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When Was Social Media Invented? Facts, Statistics & Key Takeaways

when was social media invented
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This article is a part of the series “The History of the Internet”.  I think this series can be extremely inspirational to you.  The internet has completely changed the last few decades of humankind, but didn’t start that way. 

As the internet is growing in influence, people want to know where the phenomenon came from, and this series answers that question.  You can read the entire series by going HERE.  Please read to the bottom and get all the AMAZING FREE STUFF at the end!


Quick Question…

Have you ever imagined how difficult it would have been to communicate with a loved one who lived far away just a few millennia ago?

To see this content in video, check it out here:


Dating back to the 4000 B.C. era, men have been migrating from one place to another; discovering new treasures on the Earth: from soil types to precious metals and even different human resource skills!  The migration from one location to another caused loved ones to be separated from one another.  It’s just a fact that not everyone’s destiny is fulfilled in one close proximity on the Earth.

Just think about it, some people are propeling science forward, and even going to the moon nowadays!

The void that’s left when a loved one goes a distance is communication.  You want to know if they’re safe.  You want to know how they’re doing, and you’re curious instincts want to know what things are like in other areas besides your own.

The problem of communication across a distance was originally solved by mail carriers on horse, camel, or boat, but more problems came from that.  The carriers could only go so fast, maps and sea travel had to advance, and weather can present a huge dilemma and delay.  To solve the communication problem, advancement after advancement has taken place leading to major changes across several industries including transportation and electronics.

when was social media inventedFacts About Social Media History

1. Social media was an advancement of primitive communication methods.

2. For millennia, men have been working to improve how we communicate.

3. Phones, social media, and the internet are now the most advanced methods of communication.

4. There are several Social Media brands that participate in continually improving our interpersonal communications and desire to build relationships.

5. Communications companies have always had the challenge of determining how to fund their businesses.

6. Primitive communications charged users or were government funded like US Postal Mail, Cell Phone, or Home Phone Companies.

7. Social media companies have chosen not to charge majority users, but to charge business owners for use of demographic and psychographic data and advertising.

8. Some people feel that the release of buying habits, demographics, and psychographics is an invasion of privacy.

9. Governments are cracking down on privacy and tax issues related to social media release of information and funding models. (Source: Emarketer)

10. Facebook still reigns as the most popular social media network with 79% of internet users in the US logging on the site. (Source: Pew Research Center)

11. Other social media sites trail substantially behind Facebook: Instagram (32% internet users), Pinterest (31%), LinkedIn (29%), and Twitter (24%). (Source: Pew Research Center)

12. It’s estimated that Facebook will receive 21.57 Billion Dollars in ad revenue in 2018–83% of US Social Media ad revenue. (Source: Emarketer)

13. There are more than 50 million businesses using a Facebook Business Page. (Source: SproutSocial)

14. Facebook ranked second in a December 2017 survey of senior ad buyers in the US as the platform to drive the most ROI. Google Search was named No. 1. (Source: SproutSocial)

15. Facebook ad revenue in the US is expected to outpace total print ad spending by 2019. (Source: SproutSocial)

Why Was Social Media Invented?

Social media was invented to make it easier to share memories, pictures, and communication across distances.  Even primitive social media sites enabled users to upload photos, share information about themselves, and make friends.

when was social media inventedWhen Was Social Media First Introduced?

In the previous article, When was Internet Invented? + 10 Inspirational Takeaways You Can Apply To Your Business Today, we discussed the small beginnings of the internet.  Social media was built on the back of the new advancement of the internet.

The first social media site introduced to the public was called Six Degrees, and operated from 1997 to 2001.  At its peak, it had 3,500,000 active users.  It was created by Adam Weinrich, but sold to Youthstream Media Networks in 1999 for $125 million.

A Brief Summary of the Social Media Evolution

After Six Degrees, blogging was born in 1999, and several other Social Media sites came along.  The primary reason for blogging and social media sites was/is to build social circles where people who have things in common can intermingle, learn from each other, and form relationships.

Social media advancements include:

  • Myspace and LinkedIn in the early 2000s
  • Photobucket (2003) and Flickr (2004) allowing photo and image sharing
  • Youtube in 2005
  • Facebook and Twitter go worldwide by 2006
  • Tumblr, Spotify, Pinterest, and Foursquare fill certain social media niche desires

Now, 20 years after the first social media sites were born, the industry is seeing massive growth in supply and demand:

According to Internetlivestats, this is the live action as of 11:51AM CST today:

  • 2.6 million blog posts have been written
  • 2.8 trillion searches have been conducted on Google
  • 35.9 million photos have been uploaded to Instagram
  • 58.4 million posts have been published to Tumblr
  • 2.1 billion people actively use Facebook
  • 595.8 million people actively use Google+
  • 333.4 million people actively use Twitter
  • 230.5 million people actively use Pinterest
  • 3.1 billion videos have been watched on Youtube today!
  • The number of computers sold is 350,000 today
  • and, 2 million smart phones have been sold today!

Internet usage is not slowing down!  It is increasing drastically!

A Playlist answering, “When Was Social Media Invented?”

I’ve created this playlist to give additional insight and to further answer the question, “When was social media invented?”.  Hopefully it helps.

Why is Social Media Important for Business?

As an entrepreneur, you are a professional problem solver.  To be a successful problem solver, you have to present your solution where the people with the problem are located!

Social media fills a void. People all over the world are able to communicate more effectively because social media exists.  People who may not like to communicate in the spoken word by telephone can communicate to people located across the world thru social media sites, text messaging, blogging, email, video, and audio almost instantaneously.

