Find out what The New York Times wrote about Social Media 10 years ago

Posted by on Dec 3, 2013 in Social Media | 0 comments

I guess the brisk march of technology is going to make all us look ridiculous eventually, so it’s really to the New York Times’s credit that its first article on social networks looks as good as it does now, 10 years after it was first published.

Sure, the words “social network” appeared in the paper earlier than that as a reference to, I don’t know, people or something. But an article from November 27, 2003 by Michael Erard is the earliest reference to online social networks that I found. Naturally, it’s an article about Friendster, and it mostly talks about Burning Man.

Ms. Boyd explained Friendster this way: ”It allows you to purposely say who the people in your world are and to allow them to see each other, through a connection of you.” An individual registered at Friendster has a home page with photos, a brief profile and photos of people to whom they have agreed to link. That person can then browse his or her network or search it for dates or activity partners.

The article warns about catfishing, albeit under the name “Fakesters,” and talks about a marketing consultant who invented a woman.

But far and away the most fascinating part of article is the list of all the social networks that were popular at the time. There’s no Facebook, no Twitter; there is however, LinkedIn, which at the time didn’t include photos on profiles.

Social networks are a lot like celebrities. Their power comes from people thinking about them. Sometimes rebranding and relaunching works, other times once the zeitgeist moves on, it moves on. I’m sure people thought Friendster was a permanent part of life, and I’m sure to someone in Indonesia it still does. But in America, it’s pretty much a punch line.

 

See the Original Story here

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