The evolution of social networking has always fascinated me. I still remember the “good old days” of high school (around 2005 or so) when everyone started using this thing called Xanga (pronounced “zanga”). You could start your own online journal, connect with your friends in groups called “blogrings”, comment on their journals, and give them something called “eProps” (similar to the “like” button on Facebook) if they posted something you particularly enjoyed. Everyone was “up in everyone else’s business.”
Then there was the mass migration to MySpace around 2006/2007. I think everyone left Xanga because it was mostly a platform for blogging and writing journal entries. A lot of the people I knew who had been on Xanga really didn’t like to write whole entries. They’d write a few lines and that would be it. MySpace offered a whole new array of services: blogging, posting pictures, comments, and a profile that utilized HTML and was therefore 100% customizable (not like Xanga’s pre-designed templates). MySpace just had more. There wasn’t so much of a focus on blogging and writing.
Then Facebook came about and took over the Internet. In late 2008 and early 2009, everyone was starting to get on Facebook. I think we were all tired of ugly, cluttered MySpace profiles – people abused the HTML feature and added so much stuff that each MySpace profile would take ages to load. Facebook was a much simpler and cleaner interface and had many of the same features as MySpace. It didn’t seem as time-consuming as MySpace because there was no HTML code you could add and no customizable layouts. As more and more people discovered Facebook and created profiles, the more time-consuming it became. There were more friends to check up on, more pictures to be uploaded, more profiles to stalk… and Facebook added games.
Now it feels like we can’t live without social networking in some form. It’s become one of the primary ways we communicate with friends and those who live far from us. Kids as young as 12 have never really known life without social media. Everyone knows what everyone else is up to and we can all be found online in some capacity. That’s a little scary.
How much of your life do you share online? Is social media an annoyance, useful, or both? What social media platform did you start with? Which is your favorite? 🙂