The trend of advancing communication won’t stop.  Entrepreneurs who are choosing to use solely primitive communication channels rather than migrating into the advanced methods are missing a large market which will reflect in their sales and revenue.

As the internet and social media as a whole continues to grow–as the numbers shows they are–early adopters will reap the greatest benefit.  Being that these advancements are only 20 years old and are barely reaching half of the world, we know there is still a huge growth potential.

What’s the History of Social Media Have to do with You?

when was social media invented1. Social media is a Major Source of Traffic for Business Owners

The live stats show that social media is a major communication source nowadays.  In addition to being a major communication source, social media is a major contributor to unique discovery of brands all across the world.

As a result of the huge growth of social media, people all over the world are able to participate in psychographic interests, and be served content from people and companies they never knew before.

Organically, the growth and discovery may be slow, but it still happens.  When you get into the paid social media usage model, the amount of people who can uniquely discover your business and brand goes up substantially!

2. As the Internet and Social Media Grows, the early adopters will be able to Leverage their Established Platforms to Grow

Watching the stats, you can see that the growth of social media is happening extremely fast; whereas other marketing methods are slowing down.  As with anything else, early investors get the highest returns on their investment.  Whether you are investing money or content, contributing to the growth of social media will have returns for early adopters even more than those who are later to the game.

Look at the early adopters of the internet, blogging, and social media!  Simply by being there early, they have been able to teach others how to use the platform, create digital products, explain new methods, and even participate as testers on the growing platforms.

when was social media inventedSome high priced digital courses seem like they teach common sense because the methods are now common, but simply because they were early adopters, they’ve had massive traction and growth (but they don’t usually say that).  In addition to being able to teach everyone else, early adopters are able to grow their businesses and brands quickly and easier than those later to the game.

As an early adopter, you can grow your audience, then leverage the large social circle for use in many other places!

3. Many Social media Platforms have Come and Gone, but Self-Hosted Blogging has Prevailed

Many marketers will tell you not to stay on free hosting, don’t blog only on social media, etc.  The reason is because they may have witnessed the rise and fall of a social media site like SixDegrees or Myspace.  Many people invested all of their time and platform building effort into those sites, and when they fell, they had nothing to show for it.

The same thing can happen with Blogger, Tumblr, WordPress.org, etc.  If they’re free, there’s not as much money available to pay for upkeep, developers to fix bugs, advancement, and keeping up with technology demands.  If you’re serious about starting an online business, you want to pay your vendors to keep your foundational business tools like hosting as advanced as you can.  I highly recommend paid hosting.  You can read more on my #1 hosting recommendation for those who want to make money online HERE.

4. Due to Privacy Concerns, Social media business models may have to change from solely advertising to something else

It even creeps me out thinking about how much information internet companies can have on me simply because of how regularly I use the worldwide web!

More users are becoming frazzled by how the analytics from internet users is being sold to businesses and others.  Different countries are proposing different rules to solve the problem, and no one knows how social media companies will change to work around the growing rules and restrictions.

when was social media inventedAs you’re growing, being conscious about the potential changes is important.  Some companies may be able to rebound quickly into a new business model, and others, may see their last days.  We don’t know which business owners will be savvy enough to weather the storms.

Accordingly, the best option is to grow your social circle on your own self-hosted blog.  In the past, growing a self-hosted blog has saved many people from losing everything to the demise of one company or another.  With your own self-hosted blog, even if your hosting company goes out of business, you can take your backed up site to someone else fairly easily and painlessly.

5. Focus on Growing one Social Media Channel at a Time, but Diversify the Traffic Sources for your Business

Even with a self-hosted site, you’ll have to generate traffic one way or another. Search engine optimization and Social Media Marketing are the two primary methods for traffic generation in today’s day in age.

You want to focus on growing one strong stream of traffic at a time and scaling.  Growing too many things at once will make you less effective, and less quality.  Master one, then move on and master the next.  One is too dangerous a number to stay there for a long term!

6. If Social Media Networks can Grow Exponentially in 20 Years or Less, so Can Your Business!

Just 21 years ago, Sixdegrees introduced the concept of a social media site, and 21 years later, Facebook is expecting to bring in more than $21 billion in advertising revenue!  That’s exponential growth!

when was social media inventedDon’t be afraid to think big and break the big thinking into small babysteps.  Your idea can have growth of 10000%+ percents!

7. Be Consistent and Persistent

Be tough and don’t let others discourage you, be consistent at taking massive action, and aspire to greatness.  There’s no limits to what you can accomplish!

Final Words on “When Was Social Media Invented?”

The goal of this article was to answer the question, “When was social media invented?”. Hopefully, this article gave you the answers you were looking for!  If you have questions or concerns about this, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments section.  I’d love to help you out!

If you are ready to participate in the early adopter crowd–using the internet to get your idea or business to solve problems for more people, I’d love to help you out!  You can CREATE A FREE ACCOUNT HERE.  No credit card required, ever.

You’ll get two FREE websites, 10 FREE training lessons on how to set the websites up and get started (or advance) in your online business, access to millions of entrepreneurs who are leveraging the internet (some are seeing major successes!), and I’ll be available to answer any questions you may have.  CREATE YOUR FREE ACCOUNT HERE, and I’ll meet you there.

Now, it’s Your Turn…

Did this article answering “When was social media invented?” help you out?  Do you know more about social media history?  Please add anything I’ve left out, comments, questions, or feedback below.

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