedIn and started to pop up, including what was to be the most popular social networking website in internet history. was launched in 2004 with the intent to connect U.S. college students, starting with Harvard College. In it’s first month, over half of the 19,500 students signed up. After gaining popularity, Facebook opened it’s registration to non-college students, and in 2008, Facebook surpassed MySpace as the leading social networking website.

Social networking has come a long way since 1978, and we will all witness its evolution for years to come, forever changing the way people connect with one another.

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Author: Miles Walker

Miles Walker blogs about where to get the best car insurance quote over at CarInsuranceComparison.Org. He recently looked at the best options for Idaho car insurance.

This entry was posted on Monday, August 15th, 2011 at 10:41 pm and modified by WebMaster View on Saturday, March 22nd, 2014 at 2:55 pm. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

Comments : 2

  1. This is a very interesting article,please can i get more information on the definition and history of social networking?

    Adepelu joke

    1. We define social network sites as web-based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system. The nature and nomenclature of these connections may vary from site to site.

      ahmad malik

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