It may be hard to realize but Social Media did not start with Facebook. The first Social Media website was actually called Six Degrees. Six Degrees was founded in 1997 and allowed users to create profiles and friend other users. Soon after blogging started; now many don’t think of Blogging as a form of Social Media, but in fact it is. A blog allows an author/blogger to post stories, images and video. Subscribers/readers can then view these posts and respond creating a dialogue. Sound familiar?
In 1996 further changes in Social Media occurred with the first Instant Messaging Client (ICQ) which was developed by an Israeli company. ICQ was purchased by AOL in 1998. AOL Messenger was also one of the earliest messaging clients offering users social media communication on the internet.
Finally, in the early 2000’s Social Media was recognized as a new medium. LinkedIn began in 2002 and was specifically marketed towards the business profile market, and the first pre-cursor to Facebook was formed called MySpace. Though MySpace does not have nearly the users today that Facebook and Twitter have it is still used to this day.
According to WikiPedia; who keeps a running list of Social Media Networking websites, there are approximately 212 across the globe. That does not include dating sites. There are two questions typically asked by small business owners:
- Do I need A Social Media networking site for my business?
- What social media networking sites will help build my business?
The answer to the first question is a DEFINITE YES! The second; requires thought just like your website design requires thought and planning.