Ever since Facebook broke into our lives, things have changed. In fact, ever since older social networks like MySpace and Orkut gained popularity, things changed our lives. At the moment, Facebook has taken over all social media and is the lone service that is connecting people.
Facebook wasn’t the first social media site, however. Social networking has been around since 1978 when a computerized bulletin board was used to contact friends for meet-ups. However, it wasn’t until the mid-1990s that the internet really took off and people began to find ways and means to connect.
Find out more about past social media networks that existed before Facebook dominated the space:
- AOL Instant Messenger: While AOL was around before the IM Service was launched, it wasn’t until 1997 that AOL allowed its users to talk to each other via instant messenger. This was a great way to keep in touch with people without having to meet with them or making plans. The origin of the whole “let’s stay connected” idea comes from chat rooms and chat services.
- Friendster: Friendster launched in 2000 and grew to about 3 million users almost immediately. It enjoyed popularity until 2008.
- MySpace: launched in 2002, this social media website was the home of celebrities like Tom Hardy.
- Friends Reunited: Launched in Britain, in the 1990s, this social media site was primarily used to find old school friends before 2008, this website had 15 million users/registered members.
- Orkut: Though centered on India and Brazil, Orkut enjoyed immense popularity before it shut down.
In 2005, Facebook launched for high school students and since then, there has been no looking back for this social networking site. As of 2012, when the Facebook IPO was launched, the company was valued at nearly $100 billion (at a generous estimate). Facebook operates as an independent entity and no media firm as a controlling interest in the company and how it operates.
The 2016 Presidential elections in the United States began a new era of information laundering that people always dismissed as conspiracy theories. The issue of “fake news” highlighted a major loophole in user-driven social media content. It has managed to bring to the spotlight the many issues around user-driven and user created content. These are the major negatives of using social media exclusively for your information
- The over circulation of false and often unreliable information. Since we consume all of our information via the internet these days, it has become difficult to distinguish the good from the bad as well as the real from the fake. Every link we click has information that could be authentic or could be false. Other than exercising caution there is no real way around this.
- Romantic disputes. Social media platforms operate on a single assumption – you live your life online and there is no real difference between what’s online and offline. A person who is in a relationship is often expected to share their thoughts and feelings about their romantic relationship with their friends online. Some posts by people in relationships often cause huge misunderstandings in real life and end up with the relationship breaking up for good.
- Cyberbullying. A single post about a relevant topic or current news item could propel the user to infamy. It doesn’t take much for a post to go viral, so, a person who says something online could find themselves battling comments that threaten them with all kinds of violence. This phenomenon is also known as cyberbullying has become a huge issue over the years. Young social media users are especially having to deal with such instances.
- Employers these days are becoming smarter. They are online as well and tend to add their employees and track them online – their activities, as well as posts and this information, is used to discriminate – both positively and negatively at the workplace. Some companies (especially media outlets) expect their employees to share only certain kinds of posts online as part of company policy.
- Since social media apps have gone mobile, there are lots of reports of addiction to this form of communication online. Schools, colleges, homes, and workplaces are all having to deal with a loss of productivity as well as inattention and lesser efficiency because of people’s addiction to social media.