The first thing we need to focus on here is that social networking is NOT something new, nor does it define the recent Web 2.0 craze in any way.
In fact the whole concept of what Web 2.0 really means has been so widely distorted that many marketers and web designers are now using it to help promote products and services that have NOTHING to do with what Web 2.0 really means.
Even the ever popular Wikipedia defines Web 2.0 as “a perceived second generation of web-based communities and hosted services (such as social-networking sites, wikis, blogs, and folksonomies) which aim to facilitate creativity, collaboration, and sharing between users”. You’ll notice that the term “perceived” is one of first words used, as much of what we have come to believe is reality is based on our perception, but in truth social networking is far more than that.
To show this Wikipedia further goes on to say; “Although the term suggests a new version of the World Wide Web, it does not refer to an update to any technical specifications, but to changes in the ways software developers and end-users use webs. Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the Internet as platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform.”
Summing up the last two statements from Wikipedia you’ll notice that social networking and the social networks and platforms are not anything new. What is new and what does feed in to the Web 2.0 craze that has recently made many of these social networks so popular is the easy to use platforms that allows the end user access to a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) graphic user interface once they sign up and log in to their favorite social networking websites.
Again the concept here is NOT new. Social networks have existed since the early days of the internet with bulletin boards, which later lead to the early days of what we now call blogging and forums. You could post your message to viewers back then, just as you can now. The difference with social networking today when using the new WYSIWYG platform is that you can now easily add your own images, animations, videos, audios, squeeze pages (for lead generation to build an email list) and polls. Depending on which of social networks that you join the possibilities are stammering compared to the “old way” of social networking online.
To show that social networking and the social networks are not new by any means I have done just a little bit of research to reveal how far back many of these websites go.
MySpace – Registered Feb. 22 1996
Friendster – Registered March 22 2002
Facebook – Registered March 29 1997
MyYearBook – Registered Nov. 01 2000
Hi5 – Registered June 27 1996
Tagged – Registered July 10 1998
Fubar – Registered Oct. 24 1997
Taking this same concept more in to the Web 2.0 era the social networking website have created a multitude of video oriented social networks, but again this is nothing new.
YouTube – Registered Feb. 15 2005
Badoo – Registered May 26 2003
Bebo – Registered July 15 2003
As you can tell YouTube was NOT the first to start the video social networking niche. While I only have two listed below YouTube in my list about there were several other social networks that also came along well before they did. The one thing that the creators of YouTube did better than any of the others that came before them was to actually TAKE ACTION and use the social networking skills that everyone else was trying to claim they were experts at.
I’m sure that what they did was to research their niche, where they probably learned the same things that I did. Most of the social networking website that were trying to establish their own on-site social networks were NOT just registering their own websites for 1 or 2 years. In fact, many of them are registered at least until 2010. Some of them are registered even further out and have their own servers that are dedicated ONLY to their social networking websites to give the various social networks that are developed a better quality of service.
Why are they doing this you may ask? Because the advertising revenue brought in alone for them is so high that they can’t turn away from it. With millions upon millions of people world wide going to their websites 24 hours a day they are making money hand over fist, much the same way that the search engines were long before they came along.
This brings us to another point, let us look at the “big three”; Google, Yahoo! and MSN, which laid the foreground for the social networking websites that came after them. There have been social networks since long before the search engines first decided to set up their “groups”, but taking people off of bulletin boards and bringing them in to the mainstream where here were literally millions of visitors daily was a no brainer. The transition was easily predictable, but again this goes back to what I’ve been saying all along. Social networking, social networks and what we have come to know as Web 2.0 are nothing new.