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Social media: new ways to network!

We’re back with the next instalment of our social media history lesson. Today, we’ll cover the release of social media giant Facebook and the beginning of the most important business network you can now have – LinkedIn…

Where did we leave off? That’s right, last time we left you in a world of hurt, listening to the infamous AOL dial up tone (something that many of you will have missed out on…which isn’t fair might I add!) Many of us had to listen to that our entire childhoods before we could even consider ‘Googling’ something. Nowadays, all you have to do is unlock your phone and voila, the world is at your fingertips…

Google searchbarBelieve it or not, the online world hasn’t always been like this, and the likes of Facebook and Twitter haven’t always existed – in fact there was a time when people would actually have to meet with one another to socialise! However, that soon changed with the introduction of sites such as GeoCities, a personal homepage service, or SixDegrees, a very early version of the Facebook we know and love.

None of these ventures took off in the way that Myspace – a predecessor to Facebook – did. The site allowed its users to create a customisable page devoted to the things they loved. Combining information, messages, news stories and music all thrown together in one place… so this happened:

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What even is this?!

Unfortunately, for its creators, the calamity that ensued after allowing users the ability to fully customise (read: mess up) their profiles proved too much of an issue to recover from. In 2008, Facebook surpassed Myspace in terms of unique monthly users, then soon after in everything else as well… But before we get to the giant that is Facebook, there’s one more stop on the social journey…
Prepare to don your shirt and tie, because this ones for the pros.

In terms of business networking, the only real option was to go out and actively network. However, in May 2003, LinkedIn changed the way professionals interact with one another. By creating ‘connections’, users have the ability to recognise other professionals who they may have worked with previously, currently, or would like to in the near future …Almost like the world’s largest rolodex (but slightly more shiny and a-lot less papery).

LinkedIn has all but disposed of physical first impressions by allowing users to create their own first impression online. Sharing their credentials, abilities and skills through a public or private profile, with the option to have those chosen skills ‘endorsed’ by their ‘connections’. So what are you waiting for?

 

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LinkedIn is a particularly powerful tool when you’re comparing candidates for job vacancies, or for checking the credentials of a competitor business’s employees. LinkedIn has basically allowed for an online business world to be created, with shared content, job searching capabilities and even research benefits. However, although LinkedIn may have revolutionised the business world, it hasn’t done nearly as much as one of the other social networking giants of our time…

On February 4th 2004, a young Harvard Psychology student, Mark Zuckerburg, founded a social networking site named Facebook. Zuckerburg changed the face of social interaction for years to come with the introduction of Facebook. This social media site is so massive it even has its own film:

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Many other similarly annoying things began to happen as well. For example, the ability to poke one another incessantly for no other reason than to gain that person’s attention…

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Now I know Facebook is one of the most important web developments of our time, but seriously… poking one another? Should that have really been a phase? Ok ok, so I shouldn’t complain; (although many of the past Facebook phases have been extremely annoying – such as the FarmVille phase) there are obviously many more advantages to having a site such as Facebook than there are disadvantages. For example, the ability to seamlessly communicate through text, sound and video content all whilst searching for news, checking social updates and catching up on the most recent entertainment revelations. What IS good, Miley?

Facebook has been rather an important player in the social communications landscape, but arguably maybe not as much as next week’s featured platform. It’s the one we love to hate, and it can be forever frustrating trying to fit everything you want to say into 140 characters. But at the end of the day, if you want to be at the forefront of social interaction, Twitter is the place to be…

Find out why next week!

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