History of Social Media and the Social Media Revolution

History of Social Media and the Social Media Revolution


Institutional Affiliation

Social media did not just begin in the current century and therefore it is not something new. Although Social Media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are seen as new trends, the roots of Social Media stretch far deeper than expected. Social media has been used for over thirty years and is presently part of the mainstream culture and the business world (Van, 2013). Currently, individuals use digital media to network, socialize, and gather information and some of the well-known sites include Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter, Blogger, YouTube, and Lulu.

Social media began in 1969 with CompuServe, which was the first major commercial internet service provider in the US, and it used a technology known as dial up. It dominated between 1980s and 1990s but in 1971, the first email was delivered. There were lots of improvements in the social media sites by 1970s and in 1979, UseNet enabled users to communicate through a virtual newsletter while in 1980s home computers became common thus sophisticating the social media (Van, 2013). Between 1988 and 1990, there were internet relay chats that became more popular.

In 1997, the Web had one million sites, blogging began, and SixDegrees.com that allowed users to create profiles and list friends. AOL Instant Messenger enabled users chat and in 1998, Google opened a major internet search engine and index. 1999 saw Friends Reunited, which is believed to be the first initial social network that got prominence and in 2000, the dot.com bubble burst opening way to future online. Over seventy million computers were connected to the internet as the millennium turned. Between 2001 and 2004, Wikipedia, Friendster, MySpace, Lindedln, Apple’s online music service iTunes, Podcasting, Flickr image, and Digg were founded. Between 2005 and 2013, there have been several other Social Media sites such as Twitter, Dropbox and WordPress were. The Social media has had a great influence in different fields such as the business world and many people are connecting to the internet.

Social Media has rapidly changed the way people communicate enabling revolution in user generated content, global community and publishing of consumer opinion accompanied with growth of access points (Van, 2013). Social Media has greatly accelerated the rate at which relationships develop and information sharing and people currently use it as a tool to shape the world’s events and culture. Power of the social media has led to what is conventionally known as the social media revolution that has seen almost everything happening faster than ever before.

Additionally, Social Media is currently used as a transformative tool and a site where everyone can air an opinion that eventually reaches to almost everyone within a short time. Various businesses are using social media to market their products and reach their clients leaving behind the traditional advertising avenues (Qualman, 2011). There has been a great shift in consumer driven multimedia platforms that have interestingly changed people’s relationship to content and information. Social media has made individuals to focus on their personal topics thus making the content to be consumer driven and making the information to be dominated by user content and opinion. Apparently, information posted on a social media exposes the users to a huge volume of consumer influence hence persuading the society’s opinion offline.

Social Media revolution was used in Egypt to overthrow former Egyptian president, Hussein Mubarak. Egyptian youths had demonstrated the usefulness of social media as a platform for organizing mass street actions after distributing news that the state controlled press avoided the harsh tactics of Mubarak’s security personnel (Qualman, 2011). They succeeded in several cases including the one for a 28-year-old Khaled Mohamed Said killed after thorough beatings by the police and the photos of his disfigured corpse online on Facebook. These events were very successful in initiating the Egyptian uprising, which brought a remarkable transformation in the region’s political dynamics and ended 30 years of martial law ended and a democratic free election was held after decades.


Qualman, E. (2011). Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.Van, D. J. (2013). The culture of connectivity: A critical history of social media. Oxford, UK [etc.: Oxford University Press.