While researching this article, I posted on Facebook about what I was working on. Something I wouldn’t have even thought about ten years ago; social media wasn’t even on my radar then. 

Today, it is so much a part of our lives that I wonder (and hope) that this is something that you will share in your own social media feed.

To think of what “might be” a few years from now is barely fathomable but really exciting! I remember listening to the keynote speaker at the 1990 Seybold Conference talk about how books in the future would be enjoyed on electronic readers, and thinking, “not in my lifetime would electronic readers replace printed books.” We all know how that turned out.

Let’s go back and hit the high points from the past ten years. Below is a visual infographic timeline followed by a more detailed look at each year! Pay close attention to the ones that were launched in 2012; some of them have a lot of potential to be game changers!



Although there were a couple of social media sites before, the Facebook was launched for students at Harvard College. At the time, it was more of an “also ran” being tagged as a Friendster for college students.

MySpace also launched this year and reached one million users in a few short months.

Digg was founded as a social news site for people to share news stories they found on the Internet.

Flickr image hosting was launched. Store your photos and follow others in the Flikr community.

LinkedIn, a social network for business professionals, launched the year before and was still finding its way.


TheFacebook becomes just Facebook and launches a high school version. Seeing the limitations with high schoolers, it expands membership to the employees of several large companies.

YouTube.com is activated in February and the first video, Me at the Zoo, was uploaded on April 23.

Reddit is launched as a social media and news website where registered users can submit content or post links.


Twitter is launched. Your life in 140 characters.

MySpace was (briefly) the most visited website. However, it was quickly being eclipsed by Facebook, which opens registration to anyone 13 or over with a valid email address.


Tumblr, another microblogging site, is launched and within two weeks has 75,000 users.


Facebook becomes the leader as the most visited website, surpassing MySpace.

Social media becomes a key factor in the presidential election.


Pinterest is founded but doesn’t officially launch until 2010.

Facebook turns on the “Like” button and establishes a metric for determining the value of content.

Foursquare, a location based social networking site, is launched with limited availability.


Instagram comes on the scene, along with the official launch of Pinterest.

Google launches Buzz. A social networking site integrated with Gmail.

Foursquare changes its service to allow check-ins from any location.


Google’s Buzz is abandoned in order for them to focus on Google+.

Google+ launches with much anticipation and by “invitation only”.

Pinterest gains interest (The site’s traffic increased by 429% in 2011)

Google+ is open to everyone. (No invitation necessary.)

Snapchat is launched allowing users to send photos or videos to friends with a set time limit for viewing (typically 1-10 seconds).


Vine video sharing service is founded and acquired by Twitter prior to its official launch.

Facebook reaches one billion users.

Pheed is launched, a subscription based social media platform, gives users the option to monetize their “pheeds”.

Sulia, a social network that allows users to subscribe and connect based on specific topics, is launched. Rather than posting content out to your friends and acquaintances (like Facebook or Twitter), connections are made over similar interests in subject matter.

Thumb, a social media network designed around crowdsourcing opinions is born.


Medium, a blogging platform that was originally a private social network for established writers and thought leaders, is now open to everyone.

Kleek – a social network within Facebook. Allows you to create a private network within Facebook of your closest friends.

Viddy, video based social media sharing, begins to gain traction. Due in part to the popularity of Instagram.


Atmospheir (you had to know this was coming) is a social media contact manager that separates your personal from your professional contacts and gives each contact a single ID under which everything is listed.

Learnist is somewhat similar to Pinterest (so it seems) but with all types of content: videos, articles, images and webinars.

And Beyond...

Already thinking of how some of these new tools could help you reach your audience? So am I… Stay tuned.

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Originally published Aug 8, 2014 10:00:00 AM, updated October 29 2019


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