NoW & THEN: THE TIMEline of Social Media



Is it hard to connect with your friends in different countries? The answer might be No. In recent decades, social media has taken an essential part of our life. We share our ideas or opinions through social media such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to communicate with our online community easily. For this Lab project, I chose to investigate the history of social media. Over time, are there any changes in the method of communicating with each other? Additionally, are there any important inventions of social media impact on today’s human behavior and society? I would see in the positive side that social media helps us to connect with each other more easily than before. The lifestyle we live today has more rich information because the growth of social media which helps us to get inspired from the information, build connections with people, or even start new inventions to make our life better.

Investigating process

Research the lists of essential historical events of social media

While I research from a few articles that discussed the history of social media online, one of the impressive articles is written by  Christopher McFadden. He not only listed over 20 important events of social media but also explained how these important events have impact on society.

Choose the impactful events to fill in the spreadsheet

I choose 15 important events to showcase the changes in using social media from Christopher McFadden’s article. As I found there are many similar events of social media, so I choose the more impactful one to add into my timeline.  I surprised to see the first communicating tool in the 500.BC was the Cooke and Wheatstone electric telegraph. The communication is very written base which means the people in the past didn’t have much visual information like today. Until 1945, the technological explosion we can see on the computer which is similar to what the social media we use for today. It is absolutely more visual driven than the electric telegraph. I think these changes explained the differences between us and our grandparent. As the result, we don’t need to predict words we heard from our imagination but we can understand or learn the meaning more deeply from the visual language such as image, videos, and words. Wikipedia is one of the important choices in my timeline project because the Wikipedia provides an online encyclopedia system that is contributed from everyone, and at the same time, everyone gains the knowledge or information from this open resources platform. Unlike other social media tool, Wikipedia doesn’t seem very obvious in the ways of communications. But this platform really connects the like-mind people together such as an online community. During research, I also surprised to see the LinkedIn website are launched earlier than Facebook. I have a question popped up in my mind that if people have more serious need to connect with others in the field of work than other leisure activity? Additionally, I don’t want to miss the launch of Facebook in 2006. It was originally built to shorten the distance between people. It also gave me a meaning that our social media really turns our conversation in real life digitally. The last event I choose for future social media is going to be uncertainty. The reasons might be caused by the downsides of social media to make our life be more controlled. And due to social media, we are more away from people in real life. Will social media become less important in the future? Or any other new tool will replace today’s social media? So I choose this event to give the audience an imaginary space to predict the social media’s future.

Research articles:

A Chronological History of Social Media
Timeline of social media
The History of Social Media: Social Networking Evolution!
The History of Social Media

Use Verite Timeline To Produce Timeline

Final Outcome

Verite Timeline is a very effective tool to produce a timeline. It is very recommended to everyone who wants to present a topic of history or timeline to show how each event impacts each other in a certain period of time. Project Link

Result & Reflection & The Future

This is the first simple data visualization project for me, I felt very excited to see the result because it is very clear to see the progress of social media in the period of time. It didn’t only show the details of the events, but also it told the connections between each event. For example, LiveJournal (First Blog)  in 1999 may influence the launch of WordPress today. In the future, if I want to add more features into this project, I would like to emphasize the start date and the end date in the description in order to give more information on the connections of each event for the audience. Additionally, I also want to add customized codes to make them visually appealing better.