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How Baby Steps of Social Networking Took a Giant Stride

February 14th, 2013

Think of social media – and you think of Facebook. But, social networking did not start with Facebook. In reality, social networking started taking baby steps with BBS (the acronym for Bulletin Board System) in 1980s. These were online meeting places, where through a central system people could download games or files and could post messages to other users on the system. Next followed CompuServe, which allowed users to access news and events, and share files. There was a novelty – people could join discussions forums and talk about important events – this perhaps signaled social media interactions of modern days. Member created communities at AOL is also considered a precursor of social networking sites we have in the current days.

In the next phase, and appeared on the scene. The former was an instant hot, with people able to locate long-lost school friends (till date the service do boast of over 500 million registered users). SixDegrees (1197) allowed users to create profile (unlike Classmates -though in its initial phase, users could not create profile), send in invitations to . But it phased out. They were followed by (1997) and (1999).

But it is with Friendster, LinkedIn, MySpace and Facebook that social networking turned into adulthood from adolescence. Built on a similar concept of SixDegrees, Friendster (2002) promoted the idea that an online community can exist between people who share close bond. LinkedIn (2003) took social networking in the professional sphere, catering to business people rather than teenagers and normal people. The trend of MySpace (2003), catering to adult demographic, was an instant hit.

But it is Facebook which redefined social networking in 2006, and is ruling the social media kingdom.

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