I came across an article from Dan Schawbell’s Personal Branding site “Could Your Social Media “Expert” Be a Fake?” that got me thinking about the history of social media and my own place within it.
The article was guest written by Scott Bradley, and the prompt for my thinking came from his bio which read in part, “a 4+ year experienced social media strategist”. Under five years, experienced, yes, but not what we traditionally think of in business as most experienced.
In fact, five years is a tremendously long time in social media, or Web 2.0.
I went back through the notes I kept as NewsOverCoffee developed, and checked user accounts and old email for dates I joined, or started using, various services. There were far too many to include them all, but it opened my eyes.
I created timelines for Social Media, Google Product Adoption, and Placeblogging. As a quick reminder, because we tend to think these services were here forever, blog services were first rolled out from 1997-1999 and Web 2.0 is roughly attributed to beginning in 2004 by most sources. Considering it is mid-2009, five years experience is pretty long in this space.
Placeblogging evolved from blogging as users applied the blog tool to fill needs that otherwise went unaddressed.
Sorry for the small print, visit the Nunamaker Interactive Web site for a larger image, but as you’ll see, in 2005 when I launched what I called a hyper-local community web site, only 25% of internet users had ever read a blog and only 9% had created one.
Additionally, Lisa Williams, whose H20Town is widely recognized as one of the earliest placeblogs, launched first quarter of 2005. She went on to be a co-founder of Placeblogger.com.
What that means is everyone who was placeblogging then was doing it independent of one another. We didn’t even know we were ‘placeblogging’. Those discussions came in mid to late 2006 as Citizen Journalism became a hot topic and academics, as well as media professionals, began looking at what was happening.
Having created, crafted, strategized, and grown my site (those views are annual in the chart) from 17,500 in 2006 to 109,378 in 2008, I’d think I’d land in the experienced/expert range for this space.
Web 2.0/Social Media
In its simplest terms, Web 2.0 is about collaboration and interaction. Wider adoption by users began in 2004, but as noted above, blogs, along with wikis arrived for the public right before and into the early 2000 period.
My entrance to social media came from wiki’s, bookmark sharing, and blogs. In early 2004, at a friend’s prompting, I started looking at Wikipedia. The ‘fairness’ of the content got me to believe that you could trust users. Now it was a small community at the time, so scaling to a broader audience would be the test, and today I remain impressed by the people who continue to add content and monitor pages.
After exploring in 2004, I jumped right into the mix in 2005. I started blogging daily, a personal ‘vanity’ blog, but I did it to understand how the blogosphere worked. I started using xWiki, which was then a free service and has since switched to a pay-only service, and I began using Del.icio.us and joined the listserve.
The listserve was amazing, because it gave you an insider look as the product was beging developed and fine-tuned. I also got to share in the congrats to founder Joshua Schacter when Yahoo! bought it from him.
I joined and used LinkedIn as my networking platform. I tried several others such as Ryze, but felt this one was the best for the industry sector I was in. I recently joined Facebook and Twitter.
I wanted to see if there was an application for my association via Twitter, so I created an account for my placeblog to experiment. I joined Facebook, because I knew I had to understand it, and so many of my friends and family encouraged me to do so. Turns out there were more than a few out there, and it has been fun catching up with them, but more importantly I’ve quickly come to understand the generational use differences, which is critical for business application.
Google Product Adoption
If you are online, you must understand and explore what Google offers and what they are working on. The products are both collaborative and in support of the platforms you collaborate with. I probably missed many of the ones I use, but here is the final timeline:
Interesting to me that all of these things are essentially less than ten years old, and to most users, less than five. Looking at it in this perspective helps explain why, when I initially tried launching my placeblog people just didn’t get it. Aggregate news? Share? Comment? Blank stares all around. Now it is all we do. Can’t wait for Web 3.0.