History of the internet and social media

History of the internet and social media

History of the internet and social media

History of the Internet and Social Media

If you look at the development of the internet as we know it, three things stand out: Technic, offer and behaviour. It starts with technical innovation, such as the first email and the first major bulletin board. That changes the way we look. Then there will be new offerings, such as XS4all, the first Dutch internet provider. The market breaks open. Other players follow and the entire playing field changes. Consumer behavior is evolving: we are going to use more internet, social media, 4G. Pay attention to these 3 things, technology, supply and behavior, and you will immediately see how the history of the internet is playing out. It is then easy to see which direction we are heading: what technical innovations are there? What offer is there? How do we respond to this as consumers with our behavior?

Since when does the internet exist?

Simple question, but the answer depends on the definition you use:

  • The very beginning of the internet: On October 29 1969 10.30 pm PST (Pacific Time, is 9 hours later in Amsterdam CEST, so 7.30 am on October 30, 1969) it became first internet message ever (“lo”) sent by UCLA programming student Charley Kliney from Boelter Hall 3420, via ARPANET, the forerunner of the Internet.
  • The Birth of the WWW: It WWW is a number of technical conventions (URL, HTML, HTTP) that 'somewhere' in 1989 by internet grandfather Tim Berners-Lee was developed. On August 6, 1991 he posted a brief overview of the WWW project on the newsgroup alt.hypertext. This is how the WWW became publicly accessible, which is why many see this date as the birth date of the worldwide web.

The run-up

Tim Berners Lee

Tim Berners-Lee, grandfather of the internet. (source: CERN)



First message ever sent between two computers via ARPANET: “lo”

First email sent

1978 First bulletin board: to inform friends about appointments, announcements and share information. The first virtual community and the first emergence of social media.
1979 First major bulletin board: Usenet. For exchanging messages and files. Actually the first real social media, but without profiles, text-based.
1985 Start from America Online Service: This pioneering American Internet service provider is the beginning of the Internet for the first Americans online. Launch of dedicated online service for Commodore 64 and 128 called Quantum Link of Q-LinkAOL will grow to 20 million users by 1995.
1988 Nov 17, 1988: Netherlands connected to the internet. Center for Mathematics and Computer Science receives first direct e-mail in the Netherlands.


1989 Beginning of itWorld Wide Web (WWW) through Tim Berners-Lee


First website ever goes live. View it here

August 6th birthday of the WWW Tim Berners-Lee shares his WWW project on the newsgroup alt.hypertext (unfortunately closed due to spam)

  • First Browser Ever: Mosaic
  • Web pages
  • 200 web servers online
  • First Dutch public internet provider XS4ALL

In the beginning, the internet was mainly the domain of scientists and nerds. Developments went steadily, but please note: social media was already there in the form of bulletin boards. There was plenty of posting and files exchanged on this. This was a time of pioneering and discovery. Tim Berners-Lee is the grandfather of the Internet as we know it: he is the creator and founder of the WWW, he wrote the first web browser Mosaic and set up the first web server. A web server is a computer (or rather a program on a computer) to which you can send a request to get a response. With a browser you do just that: you go to a URL, which points to a web server, where you request to see the content. A connection is made: your browser and the web server have a whole conversation.

The start of the internet

Google screenshot 1998

google! search engine in 1998 


  • Start of Geocities: free personal homepages. Since then taken offline by Yahoo, but by Oocities.org still kept online as internet history. Check out my first ever website here: Worm tunnel. (now propped up by the Internet Archive).
  • 1500 web servers online
  • Digital city of Amsterdam
  • Start from Yahoo
  • Introduction ISDN by KPN


  • Start from Amazon
  • Start from Ebay
  • Start from Classmates.com, the first real profile site


  • Start from ICQ, the first stand-alone instant messenger (IM) to be widely adopted. (get a message sounded so)


  • 1 million websites
  •  Start of blogging
  •  AOL instant messenger goes live (AIM). In 2008, AIM had a market share of 35% in the United States.
  • The first video “badday.mpg” goes viral vi


Start from google


Start from MSN Messenger (get a message sounded so)


  • 70 million connected PCs
  • Attendance Napster
  • Attendance CU2
  • KPN offers ADSL On


  • Exploding the internet bubble (web 1.0)
  • Start from Wikipedia
  • Start sales iPods by Apple


  • Start from friendster, social network site with 1 million profiles
  • 61% of the Dutch has used the internet in the past 3 months


  • Start from Myspace: 3 million users in 3 months
  • Linden Lab launches Second Life
  • Start from LinkedIn
  • Start from iTunes
  • 3 billion websites


  • Start from facebook (student version of friendster)
  • Myspace beats friendster
  • Podcasting
  • Start from flickr
  • Start from Digg : social news website
  • Start from Hyves

Internet got off to a good start. Well… it wasn't until 2000 that ADSL was introduced. Anyone who was on the internet before that still remembers the endless cracking of the modem (quickly a minute) that first connected via the telephone. And you only had a 56k connection, so there was little speed in it. Now there were very few pictures before that too, so sites were light. ADSL really brought about innovation: the internet became visual. Icons instead of texts. And later streaming video came through, with the start of a video website where you could introduce yourself as a potential candidate for a vacancy: Youtube.

