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History Of Social Networking


Social networking is not a recent phenomenon. It began back in the 1970s when computing was still in its infancy. As the computer and the internet began to grow, so too did the applications for social networking. Today the internet is far more accessible with the technology of mobile phones and tablets and as a result the majority of people now use social networking.


During the 1970s, computers were rare and only a few people had them. Computers were complicated and expensive machines so only a handful of people were able to enjoy the benefits. The first social networking site appeared for these few people known as BBS or Bulletin Board System. This allowed users to share games, information and send each other messages. BBS was slow and restrictive but it was a pioneer for other companies to follow. Early networking sites throughout the 1970s and 1980s included:

  • BBS
  • CompuServe
  • AOL

These platforms worked over telephone lines and a modem was needed to connect to the platforms. As technology of the 1970s was restrictive, many of these sights only allowed local coverage.


AOL was the pioneer for the internet with users being able to create fully searchable member profiles and messages was no longer limited to local areas. By the mid-1990s the internet had begun to take shape with many households owning a computer. During the 1990s, companies began to take advantage of the internet such as:

  • AOL
  • Yahoo
  • Amazon

Chat rooms started to become popular during the 1990s allowing more and more people to connect with complete strangers and make online friends.


Friendster was a platform that saw a market in social networking. Friendster believed that people could only connect if they had similar interests and created a way for people to discover others with similar interests. The owner of Friendster (Jonathon Adams) described it as a dating site that was not a dating site.

Other social networking sites soon saw the potential as Friendster reached a staggering 3 million users. This led to other social networking sites such as:

  • Myspace
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

During the 21st Century, social networking continued to grow and now the majority of people use social networking in their everyday lives.


Social network sites began for the few who had the technical knowledge and the access to a computer. Now most people have access to the internet as this technology has become mobile with the use of mobile phones and tablets. This growth of technology has led to many people having more than one social networking site and use it all the while.