May 19, 2013

Infographic: The complete history of #socialmedia

History was one subject which fascinated me back in school. I really enjoyed reading about the various civilizations, countries, eminent personalities, world wars, independence, science & technology and much more. Skimming through history tells us what has been tried in the past and what were its implications. Imagine if some of those folks like Newton, Gandhi, Einstein, Crick came back to real life and see how much the world has evolved improvising on their contributions to mankind, how delighted they would be. Not that it matters, but it's always pays to know a little background about the products, services, their evolution and about the company you're working work in order to understand the context and contribute significantly in-line with the business priorities.

Today, Social Media is growing like anything and every day something new flourishes either as a feature update or sometimes even a new social network. There's just no end to this and that's good as it shows that innovation is on an all time high. With all these social networks, the Digital Marketer's dilemma is to decide whether they should maintain a presence on all social networks or on a selected view? In my opinion, one should maintain an 'active' presence irrespective of whether it's a presence only on Facebook or across 10 different social networks. As long as you have sufficient content which adds value to your followers and know how and when to post on social media, you're doing good. I will write more on this later but would like to hear your take on this in the comments below.

Coming back to the historical aspect, I feel it's important that Social Media professionals should know the origins of the platform they handle on a day to day basis. It's not merely a GK exercise, but it allows you to understand the context in which the various social networks were built and how does it relate to that demographic, time period, etc. On the web, Blogger surfaced in late 1990's on which bloggers write long posts. It's more like a diary. LinkedIn came in 2003 which brought a shift from personal to professional networks. Then came Facebook (for everyone) in 2006 which allows users to post status updates in 2-3 lines. Facebook also allows users to post photographs and arrange them in an album. At the same period, Twitter came out which initially allowed only text updates in 140 characters. In 2010 we saw a complete reversal where Pinterest put photos in the spotlight in place of textual content. Instagram followed the same route and finally in 2013 we saw Vine app (right now only for iOS) which allows users to post short 6 second videos on twitter. See how social networks have evolved from long posts, to text snippets to visual content? That is what a little history can tell you and with some reading and observation you can even predict what's coming next so that you can prepare well, especially if you want the first-mover advantage. Of course, you may dismiss all this and begin hands-on with any network but what I've realized over the years is that experience and knowledge do give you an upper edge. If nothing, it will definitely help you when you take part in discussions related to social media as you'll appear well informed. And that matters!

Having said that, it's not practically possible for all of us to keep going back and reading tons of wiki-pages to know every social network's evolution. Definitely not. So how do we do it? Well, I came across Avalaunch Media's interactive infographic which illustrates the complete history of social media across three time periods; BC-1800s, 1900s and 2000s-Present. Their Eddy the Yeti (by the way, he's cute!) takes you through the time wheel and at each 'year' tab tells you which social  network came out along in that year along with a short description for the major ones. Spend 4-5 minutes of your time on the interactive infographic to pick up some pointers. It's always good to stay informed.

Some of the key landmarks that Eddy will show you in the infographic are:
  • Postal Service (550 BC)
  • Telephone (1890)
  • Radio (1891)
  • Email (1966)
  • IRC - Internet Relay Chat (1988)
  • Blogger (1999)
  • Wikipedia (2001)
  • LinkedIn (2003)
  • Orkut (2004)
  • YouTube (2005)
  • Facebook - for everyone (2006)
  • Twitter (2006)
  • Tumblr (2007)
  • Foursquare (2009)
  • Instagram (2010)
  • Pinterest (2010)
  • Google+ (2011)
  • Pheed (2012)
  • Vine (2013)
Go on, play around with the interactive infographic on the complete history of social media and do share with your friends who may find this useful!

Stay social,

Image Source: Versio2, Avalaunch Media


  1. this was a gud to knw , thanks for shareing . Will help in talks & discussions :)

    1. You're welcome Shweta! I hope you find it useful in your talks.

  2. I am just hoping that now this comment is published. Trying hard to put comment because really liked this Infographic, which gives lot of information in such an interesting way. Thanks a lot for the post and for sharing this Infographic.

    1. I'm glad you found it useful Kalpana. And I really appreciate your repeated efforts to post a comment here. Hope it never happens again!