SNS timeline


This week the ubiquitous Google has reeled out another extension to its empire, the social networking site, Google Buzz.

Social networking sites (SNSs) are web services allowing people to create semi-public profiles within a bounded system; create a list of users with whom they share a connection and can interact; view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system. Here’s a look at the potted history of the humble beginnings and not-so-humble global takeover of the SNS.

1997: SixDegress.com launched by A. Weinrich, allowing users to create profiles.

1998: SixDegrees allowed surfing other users’ Friend lists, the first community site (the SNS’s previous incarnation) to do this.

1999: LiveJournal, AisanAvenue and BlackPlanet launched

2000: despite millions of users, SixDegrees closed due to insustainability. LunarStorm relaunched as SNS.

2001: Ryze launched.

2002: Fotolog, Friendster and Skyblog launched.

2003: Couchsurfing, LinkedIn, Tribe.net, Last.FM, Hi5, Open BC/Xing all launched, but notably so did MySpace, whose Santa Monica launch at the time was barely noticed. MySpace was designed to compete with Friendster, Xanga and AisanAvenue.

2004: Flickr, Mixi, Piczo, Orkut, Dogster, Catster, Hyves, Multiply, aSmallWorld, Dodgeball, Care2 (SNS relaunch) and Facebook (Harvard only) launched.

2005: Yahoo!360, Cyworld (China), Ning, YouTube, Xanga (SNS relaunch), Bebo, Facebook (high school networks) launched, AisanAvenue and BlackPlanet relaunched. Bebo became the most popular SNS in the UK, NZ and Australia and many community and dating sites had by now incorporated SNS features.

2006: Windows Live Spaces, Twitter, Cyworld (US), MyChurch launched and Facebook expanded to corporate networks and then to everyone.

2009: Yahoo!360 closed.

2010: Cyworld withdrew US service. Google Buzz launched by….

Information gleaned from: D. M. Boyd & N. B. Ellison (2006) here and the all-knowing Google here.

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