A History Lesson In Social Media


Settle down, class. Today’s lesson is about the history of social media (moans and groans from the class).

There, their, they’re. Can you tell the difference? This is what will differentiate you from the rest of the class. (silence blankets the room).

The words, “Society, tribe, team, group, mob, band, Republicans, Democrats…or whatever, all refer to some sort of social network with similar interests at heart. More importantly, they all trust one another (with the exception of Republicans and Democrats).

Human beings are social. They have always liked to interact since caveman days.

Let’s start with LinkedIn. It was founded in 2002 and launched in May, 2003. Started by a former PayPal VP, along with a few other individuals, the typical LinkedIn member is 41 years old, earns over $100,000 a year (not you? join the group and grab and flaming club). 64% of its members are male. So that means the people holding the flaming clubs are probably women, with over 80% being college graduates.

kevin baconKevin Bacon had a huge impact on LinkedIn’s proposition. It’s called the “Kevin Bacon effect.” This was based on a trivia game called “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” in which a player names an actor in a movie, then an actor who has stored with that actor, then an actor who has starred with the second actor….you get my point. This all started with a comment Kevin had said back in 1994 when he said that, “He had worked with everybody in Hollywood, or someone who’s worked with them.”


Let’s go onto spam. Mmmmm…..SPAM. No, actually, the CAN-SPAM act started in 2004. It applies to commercial email messages only. The term SPAM originally comes from the meat produced by Hormel. SPAM means spiced ham for short, because…well…that’s what it is. How does the canned SPAM we all know and maybe love,  correlate with email spam? For some reason, people who received email that they didn’t ask for (Unsolicited commercial email, or UCE), has no value or substance inside for the recipient.

I would imagine that Hormel felt pretty pissed off about this.

And they were.

Even though they didn’t object to the term “spam” being used for unsolicited emails, thespamy did ask that the term be used in all lower-case letters since Hormel’s trademark was all upper-case. The CAN-SPAM act states that someone who sends emails has to be honest. It forbids the use of false header information, the “From” line must be real, and you have to allow someone to unsubscribe to the email.

What about those blogs?

Do you know where the word, “Blog” derived from? It means web log for short. There were actually plenty of blogs out there from 1983 – 1990, even before HTTP was common. Remember GEnie, EarthLink, Prodigy and ComputerServe? These all were ISP’s that had some sort of bulletin board system, or a rough draft of the blog that we know and love today.

Podcasts and the iPod

For some odd reason, whenever I hear the word, “Pod,” all I can think of is the movie, “Aliens.” Anyway, I digress.

First radio, that RIFF, .wav and then MP3’s. The latter was the defacto standard  fitting a 3 1/2 minute song into roughtly 3.5 MB with no loss of quality while reducing the size by ten times from previously used formats.

ipodWhen the birth of the iPod came into existence in 2001, it was meant to mean a self contained gadget for the internet. As you can imagine (and to spare me from carpel tunnel syndrome from typing all that has emerged from the iPod), it has changed the way we live, interact and even do business.

The iPod was actually the brainchild of a former General Magic and Phillips employee, Tony Fadell, who thought up a small hard drive based player that linked with a content delivery system where people could obtain and download music. Fadell left Phillips in 2001 to create his own firm called, “Fuse.” Thereafter, Tony made a deal with Apple and created the iPod based on a redesign by Mr. Jobs himself and a few other Apple players.

To create an audio podcast, all you need is your computer, the built-in microphone, free audio recording and editing software that came with  your computer and your brain’s creativity center. Hit record. Hit save. Upload to a website for internet distribution and you’re all set.

There is so much more, but I’m tired of typing. Your homework assignment for today is to research about photo sharing and creating videos.

It’s martini time. Class dismissed.


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