GeoCities was one of the Internet's earliest social networking websites, appearing in November 1994, followed by Classmates in December 1995, Six Degrees in May 1997, Open Diary in October 1998, LiveJournal in April 1999, Ryze in October 2001, Friendster in March 2002, LinkedIn in May 2003, hi5 in June 2003, MySpace in August 2003, Orkut in January 2004, Facebook in February 2004, Yahoo! 360° in March 2005, Bebo in July 2005, Twitter in July 2006, Tumblr in February 2007, and Google+ in July 2011. As operating systems with a graphical user interface, such as Windows 95 and Mac OS begin to emerge and gain popularity, this created an environment that allows for early social media platforms to thrive and exist.
Still, refuseniks such as Johnson may not be outliers for ever. In a world in which everyone is online, renouncing social media is a renegade, countercultural move: as quietly punk as shaving your head or fastening your clothes with safety-pins. Morgan has become a svengali for classmates wanting to escape. “My friends come to me and say: ‘Tyreke, I don’t have social media any more,’ and I go: ‘Why? I thought that’s what you guys do.’ And they say: ‘Thanks to you, because of the things you said and the stuff you’re doing.’ It’s quite cool.”
To get the most out of social media, make the relationships you build with it your end goal. That might sound a bit utopian for anyone who is grounded in more traditional and tangible business measurement and metrics, but take a step back from the bottom-line, ROI-seeking aspect to look at the big picture for a minute. The relationships built with customers are the foundations upon which other aspects of your business can and will flourish.
Quitting social media is a determined move: apps including Facebook and Instagram are designed to be addictive. “Social media is so ingrained in teenage culture that it’s hard to take it out. But when you do, it’s such a relief,” Amanuel says. She has received a lot of “admiration” from her peers for quitting. “They wish they were able to log off. People feel like social media is a part of them and their identities as teenagers and something you need to do,” she says. “But I’m no less of a teenager because I don’t use it.”
Social media content is generated through social media interactions done by the users through the site. There has always been a huge debate on the ownership of the content on social media platforms because it is generated by the users and hosted by the company. Added to this is the danger to security of information, which can be leaked to third parties with economic interests in the platform, or parasites who comb the data for their own databases. The author of Social Media Is Bullshit, Brandon Mendelson, claims that the "true" owners of content created on social media sites only benefits the large corporations who own those sites and rarely the users that created them.
Social media is being used in a range of court cases including employment law, child custody/child support and insurance disability claims. After an Apple employee criticized his employer on Facebook, he was fired. When the former employee sued Apple for unfair dismissal, the court, after seeing the man's Facebook posts, found in favour of Apple, as the man's social media comments breached Apple's policies. After a heterosexual couple broke up, the man posted "violent rap lyrics from a song that talked about fantasies of killing the rapper’s ex-wife" and made threats against him. The court found him guilty and he was sentenced to jail. In a disability claims case, a woman who fell at work claimed that she was permanently injured; the employer used her social media posts of her travels and activities to counter her claims.
One of the biggest mistakes retailers make is to open up accounts on every social media platform they think is relevant and then leave them alone with no activity. Having an account with any of the social media platforms does not mean your business is into social media any more than owning golf clubs makes you ready for the PGA. In fact, social media users are turned off by the retailer who opens accounts and does not engage with clients and the public and consequently become labeled a pretender.
Networks formed through social media change the way groups of people interact and communicate. They "introduce substantial and pervasive changes to communication between organizations, communities, and individuals." These changes are the focus of the emerging fields of technoself studies. Social media differ from paper-based media (e.g., magazines and newspapers) and traditional electronic media such as TV broadcasting in many ways, including quality, reach, frequency, interactivity, usability, immediacy, and performance. Social media outlets operate in a dialogic transmission system (many sources to many receivers). This is in contrast to traditional media which operates under a monologic transmission model (one source to many receivers), such as a newspaper which is delivered to many subscribers, or a radio station which broadcasts the same programs to an entire city. Some of the most popular social media websites are Facebook (and its associated Facebook Messenger), Instagram, WhatsApp, Google+, Myspace, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, Tumblr, Twitter, Viber, VK, WeChat, Weibo, Baidu Tieba, and Wikia. These social media websites have more than 100,000,000 registered users.