Social networking - before and after

The world has become so much smaller because of the Internet, because of email and now because of social media. With social media, we mean the plethora of social networking websites that brought friends much closer, sites that reunited long estranged families and relatives and brought news and events to the masses at the speed of light. 

Social network plethora

Thanks to the Internet, social media and advances in mobile and messaging technology. We can hardly care whether a friend or loved one is thousands of miles away. We can converse with them any time of the day as if they were just next door. News, gossip and small talk is easy. We know what our friends ate for lunch even before they eat it. We know where they are whether they let us know or not. Not long ago, the equivalent of catching up with someone in another country for the past month was through the use of a long expensive overseas phone call, a voice tape or snail mail. Then there was email but not everyone knew how to use a computer, in fact many were deathly afraid of it. But now, we know everything our friend has done in the past few minutes and sometimes we wish we didn’t see him having the time of his life in the Mediterranean while were scrambling on deadlines.


Sixdegrees – the basis of many social networking websites is known as the concept of six degrees of separation.Six degrees This means that a Jewish New York businessman is somehow related to a farmer in China in six steps or less. The guy in China happens to be a friend of a friend of the mother of the cousin of the friend of the businessman. The first social networking website to use this concept is the defunct which lasted from 1997 to 2001. 


Friendster – is another website that popularized the six degrees concept. Its name was derived from the popular peer-to-peer file sharing site Napster. It was Friendsterfounded in 2002 and became a popular social network linking friends and family members. It was a time when computers and the internet was already popular with the masses which gained it higher ground than Sixdegrees. Users can contact other members, post messages and share pictures much like we do today. Its popularity spawned many competitors including Myspace and Facebook which eroded its popularity until it finally lost ground and was reformatted into a social gaming website.


Myspace – was launched in 2003 and what differentiated it from Friendster was its emphasis on music. It’s bright, intuitive interface quickly made it MySpacepopular and its emphasis on music made it popular with kids and teens. It quickly overtook Friendster and by 2008 was the most visited site in the world. However by mid-2008, it was overtaken by Facebook and since then has continued to decline. Its inclusion of children in its network contributed to the 2006 controversy of their exposure to pornography due to the lack of security measures against spam and malware.


LinkedIn – founded in 2002, what differentiates LinkedIn is its business orientation. This site is more aimed at business professionals or people atLinkedIn work. This site links peers, business contacts, job seekers and headhunters. As of 2013, the site has more than 300 million members. Common information updates come from member career changes and employment opportunities.


Multiply – launched in 2003 was among the popular social websites in the mid-2000s. What made it different wasMultiply that it enabled its users to do blogging, sharing of multimedia files and the selling of goods and services through its personal marketplace. Multiply gave users unlimited storage to upload and host photos, videos and other files. Unlike Facebook’s wall, Muliply gave users their own webpage to showcase their content. It also allowed users intense level of customization of their profile pages. Like Friendster and Myspace, the popularity of Multiply was quickly eroded with the advent of Facebook. By 2012, the site’s decline led to the abandonment of its social networking function to focus on e-commerce. However the site announced its closure by May 2013. Multiply has now officially moved to


Facebook – knowing the relationship status of your friend or acquaintance was a big seller for this social networkingFacebook website. From that small innovation, Facebook has grown up to be so much more. Facebook was founded in February 2004 and was initially targeted exclusively for Harvard University students. Unlike MySpace, Facebook only allows members who are thirteen years of age and above though strict measures to prevent misrepresentation are not completely in place. Also, unlike Myspace, it doesn’t allow profile page customization. It is currently the top Social Networking website and currently shows no sign of decline. It has also influenced the design of mobile devices and software platforms to encapsulate it including its messaging platform. Facebook also allows for the creation of pages for celebrities and public figures as well as pages for groups, clubs and organizations that share a common interest. Facebook currently has over 1 billion active users.


Google+ - is Google’s own social networking engine. It was created on June 2011 was aimed as a competitor toGoogle + Facebook. It is the second largest social networking site in the world with 540 million active users and like Facebook wasn’t open to children below 13. At launch, new membership was by invitation only but active registration was allowed on September. Google+ has active links to most of Google’s other services such as Gmail, Maps and Youtube


Instagram – is more of a mobile photo and video-sharing platform whichInstagram functions as a bridge to other social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. It was launched in October 2010 and has rapidly gained in popularity it was later bought by Facebook in April 2012. This network is more mobile-centric and is available as apps on most smartphones and tablets. Instagram continues to run independently. The site currently has 100 million active users.


Twitter – saying something in 140 characters or less has never been moreTwitter popular. So has connecting with your friends and favorite celebrities and getting news and updates from various entities. That’s Twitter. Twitter debuted in 2006 and rapidly became popular and has reached 100 million users by 2012. Twitter teaches users to be concise and up to the point. The name Twitter was perfect for the concept because short messages from time to time were like tweets or chirps of birds. Twitter is number two on the social networking popularity next to Facebook. Many private entities and government agencies use it to reach out and share information. This site has also made or broken celebrities and private individuals through controversial tweets.


Pinterest – Pinterest is a slightly different beast as it doesn’t actively have social networking aside from the abilityPinterest to invite contacts and seeing each other’s pins, likes and updates. Pinterest aims to bring together groups of people who have the same interest by pinning interesting images. Like Twitter, users can follow each other through their common interests. Images can link to the source website allowing the spread of useful information as well as website promotion. Pinterest has active links to Twitter and Facebook so users’ uploads of images and videos called pins can be announced through those social networks. Contacts are derived from Facebook and Twitter contacts which the user can invite.


Ello – Ello is new to the social networking game. It is currently an invitation-only social website which is rapidlyEllo gaining popularity by taking advantage of Facebook’s missteps regarding privacy issues thereby attracting new members. The website is simple and minimalist in nature but like most social networking sites allow the post of text updates, images and video. 


Most computer users are members to at least one of these social networking websites and many computer users are members to as much as five. People connect to them through computers, their tablets and mostly through their smartphones. These sites allow the sharing and spread of information at a remarkable rate. Latest news from around the world reaches people in a span of seconds. With all the combined functionality of these websites, how more connected can we be? What could possibly come next that hasn’t been offered before?