Second round internet history

muhammad_ali_selfie by Frank Haenen

Muhammed Ali selfie by Frank Haenen

“Every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003. That's something like five exabytes of data.”

Eric Schmidt, CEO Google


  • Start from Youtube
  • Attendance web 2.0
  • 8 billion websites
  • 79% of the Dutch have used the internet in the past 3 months
  • facebook starts with to advertise (more about advertise in Facebook)


  • Start from Twitter, microblogging
  • facebook accessible to all
  • 25 billion websites
  • 1 billion of the world's population uses the internet
  • Oct 9: Google buy YouTube for $1.7 billion (more on YouTube Marketing)


  • Microsoft buys shares facebook
  • Facebook launches facebook platform, for third-party developers
  • Apple launches iPhone:

  • 20% of the Dutch has mobile internet


  • facebook strives Myspace over in number of unique visitors
  • presidential candidate Barack Obama has more “friends” on Facebook and Myspace and followers on Twitter than opponent John McCain. Obama Becomes “First Social Media President”
  • Amazon launches Cloud service
  • Introduction HTML5
  • Launch groupon for group purchases
  • July 10: Apple introduces App Store with 552 applications
  • World of Warcraft has 11.5 million global users


  • facebook is number 1 social network with 200 million users
  • 'unfriend' is the word of the year in America (New Oxford American Dictionary)
  • Twitter is the first to share news Hudson River plane crash
  • Microsoft launches Bing
  • A quarter of the world's population uses the internet
  • 58 billion websites


  • facebook has 400 million users
  • Hyves lose it to Facebook
  • Introducing the Facebook like
  • google launches buzz
  • Apple launches iPad
  • Start Pinterest and Instagram (More about Instagram)
  • Ex-Facebook employee launches questions website Quora
  • 30 percent of the world's population uses the internet
  • Internet more important for news gathering than newspapers
  • 22% of the Dutch have a smartphone
  • March 1: NS offers free WIFI on the train

The Hudson River plane crash came first via Twitter outwards, then through other channels. That has caused a true revolution in the news field. A journalist has to be on Twitter, and new challenges now arise such as quickly verifying news before another person is pronounced dead who is still happily walking around.

History of social media

When and how did social media originate? What was the first social media? The history of social media parallels that of the internet. Usenet, since 1979, already allowed users to exchange messages and files. This resulted in discussions about sports, science, literature and music, and in particular illegal copies of games and software. In 1995 there was classmates.com, the very first profile site. Friendster.com in 2002 became the first true social media as we recognize it today with the first 1 million profiles, followed in 2003 by MySpace and LinkedIn. Facebook and Hyves in 2004 were therefore not so revolutionary, but built on earlier innovations and proven techniques.

Why Facebook won from Hyves

In August 2011, Facebook attracted more unique visitors than Hyves in the Netherlands. Facebook was more accessible because it was less extensive, and Facebook was internationally oriented. That is something that will certainly have played a role for the Dutch. Because those new holiday friends asked you if you had Facebook before you explained what Hyves was.

Third phase internet

monkey selfie

This photo is possible created by David Slaters… but taken by the macaque itself.


  • facebook has 550 million users
  • 65 million tweets per day
  • 2 billion videos viewed every day on Youtube
  • 52% of the Dutch have a smartphone (in Q4)
  • 14% of the Dutch has a tablet (in Q4), is mainly used for internet, e-mail and social media
  • #Egypt and #Jan25 are used on Twitter by young Egyptians to tell the world about the Egyptian revolution. Their government shuts down the internet. The internet bubble becomes painfully clear as a result, this explains TED talk from.
  • Launch Google Plus
  • Start Bloeise
  • Start Snapchat


  • 2 billion internet users worldwide
  • More than half of Americans ages 25-34 use social media in the office. A third of Americans aged 18-24 use social media in the bathroom.
  • Facebook has a billion users. 66% of the global Internet users use Facebook and 12% use Instagram
  • Nov 24: The most viewed video clip is Gangnam Style:

  • 60% of the Dutch has mobile internet
  • Start 4G mobile internet
  • E-commerce worldwide is at 1 trillion dollars (1000 billion dollars)


