A Timeline of Social Networks

No matter where you are, you can easily find someone snapping a selfie or updating their status. Social media takes someone like me from California and allows me to see what my friends and family are doing in other parts of the world. It’s safe to say that the majority of society is immersed in social media and it’s so interesting to see how far social networks have come over the past 15+ years.

But what is a social network?  It’s basically all the people you interact with and form relationships with. In the sense I’m writing about, a social network can be defined as a “dedicated website or other application that enables users to communicate with each other by posting information, comments, messages, images, etc.” We have so many different apps that allow us to interact with those we want to interact with.

The first social media website I remember was AsianAvenue, a website for the Asian American Community. According to Wiki, it was launched in 1997. I was 8. I don’t think I was on AsianAvenue until I was in middle school. Keep in mind I was between 10-13 years old and I was talking to people who went to my school and to people who lived in other states. It’s so weird to think how I was so open with people online, but now I get creeped out. Hell, I’m not even open with the people I do know now.

Then there was Friendster. It was founded in 2002. I was 13 years old and per the terms of service, I was not old enough to be on this website. I don’t really remember much about it, to be honest, but I feel like a lot of Asian countries used this website. Basically, a lot of my family in the Philippines were on it. It was a means of keeping in touch with them.

MySpace came a year later in 2003 and it became what most millennials remember as their first social network . All of us remember that Tom was our first friend. Again, per terms of service I technically wasn’t old enough to use MySpace, but we all know ya’ll lied about the year you were born just to be on this website. We were able to customize our profile page and learned HTML skills. We were able to add music based on our mood of the day and share photos and videos. And when I mention photos, I’d like to think it was the start of the #Selfie. Then came the infamous Top 8+ and end of friendships. It was serious business. Closer to the end of my MySpace life, I didn’t put any friends in my Top 8, only brands and/or “influential” people.

I’m pretty sure I was on MySpace until at least my Freshmen year in college (2007-2008). I remember posting blogs/recaps and whatnot when The Hills was airing on MTV. MySpace started to die at the time and a new social network was starting to emerge. I know you know exactly what I’m referring to.

Facebook, the book full of familiar [and not so familiar] faces, launched in 2004. It was the social network for college kids. Again, I was a teenager and I wasn’t old enough. Now for this website, I think I actually waited until I was of age. We didn’t (and still don’t) have control over customizing our profile, but I think it was the first to successfully launch “statuses”. We were able to say everything we were doing and feeling. Now, we can post pictures, chat, share cute doggy videos, advertise business and so much more to all our friends around the world.

I’d like to think Facebook paved the way for Twitter and Instagram. I mean, Twitter is strictly the status portion of Facebook that limits you to 140 characters. That means you could show off your creativity and wittiness. Whereas, Instagram became a separate photo service for photo lovers all around the world.

Personally, I love Instagram because it allows you to sort of brand yourself through photos. I love Twitter, because I feel like I can communicate with my favorite personalities and actors/actresses. It allows me to have a parasocial relationship. Yes, I’m awkward. I don’t go on Facebook much, but I like to keep it to see what everyone I know is up to.

A Twitter user once said, “Facebook is the people you went to high school with. Twitter is the people you wish you went to high school with.” It makes me laugh every time, but it definitely holds true sometimes most of the time.

What is your social network chronology?



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