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The History of Social Media Infographic

Amber Harty - SEO, Social and Content Marketing Executive at Supersonic Playground Ltd

By Amber Harty on

Supersonic Playground Ltd

The beginning of social media is a widely-discussed topic. Where exactly did it all begin? Take a look at our infographic outlining the highlights of social media and web chats.

We date our first recognised social platform back to 1973!


Talkomatic – 1973

Talkomatic is a multi-user chat room. Created in 1973, it was the world’s first online chat system and was re-released in 2014 for web. It is distinguished from most online chat facilities in that each participant appears in their own section of the screen, and messages are broadcast letter-by-letter as they are typed.

BBS – 1980

The Bulletin Board System (BBS), allowed users to upload and download software, data, news, bulletins and exchange message with others through email, direct message and public message boards. BBS is still fairly common in some parts of the world.

IRC – 1988

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) consisted of users communicating through chat servers to send messages to other users. Designed for group communication, it also allowed private messages, and the capability of transferring data.

ICQ – 1996

ICQ was first developed in 1996, as an open source instant messenger program. The program would register users with a unique number which people could contact them with. ICQ is still around today! – 1997

Six Degrees was the first social network website, allowing users to ‘connect’ with family and friends, exchange messages and post items to people in their network. Six Degrees was shut down in 2001.

AOL IM – 1997

AOL IM (AIM) is an instant messenger which was popular in the late 1990’s and early 2000s. The service is still active, but the development of the app is no longer supported. – 1997

In 1997, the domain was first registered. This is such a huge part of today’s life, how could we not include the registration of the biggest search engine to the list!

Yahoo! Messenger – 1997

Yahoo! Messenger was first released in 1997 and is still used today limited to only a few software types, including iOS and Android.

MSN Messenger – 1999

MSN Messenger was the largest competitor for AIM and was discontinued in 2013.

Habbo – 2000

Habbo was a social network service aimed at teenagers. Allowing users to create a character, and take part in activities as their online character.

Windows Messenger – 2001

In 2001, MSN became Windows Messenger, and was discontinued in 2013.

Friendster – 2002

Friendster was a social gaming website based in Kuala Lumpur.  It was also used for dating and discovering new events, bands and hobbies, and was closed down in 2015.

LinkedIn – 2002

LinkedIn is a social networking site aimed at the business community, and has nearly 500 million members across 200 countries. The site allows members to build their network digitally with business contacts they already know or who they may potentially do business with in the future.

XING – 2003

XING launched as a competitor for LinkedIn, and offers personal profiles, groups, discussion forums, event coordination, and other common social community features and is popular in Germany.

MySpace – 2003

MySpace is still an active networking site offering interactive personal profiles.

Skype – 2003

Skype is a large consumer focused Instant Messaging app, allowing users to message and video chat. Skype for business was launched in 2015, replacing Lync and combining features from the Consumer software.

Facebook – 2004

Facebook is the largest social network and has nearly 2 billion active users and is available in 37 languages!

Flickr – 2004

Flickr provides an image and video sharing service. With 122 million registered users and over 10 billion images held on the site, it is still very much a helpful and reliable photo sharing service.

Orkut – 2004

Orkut is a networking site owned by Google, providing users the ability to meet new and old friends. Named after its creator, a Google employee called Orkut. Commonly used in India and Brazil.

Tagged – 2004

Tagged allows users to browse other members’ profiles, share tags and send virtual gifts.

BeBo – 2005

BeBo first launched as a networking site, and was extremely popular, boasting 10.7 million unique users at its peak. It is now relaunching as a social app creator.

YouTube – 2005

YouTube is the largest video sharing network site and has become a recognised search engine.  It was purchased by Google for $1.65 billion in November 2006, just 1.5 years after its launch.

Twitter – 2006

Twitter is a microblogging site and still one of the largest social platforms with 313 million monthly active users. With a 140-character count for posts, it keeps things short and simple.

Tumblr – 2007

Tumblr allows users to post multimedia content in a microblog form.

FourSquare – 2009

FourSquare was created as a local search & discovery platform, where users could ‘check-in’ to a place and leave reviews.

Pinterest – 2010

Pinterest allows users to share &/or save images onto personalised boards, to create digital mood boards. This service is commonly used to plan occasions and collect inspiration.

Instagram – 2010

Instagram is one of the largest photo and video sharing platform used today. Since its release, Instagram has upgraded, offering users the option to share ‘stories,’ interact with each other via messages, and follow certain trends and interests via hashtags.

Quora – 2010

Quora was created as a question and answer style website. Helping users get answers to questions asked online and launched a blogging platform to accompany the site in 2013.

Snapchat – 2011

Snapchat is one of the largest platforms today, and allows users to send images and videos that ‘self-destruct’ in anywhere between 1 to 10 seconds. Snapchat has grown from a simple short image clip, to allowing stories, and companies to feature on their ‘discover’ section.

Google+ – 2011

Google+ is a Google owned platform in which users create ‘circles’ that allows users to put people in specific groupings or lists. Google+ had a redesign in 2015 to attract more to the users.

Tinder – 2012

Tinder is a mobile dating app in which users ‘swipe’ to match, turning dating into a game. Tinder became popular quickly, and let users match before a conversation could be had, with an estimated 50 million users

Vine – 2013

Vine was a short-lived video sharing network, which allowed users to share videos up to 6-second long. Developed on the idea that users lose focus and interest after a short period of time. The app was bought by Twitter in 2012, before its initial release. Twitter announced in 2016 the app would be discontinued.

Google Hangouts – 2013

Google Hangouts is a communications platform developed by Google to provide users with video chat features and instant messenger. It created an easy access video chat for businesses and is used for online meetings.

Periscope – 2015

Periscope is a live streaming app for mobile that was acquired by Twitter prior to release. The app is still active, and allows users to share their stream on Twitter, and choose whether the videos shared are private or public.

Meerkat – 2015

Meerkat was a short-lived competitor of Periscope, a video live-streaming app, allowing users to connect to Facebook and Twitter to share their videos with their connections. Meerkat was shut down in October 2016.


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