More than 50 years ago, people were not yet aware of how important the world wide web will be in their daily lives. People were either busy playing outside or communicating with each other through the use of snail mail. A few decades later and we saw the rapid improvement of technology changing the way we perceive the world around us.
It’s undeniable that social media is now a very important part of our daily lives. It is used to connect with important people in our lives, be updated on the latest trends and events which are happening in a certain place, know more information, and to entertain ourselves.
But before going further, we have to know the meaning of social media itself.
What is Social Media?
Based on most results being shown websites such as Google, social media is a type of website or app used to communicate with other users, create mini-groups with those who have the same interests, share random information, and post media such as photos, videos, and the like.
Social media is correlated with online communication because they are both developed at a time when the Internet was invented and adopted worldwide.
Typical websites are not included in the classification because it depends on the content made by users. Only they have the option to create, edit, and delete what other people should see on their accounts.
Now another important question is to know the short history of social media apps.
How Did Social Media Apps Began?
During the period of 1960s-1890s, programmers in private and public companies are looking for ways to allow two or more computers to have a stable “communication” with each other. The computer developed even further and it becomes more compact and functional for personal use.
The concept of “social media” started with the creation of the Bulletin Board System (BBS). This online service which was accessed via a modem allowed members to talk to each other thru posting messages and download files and games. This also inspired them to meet up in real life and talked about their latest projects or activities.
A service called CompuServe was created which allowed users to see the latest news and events. Aside from that, they can send messages, share files, and join discussion forums where you can talk about any kind of topic with other registered members.
With the development of the internet, blogging sites first emerged in the 1990s which somehow started the age of social media. People finally have an outlet to write what are their opinions on a certain topic or what are they doing during the day and customize how their profile looks like. Other users have an opportunity to interact with it as well after reading by leaving a comment or question.
During 1995, Beverly Hills Internet (BHI) launched Geocities which offered web hosting and allowed users to create websites according to their preferences.
The Emergence of Social Media Websites
Officially launched in 1997, Six Degrees is known as the “first social media” in history. Its name is based on a “six degrees of separation” theory which is named after Kevin Bacon even though he himself does not fully agree with the phenomenon. It states that everyone around the world is connected and they are only separated at six degrees.
The website was the first of its kind that allowed registered users to adjust their profile according to their personal preferences. It was sold to YouthStream Media Networks in 2001 but unfortunately, it shut down one year later.
In 2002, Friendster emerged which enabled registered users to edit their profile and connect with others. They can also have conversations, comment on posts, and share videos and photos.
It was rebranded in 2011 as a website that focuses on social gaming. Nevertheless, it suspended its platform in 2015 and completely stopped operating in January 2019.
LinkedIn was founded in December 2002 as a social media website that focuses on having professional connections. It also allows schools or businesses to maintain contact with potential clients or hire them for a vacant position.
MySpace was obviously the most influential social media website after being launched in 2003. Its users declined over the years but it is still operating in the present.
WordPress was also launched in 2003 which offers registered users a space to express themselves through posting text and photos about their chosen topic. The best part is that you don’t need programming experience to actually have your own profile.
On 2004, Facebook was created by Mark Zuckerberg as a website exclusively for Harvard students. It has a lenient registration process so it gained popularity to other nearby universities. When it was finally launched for public use and expanded to more countries around the world, it forever changed the way on how people communicate with each other.
Youtube was introduced in 2005 by some employees of PayPal named Jawed Karim, Steve Chen and Chad Hurley. It is a website that allows users to upload videos about anything and share it to their other social media accounts. They can also leave comments or be updated to their favorites by clicking the “Subscribe” button.
Meanwhile, Twitter was introduced in 2006 as a website that limits the “tweets” of users to only 140 characters. Over time, the limit is now increased to 280 characters. It is used to see the latest trends and inspire people to be creative in their profiles and even their replies using only a few sentences.
In 2010, Instagram was launched and allowed people to show their latest activities by adding short video clips and pictures. You are also given an option to edit it first before posting.
Snapchat was introduced in 2011 and it quickly gained a lot of followers because of its unique features like sending photos that will disappear after a set duration.
In 2012, Pinterest, the first social media website that looks like a scrapbook was launched. It immediately gained millions of followers worldwide because you can post new content and group photos into albums according to your chosen category.
After knowing the brief history of commonly used social media websites that later on become applications which are available for download on smartphones, how did Filipinos become aware of its existence and integrate it as a huge part of the daily routine?
History of Social Media in the Philippines
It was mentioned earlier in the article that one of the first known social media websites in the World Wide Web was Friendster. In the United States, it quickly lost popularity in 2004 because of its numerous problems in the technical aspect and the server itself. Nevertheless, it came as a surprise when executives noticed that it slowly gained users from Southeast Asia which was started in the Philippines. It was then discovered after months of research that Carmen Leilani de Jesus, a Filipino-American marketing consultant and hypnotist, became the sole reason why the website gained many users after influencing her family and friends to try it too.
It was during this period that many Filipinos were delighted because they finally had a way to communicate with their friends and loved ones especially those who are living or working geographically away from them. They have an avenue to show updates of their daily lives through adding favorite songs, edited photos or long messages. They can also comment about random stuff they see on another user’s profile.
Over time, new social media websites were created. One of those being introduced to Filipinos was Facebook. With its new and improved features compared to other websites available, it is not a surprise that many created their own account and influenced others to do the same.
Facebook changed the social media landscape by allowing users to join groups, post more photos and even group it into albums, communicate with each other, and interact with more people that you have not seen after many years.
With the development of smartphones and the improvement of the internet signal on the entire archipelago, more Filipinos, especially the youth, are now more exposed to the advancements of technology and use more apps aside from Facebook such as Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.
It is therefore not a surprise that aside from being known as the “Selfie Capital of the World,” Philippines is now also known as the “Social Networking Capital in the World” where more than half of the entire population have at least one social media account. Filipinos are also known as the people who have the most photo and video uploaders, most web video viewers, and most blog readers than other countries around the world.
The history of social media apps is considered relatively short compared to other technological discoveries but it certainly left a huge impact on the Filipinos’ daily lives.
With new social media apps such as EyesUP being developed and catered to the Philippine market, users will certainly not run out of ways to be connected with other people worldwide.