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Timewarp: Five Years of Social Media Evolution

Say we stepped into a time machine and it took us to 15 years ago. What a strange world: Facebook was just getting off the ground, a tweet was simply the sound a bird makes and your idea of photo sharing was likely sifting through a scrapbook on your mom’s bookshelf.

Fast forward to today, with an ever-changing and seemingly growing social media world. In a time of constant connectedness, it’s tough to stop and reflect on where we started.

So, let’s take a jump to the left and a step to the right and review how things have changed.

We’re Facebook Official

From humble beginnings in Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard College dorm room in 2004 to transforming into a multibillion-dollar company, Facebook is now the worldwide social media leader, boasting more than 2 billion users. According to a Pew Research Center study, 69 percent of adults in the United States said they use Facebook. That’s a lot of folks sharing photos of their exotic vacation and not-so-exotic dinner.

Through the years, Facebook has rolled out many facelifts to keep up with the evolution and needs of users, including businesses and brands. In 2014, Facebook’s new layout included a revamped News Feed and updated advertising technologies. A year later, the platform incorporated a new algorithm in an attempt to filter out false or misleading content. During the 2016 presidential election, the algorithm turned out to be a bust, as fake news and information spread wildly on the site. Today and if you’re wondering how we’ve landed on the current layout, the News Feed has been blended into the regular timeline, offering breaking news alongside those exotic vacation photos.

Despite a few bumps in the road, Facebook is constantly working to improve technologies to stay at the forefront of data privacy, life updates and photo sharing with consumers and brands around the world. And, what that means for your brand, is that you need to stay on top of these updates/changes, too.

As a throwback, check out the graphic below to see the site’s layout differences. My oh my, how times have changed (and hopefully your strategies have too).

Credit: TabSite
Credit: TabSite

Let’s Tweet About It (Briefly, Please)

Launched in 2006, Twitter has become one of the largest social media platforms in the world. Offering a similar platform to Facebook, Twitter differed with one important factor: share what you want, but you only use 140 characters. With that in mind, we’ll keep this short.

Twitter offers consumers and businesses an interface that is user-friendly, and recently, launched a “night mode” for those scrolling the timeline while half-asleep (or not wanting to strain their eyes with a bright, white backdrop). Live-tweeting and streaming events was born on Twitter and serves as an excellent way for a brand to hop on a trend because of the quick nature of the platform. Staying updated with Twitter and current events is essential for any brand and can be quite impactful (e.g. Oreo’s infamous “dunk in the dark” tweet during the Super Bowl in 2013).

While Twitter’s interface hasn’t changed too, too much since 2015, they have added a number of User-friendly tools, including a powerful Insights platform (for businesses to track their engagement, followers, interactions and more).

Credit: dominiquej.wordpress.com
Credit: dominiquej.wordpress.com

Double Tap That #NoFilter Pic

From stunning photography to your dad’s blurry dinner photo, Instagram serves as the premiere app for photo and video sharing. Launched in 2010 exclusively for Apple products (iPhone, iPad, etc.), features such as hashtags, trends, filters, double tapping and the ever-popular Instagram Stories have made the app one of the most popular among young adults and teens around the world.

In 2015, Instagram opened the floodgates to allow ads. Stemming from that launch, brand partnerships and sponsored content has allowed social media influencers to flock to Instagram, generating millions in advertising revenue a year. In early 2019, the app launched “branded content ads,” allowing businesses and influencers to conduct targeted digital advertising, similar to Facebook.

As innocently as it began, Instagram has ballooned into a tech giant where influencers thrive. Check out the original Instagram app icon vs. the current. #Memories.

Credit: Digital Synopsis

As social media grows, it’s important to remember how far we’ve come (even in the last five years!), what’s working (and what isn’t) and what’s coming up next.

If you’re ready to jump into the modern social media age or need a major refresher, Give us a ring at 702.739.9933 or email us at newbusiness@thefirmpr.com to get started.

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The Firm has played an invaluable role as the NHBC established itself in 2020. As our board and limited staff moved toward the groundbreaking of our first project, The Firm team planned effortlessly with the NHBC and our partner, the UNLV School of Medicine to announce not only our organization but a project that will assist to buoy and progress academic medicine and health care in our community.

Maureen ShaferPresident and CEONevada Health and Bioscience Corporation (NHBC)