The Changing Spaces of Reading and Writing

History of Social Technologies

Given that we are adding our favourite web 2.0/social media experiences, I thought that I’d provide a very brief history of social media:

Social Technologies have become a staple part of today’s digital world. Millions of people make social connections online through various websites like Facebook, Twitter and Flickr to name just a few. The popularity of such sites have seen incredible growth over the last few years, but when did this trend start? What follows is a brief history of social networking on the Internet.

1980’s :

Compuserve, which was around since the 1970s, evolved into a network that would allow members to share files. Discussion forums began to emerge as a result.

Another network called BBS (Bulletin Board System) allowed users to communicate using a modem over telephone lines. Long distance charges would apply so many Bulletin Boards were strictly local.


AOL (America Online) was in its heyday with member-created communities and searchable profiles. became very popular as people tried to use the Internet to reconnect.


Friendster is launched. This site allowed members so see the connections that they knew they had and discover connections that they did not realize they had in common with others.

LinkedIn, a networking resource aimed mostly at professionals and businesspeople, is created.

MySpace becomes a huge hit mostly in the US. Its key demographic is the under 30 crowd.

Facebook quickly grows into the world’s largest online social networking site.

Twitter is launched and catches on quickly for those who can’t seem to get enough minutiae. Where and what social networks will evolve into is anybody’s guess.


1 Ashley Jones { 11.25.09 at 8:09 pm }

Great post! Thanks Ed!

2 Stuart Edgar { 11.30.09 at 12:53 pm }

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