The Real Story of Social Media

Every beginning has a story and social media is no exception. Advertisers and marketers of yesteryear, today grandparents, wrote down their contacts in a notebook, based many of their strategies on intuition and relied on word of mouth without being able to measure it. Today commercial campaigns are almost personalized and recommendations are measured in “likes”. The gold mine that allows all this are those huge databases also known as social networks.

Why did Facebook buy Instagram in 2012 for US $ 1 billion and WhatsApp two years later for US $ 20 billion? Why do some giants like Google or Microsoft pay hundreds of millions for social networks like Linkedin or YouTube? Not only because of some algorithms that allow them to be handled, but also because of the contact networks included there. The big business is not in the sale of advertising on the walls, but in the data … the oil of the digital age that we live in.

In fact, the largest database in the world is Facebook, a social network valued at US $ 73.2 billion and which makes its creator Marc Zukerberg the fifth richest person in the world.

THE PREDECESSORS

The history of what we know today as social networks can be traced since the creation of the Internet, or even before … With the telegraph. Certainly, when Samuel Morse sent the first telegraph in 1844, remote communications began, which were enhanced with the sending of the first email in 1971. But in neither of these two cases did we have a network of linked contacts sharing data.

Arpanet (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) would fit better as a predecessor, because it allowed the exchange of information between universities before the www.

By being more strict with what fits as a social network, we could track real parents in the 1990s.

Various technology blogs agree that the first social network was Six Degrees, created in 1997. It was a website where people could be linked under profiles, but with a much more limited scope than what Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat has today.

There were other previous efforts such as Geocities (1994) and Classmates (1995) to link former students to their colleges. All of them great strangers for whom we did not even dream of waking up seeing Facebook notifications, as we do now.

At the beginning of the next decade, in 2001, they say that Ryze.com was created, a network to take advantage of professional contacts. The following year, LinkedIn emerged, which became the queen of work connections. Also from this era is Tribe.com and Friendster. But we continue to refer to niche products, unknown by the vast majority of Internet users.

HELLO POPULARITY

I look at you, I like you, I buy you a coffee and we talk listening to The Beatles. You tell me your day, you show me how awful lunch was at the office and you give me a flower. All without putting faces face to face, in the real world. This, which is everyday today for thousands of thousands of people, was born and flourished 15 years ago.

Before entering the Hardward dormitories where Marc Zukerberg and his friends created a network to link university students (Facemash.com), in 2003 – everyone’s friend-, Tom Anderson with, Chris DeWolfe and Jon Hart created MySpace. This social network reached its peak in 2008 with some 76 million visitors from around the world.

MySpace became the most popular for just over three years as it allowed sharing of music videos by fashion artists. A good part of its success was also achieved thanks to the impulse that it was given to have been bought in July 2005 for $ 580 million by News Corporation. By June 2011 it had already dropped to half its followers, lost its leadership, and was sold to Specific Media for much less: $ 35 million in stock and some cash. These new owners included none other than the well-known singer Justin Timberlake.

In 2016 the company changed its main owner and became part of Time Inc., a publishing company. Yes, MySpace still exists and maintains that style that allows you to share videos and music of celebrities, but, ironies of life: One can register using the Facebook profile.

As MySpace fell, Facebook gained popularity and skyrocketed. By 2008 it reached 100 million users, but it was only the following year that they created the characteristic “like” button.

Ten years later, it exceeded 2 billion active users per month worldwide, making it the most popular network in the world.

And although other very popular networks have emerged, such as Snapchat in 2011, they only have ten times fewer users and still cannot take away the crown of popularity, something that has been used by companies around the world, as the main marketing tool .

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