Social networking sites started in 1995. Here’s how much that has changed.


Admit it, one of the first things you do when you wake up is probably scrolling through Facebook or LinkedIn.

Social media platforms have become essential for people to stay in touch with each other and for businesses to reach more people to sell their services and products.

While social media and networking platforms use various forms of media such as images, audio and visuals which has led to some confusion, there is a contrast between the two.

Unlike social media platforms which primarily serve as a communication channel for sharing ideas and information, social networking sites focus on building and maintaining relationships.

While humans are inherently social, networking sites began in the mid-90s. Here’s how social networking sites have evolved over the years.

1995 – in 1996. IMAGE: Geek Wire.

Classmates began in December 1995 and were a list of school affiliations in the United States

Founded by Randy Conrads, the platform featured features like user profiles and a friend list. However, following the sale of the company in 2004, the platform’s popularity plunged after many controversies related to it.

The investigation by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo was the nail in the coffin. The company was later renamed Memory Lane, an online nostalgia hub, before becoming a platform for people to reunite with their old high school friends.

1997 – Six Degrees.

Six Degrees is touted as the pioneer of social networking sites. IMAGE: stamp.

Often regarded as the platform that launched social networking sites, Six Degrees only survived until 2001 since its inception in 1997. This despite more than 3.5 million users at its peak.

The name of the platform was inspired by the concept of six degrees of separation invented by Hungarian author Frigyes Karinthy in 1929. It is a concept where we are only six people away from the people we know. The concept gained greater popularity after the American playwright included it in his play in 1990.

Six Degrees, created by Andrew Weinreich, allowed its users to send and receive messages and even had a bulletin board for users to post to their respective profiles.

Currently, the Six Degrees estate is still accessible.

2001 – Ryze.

Ryze is often considered the predecessor of LinkedIn. IMAGE: CBS News.

Long before LinkedIn was a thing, there was Ryze, a social networking platform for professionals launched by Adrian Scott in October 2001.

Ryze had features that allowed its users to create their profiles, add and delete contacts, and send messages to each other. While the platform claims to have over a million users worldwide, its popularity has never really caught on.

The platform is believed to have served as inspiration for Friendster founder Jonathan Abrams to create his own social networking platform.

2002 – Friendster.

Friendster in 2004. IMAGE: Internet Archive.

Some of you reading this have probably been on this platform. In its heyday, it was popular not only as a social networking website, but also as a blogging platform.

Founded on March 22, 2002 by Jonathan Abrams, the platform was renowned for allowing its users to personalize their profile pages. Friendster is often regarded as one of the original social networks because it allowed its users to download online content and media and share it with their friends. It was billed as a dating site at the time.

However, as the competition grew fierce with the advent of other social media platforms, Friendster was transformed into a gaming platform in June 2011. The pivot was strategic as it saw its user base grow. to over 115 million with 90 percent of the traffic coming from the Philippines. , Singapore and Malaysia.

However, as the social media landscape continued to evolve, Friendster decided to suspend its services in 2015 and ultimately closed its doors on June 30, 2018.

2002 – LinkedIn.

LinkedIn in 2003. IMAGE: Contentbuket.

Almost two decades since its launch on December 28, 2002, LinkedIn has become a staple for companies looking for talent and for job seekers to find jobs.

Its popularity led Microsoft to purchase the platform in December 2016, and as of June 2019, the platform had 630 million users in 150 countries.

The rise of LinkedIn is seen as a threat to conventional job search websites due to the fact that users can apply directly to jobs with just the push of a button while keeping in touch with their peers in such a way. professional.

2003 – MySpace.

My space. IMAGE: Failure of network collaborations.

While Friendster experienced a brief period of lack of competition, in August 2003 MySpace was formed by Brad Greenspan, Chris DeWolfe, Josh Berman and Tom Anderson.

The platform became popular among groups as it allowed for the customization of profiles and helped give birth to Arctic Monkeys. Following its acquisition by News Corporation for US $ 580 million, MySpace became the number one website in the world in 2006 and was valued at US $ 12 billion in 2007.

