By Cassie | February 6, 2013
AIM -> MySpace -> Facebook -> Twitter -> …
I’m sure most everyone currently in their college years can remember back to the days when we would log onto AIM after school, waiting to talk to all of our friends with names like xxrockonnxx and smiliegurl175… Well, over the years, the means of social communication has changed quite a bit. From the early days of AIM came the first really popular social platform that brings many people back to the dramatic days of middle school – MySpace. Personally, I never had a MySpace. My parents wouldn’t let me make an account, so naturally it took on the alluring quality of forbidden territory and I was resigned to sneaking onto the site at the local library every now and then.
In retrospect, I think I’m glad that I never got involved in the whole MySpace fad; I knew couples to break up over MySpace photos, friendships to dissolve, and anyways, I didn’t like the layout of the website from the start. Having known a few kids in high school at the time, I ended up gravitating toward another site altogether, which I thought was so uncool at the time – Facebook. I was only a middle schooler, making up a fake University email address (which you needed to register for Facebook back then) just so that I could feel included. Which worked out really well when nobody else even knew what Facebook was…anyways :)
The funny thing to think about now is that I can remember a time when I only had 2 friends on Facebook and no one had the slightest clue about what an impact this exact site was going to have on the future of our generation. After a couple weeks, I let my Facebook go inactive and I think it eventually deactivated because I never used it. A few years down the road, however, Facebook came back into the picture, and this time full force. It seemed to be the thing that was gonna stick, especially after the MySpace/Facebook battle was fought and good ol’ FB came out the champ. For a few years, Facebook was the main distraction that we all faced, and its audience was primarily older teens. In fact, you had to be thirteen in order to register. Now, I don’t know about everyone else, but it seems as though it began filtering to the younger middle schoolers who, of course, wanted to be included and made up fake birth years in order to get their own page. Shortly after the youngsters came a wave of the new Facebook audience…parents. People of our parents’ age began to realize that they cold use Facebook as a sort of “life reunion” with everyone that they ever cared about in their pasts. My own mom was definitely addicted for a few weeks after registering, and she kept finding old high school friends and childhood buddies who she hadn’t spoken to in years. By now I even know several grandparents with Facebook, keeping tabs on their grandkids and children.
I’d say it was somewhere around this time that Twitter became big. Facebook began making changes, some essential ones, that not every user was pleased with, and as the novelty of Farmville, MobWars, and BumperStickers wore off, users apparently found it much more efficient to be able to update their Twitter feed with several updates a day rather than spamming their Facebook friends. Where Facebook friends had no choice, Twitter allowed people to “follow” one another…in my mind, giving you the option of whose life details you wanted to put up with. Hashtags began flying left and right, and even Facebook integrated the @ symbol so that you could tag people you were with, much like Twitter’s clever interface.#clevertwitter #iseewhatyoudidthere