  • facebook has 1.1 billion users
  • Twitter has 500 million users
  • In Australia logged 34% through work, 13% through school, 18% in the car, 44% in bed, 7% in the bathroom, 6% in the toilet
  • Tweet from the International Space Station ISS
  • Edward Snowden Reveals NSA Monitors Global Communications
  • 94% of the Dutch have used the internet in the past 3 months
  • Introduction Netflix (TV on demand)
  • Hyves stops
  • MSN Messenger stops and switches to Skype
  • Facebook launches internet.org
  • 69% of the Dutch have a smartphone (Q4)
  • 44% of all Dutch people have a tablet (Q3), a total of 5.6 million tablet users


  • 85% of the world's population has Internet access, 42.4% of the world's population is Internet user
  • 25% of the world's population uses social media
  • Sep 17: 1 billion websites
  • 1.28 billion Facebook users
  • 72% of the Dutch has a smartphone
  • 56% of Dutch households have a tablet
  • KPN offers 4G for the whole of the Netherlands
  • Kickstarter starting in the Netherlands
  • Attendance The Internet Of Things
  • Facebook buys company Oculus Rift (VR), as well as WhatsApp for €19 billion


  • February 25: the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) speaks out in favor net neutrality.
  • India forbids internet.org from Facebook due to net neutrality
  • 1 June: 3.2 billion internet users worldwide, 45% of the world population
  • August 27: 1 billion Facebook users logged in in one day
  • Google X make an appointment with Sri Lanka for full coverage with free internet via Project Loon
  • 85% of the Dutch have a smartphone (Q4), most use in age category 12 and 19 year olds
  • €16 billion e-commerce spending (Thuiswinkel Waarborg)
  • Launch of Live Streaming Apps: Meerkat at 2015 SXSW Interactive Festival, Twitter buys Periscope and Facebook launches Live Video.
  • 2 million WiFiSpots and public hotspots via cable


  • Oculus Rift on the consumer market
  • 67% of Dutch households have a tablet
  • Most popular smartphone is Samsung (45%), followed by Apple (32%) and Sony (5%)
  • App developers earn $20 billion in 2016 from apps in the App Store
  • 1 June: 3.6 billion internet users worldwide, 49.5% of the world population
  • Microsoft buy LinkedIn for $26 billion
  • facebook adjusts algorithm against clickbait


  • January 22: American Advisor Conway defends false statement with the term “alternative facts
  • March 7th: WikiLeaks publishes vault 7 and shows how the CIA hacks. This results in ransomware attacks: on May 12 WannaCry and on June 27 Petya juni
  • facebook announces data exchange between Facebook and whatsapp; fined €110 million from the EU
  • 1 June: 3.8 billion internet users worldwide, 51.7% of the world population
  • October: #MeToo to report sexual harassment or assault.
  • December: Facebook indicates that excessive use of Facebook without interaction can be harmful.
  • Smartphone e-commerce: number of tenders via smartphone increased by 2017 in 2017 2017 72%.


  • 2018 declared the year of the chat robot.
  • January 1, 2018: 17,084,459 Dutch, of which 16,383,879 with internet access, (95,9%).
  • January 29: the increase in Facebook usage has stopped in the Netherlands. There are 10.8 million Dutch people who use Facebook, of which 7.6 million daily.
  • January: Facebook announces more news from friends and family in the timeline and less viral content.
  • August: Google launches Android with Digital Wellbeing. Reporting time spent per app and additional options to reduce notifications.
  • 1 August: Facebook launches new versions of the Facebook app and Instagram app with an activity dashboard. This allows users to see their usage.
  • August 28: Facebook admits that it has not done enough to spread propaganda and hateful messages in Myanmar that resulted in genocide. according to wired there were already warnings before 2014.
  • September the 17th: Apple launches iOS 12 with Screen Time. This allows users and parents to limit the time per app and device.
  • September 30th: WWW founder Tim Berners-Lee announces a new application: solid. This decentralizes the internet and gives users complete control over their data and privacy.
  • Ecommerce: Dutch spent € 23,7 billion in 2018.


  • March: 4.346 billion Internet users, 56.1% of the world population.
  • March 14: Apple launches ITP 2.1 (Intelligent Tracking Prevention) that blocks first-party cookies after seven days.

For now, we are far from the end. An interesting development is Kickstarter, a very successful crowdfunding platform. What's so interesting about crowdfunding? The need is set for the production and marketing. First it is checked whether there is support for it, then it is made and marketed. Marketing from some time ago was precisely aimed at creating the need, after the product had already been invented and made. This is therefore a major change, for which the range has now been expanded in the Netherlands.

Another development is the Amazon cloud service: This has made scalability affordable and instantly accessible to any website and ecommerce platform. As users, we especially notice that sites work faster and offer more functionalities. This makes Amazon the largest hosting provider in the world. (5x the size of all 14 competitors that come after combined).

This is the first in a series of blogs about the Basic knowledge of Online Marketing


3 Responses
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  • jip says:

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