Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither were our favorite social media platforms. The original versions of Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are almost unrecognizable to today’s counterparts, and in many cases lacked the key features we’ve come to relish and rely on (such as Facebook’s Like button).
Let’s take a social media step back and see just how far we’ve come.
Twitter, which now has over 280 million users, was once a company without vowels. Its presence on the Internet started off with a “gooey” logo, far from the sleek and refined look Twitter maintains today. At one point, it was easier to text Twitter updates from your phone than to post from their website. This was due to uptime issues that Twitter continually suffered from, which lead to the (almost) endearing “fail whale.” In the beginning, Twitter also lacked features we’ve grown to expect and love such as favorites, retweets, search, and hashtags.
The goliath of social networking didn’t always have the ever-present “Like” button we now see all over the web. Actually, Facebook didn’t even invent it. FriendFeed, a social networking site later acquired by Facebook, created the first version of the like button which would come to dominate the web. Facebook also used FriendFeed’s real-time technology to serve up the photos, content, and links you see in your News Feed today. Added bonus: you can now post a status update in the first person, without finishing the sentence “Joe is …. ”
Admittedly, LinkedIn has never been on the cutting edge, but it has markedly improved over the past few years. While LinkedIn’s core focus has always been your online resumé, it has expanded its feature set immensely with the ability to add images, content, and media to your job descriptions. LinkedIn also has its own blogging network to which you can contribute. Adding your two cents enables you to become a thought leader in your industry, sharing advice, sales tactics, and personal stories with your professional peers.
We can expect these social networks, and others, to change significantly over the next five years as well. Who knows what feature or button we won’t be able to imagine living without next.