Unfortunately, like everything on the Internet, its popularity was short-lived. Over the course of many redesigns, the company was eventually sold. Most recently, MySpace confirmed that over 50 million songs downloaded between 2003 and 2015 were lost due to server migration issues.

Currently, the platform is owned by US media conglomerate Meredith Corporation.

2004 – hi5.

hi5 was one of the first social networking sites to introduce privacy features. IMAGE: Chai office.

While other social networking sites had predominant users from the United States and Asian countries, hi5, launched in 2004, generated considerable traffic from Latin American countries, Tunisia, Romania and of Mongolia.

In 2007, it became the second social networking platform in terms of traffic after MySpace. Founded by Ramu Yalamanchi, the platform started dealing with games and entertainment from 2009.

The platform was among the first to include privacy features such as the ability for users to make their profiles available to everyone or just their friends. However, the platform’s assets were transferred to IF (WE), then known as Tagged, in December 2011.

2004 – Orkut.


Some of you might remember it, but there was a point in history when Google experimented with creating its own version of a social networking website. No, not Google+.

But Orkut.

In January 2004, Google created its own social networking site which began with invitations from members. It was made after the tech giant’s failed attempt to buy Friendster in 2003.

However, due to its overtly exclusive nature, Orkut never succeeded and was called a failure. And it paved the way for another social media platform that has taken the world by storm.

2004 – Facebook.

IMAGE: Facebook.

If you thought Mark Zuckerberg is a genius, you’re only 50% right because luck was definitely on his side.

When Facebook was launched in February 2004 exclusively for Harvard students, it started to gain popularity when it was opened to the public in September 2006. From then on, the platform quickly gained traction. A movie, The social network, was then done by chronicling the rise of the social media giant.

As of December 2019, the platform had 2.50 billion monthly active users. He now owns WhatsApp and Instagram, and a few others. Facebook’s success has made Zuckerberg the eighth richest person in the world with a net worth of $ 62.3 billion.

However, Facebook has been embroiled in many controversies, lawsuits and most recently the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

2005 – Yahoo! 360 degrees.


When Facebook became widely used around the world, many began to wonder how long the platform would last and what would replace it.

Even before the platform opened its doors to non-Harvard students, there had already been attempts by other companies to challenge the growing dominance of MySpace and Friendster. Among them, Yahoo! 360 degrees.

Just like Orkut, users could only register on an invitation basis. Much like Friendster, the social networking site had profiles and blogs that could integrate with other Yahoo! products such as Flickr, Yahoo! Music and messenger.

However, the platform only lasted nearly four years before it closed in July 2009.

2005 РB̩bo.

IMAGE: DailyMail.

Launched in July 2005 by Michael and Xochi Birch, Bebo was extremely popular among young people because of its widget style profile editor and ease of use.

In 2008, the social networking platform had over 34 million users and was seen as Facebook’s competitor for a brief period. However, after it was sold to AOL in March of the same year for a whopping $ 850 million, things quickly took a turn for the worse.

In June 2010, the company was sold for less than US $ 10 million after failing to compete with Facebook’s rapid rise in popularity.

2011 – Google+.

IMAGE: The Next Web.

After the demise of Bebo and as Facebook gradually gained in importance, Google+ was released on June 28, 2011.

Unlike its previous reincarnation, Orkut, this platform was considered a legitimate rival to Facebook because it had similar functionality to Zuckerberg’s platform. Google+ also had a slight advantage as it had a video chat feature called Hangouts, linking capabilities with other tech giant products like Google Drive, Blogger, and YouTube.

However, due to lack of use, the platform was shut down on April 2, 2019 and Facebook continues to dominate.

Would Facebook continue to reign as the supreme social networking site? Or would another platform challenge him in this regard?

Perhaps this decade would answer these two questions.

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Cover image from Times of Man and Asian Dates Ladies.


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