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5 Social Media Platforms & When They Started

What did popular social networks look like when they were first released?

Well, not great. I mean everyone has to start somewhere but it just goes to show how far such a good idea can get you.

To be fair we didn’t know any better when the websites came out, and I’m judging these now. I bet in 10 years we’ll be looking back on the layout of Facebook thinking “how was this even functional?” and I’ll be there writing another blog.

So let’s take a look at how social media platforms looked when they were first released:

LinkedIn – 2003


No name change for LinkedIn; it’s kept the same name since birth. In late 2002, Reid Hoffman recruited a team of old colleagues from SocialNet and PayPal to work on a new idea. Six months later, LinkedIn was launched. Growth was slow at first – as few as 20 signups on some days. It just shows how far they’ve come, as the biggest professional network was recently bought out by Microsoft for £18m. Sadly LinkedIn has no extremely awesome backstory, just like it’s users, it’s strictly professional.

TheFacebook – 2004


Facebook (Formerly known as ‘TheFacebook’) was founded by Mark Zuckerberg with fellow students Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes at Harvard College. The colour scheme has stayed reasonably consistent, but clearly, lots been added with things like messenger, video, games & check-ins, amongst others.

Facebook was originally made for only people in colleges to meet and share pictures. Mark did have a project before TheFacebook though. It worked as a ‘Hot or not’ website – where the user would decide who was hotter out of the two people shown on the screen, which was called Facemash and was only used by people from Harvard College. Facemash attracted 450 visitors and 22,000 photo-views in its first 4 hours online but, unsurprisingly, led to Zuckerberg’s expulsion from the college.

YouTube – 2005


YouTube, the king of online video platforms, first came to life in 2005 and is not only a strong social network but also the second biggest search platform after Google. When it first launched in 2005 it was nothing like it is now, the design of the website was ugly and they didn’t even have a transparent logo. Videos would have been so much easier to find though because of the lack of content on the site at the time. They now have 7 billion hours of video watched every month and would take you 4 days of non-stop viewing to watch every video uploaded in the past 60 seconds… Amazing right?

Twttr – 2006


Apparently, vowels were too mainstream for Twitter when it was first launched. Yep, that’s right, it was called ‘Twittr’ for the first six months after release, but only because the URL ‘twitter.com’ had already been taken. Jack Dorsey (CEO of Twitter) sent out his first ever tweet at 8:50 pm on the 21st March 2006 saying ‘Just setting up my twttr’, the platform’s first tweet ever to go out. Twttr might not be as cool as Facebook’s origin, but I still love it.

Instagram – 2010


Founded by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger and later bought by Facebook before becoming the “#1 Photo Social Platform”. Instagram isn’t that old but the layout and design have changed so much, especially after the new update changing the logo etc. The way the platform works has basically stayed the same but it’s mostly the design that’s changed. Instagram got a lot better when Facebook bought it because Instagram video was introduced along with direct messaging. So with 16 billion shared photos, 150 million monthly, 1.2 billion likes every day and 55 million photos per day, Instagram has come a long way.

Pictaboo – 2011


Not many people at all know that Snapchat was once called ‘Pictaboo’. It shocked me as well and apparently it was only called Pictaboo for about a month while the only people that had the app back then were close family and friends of Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy and Reggie Brown (The founders of Snapchat). The name was changed to Snapchat when more and more people began to download the app. It was released in mid-2011 and has recently overtaken Twitter on daily visitors, reaching 150 million daily users.

What do you think?

Who do you think has come the furthest and do you think we’ll be writing this same blog 10 years from now about today? Tweet us your replies to @Plus24Marketing.