Top 10 Powerful Moments That Shaped Social Media History Over the Last 20 Years

How people use social media has changed as well. Here’s a look at 10 powerful moments that shaped the social media history. But since we’re celebrating the positive impact of social media on people’s lives and on the world for this campaign, these are all particularly meaningful and important moments in the social media history. Feel free to jump to a certain moment(s) in the social media history! But something else happened that day… Jeff Krums tweeted: http://twitpic.com/135xa – There’s a plane in the Hudson. #BlackLivesMatter Over the past several years, social media has become an important communication tool for political groups and social movements to organize and take action. Used more than 12 million times, the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter is the third most-used Twitter hashtag around a social cause. Haiti is just one of many cases where social media played an integral role in disaster relief. Here’s to 20 more years of powerful, wonderful, and world-changing social media history (and beyond!) We’re also hosting five exclusive Facebook Live chats throughout the day, check out the awesome schedule we have planned below!

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Do you remember your first social media profile? Or, how about your first social media post?

My first profile was on Myspace, my first friend was “Tom from Myspace,” and my first post was something like, “Myspace is awesome!”

The rest is history.

Social media has changed and evolved so much since the early days, it’s almost hard to believe how far we’ve come. How people use social media has changed as well. Gen Zs (now beginning to enter the workforce) only know a world with social media, compared to their counterparts – Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers – who can still fondly remember back to the days of snail mail and dial-up modems!

In light of #SMDay (6/30/2017), we’re teaming up with Bitly to share stories and celebrate the positive impact that social media has had on individuals, businesses, and the globe over the last 20 glorious years – all using the hashtag #impactofsocial. Check out the details at the bottom of this post about how you can join in on the fun!

Here’s a look at 10 powerful moments that shaped the social media history.

Let’s dive in!

10 Powerful Moments That Shaped Social Media Over the Last 20 Years

Top 10 powerful moments that shaped social media history

There have been so many wonderful moments over the last 20 years on social media that it was quite a challenge to boil them down to just 10! But since we’re celebrating the positive impact of social media on people’s lives and on the world for this campaign, these are all particularly meaningful and important moments in the social media history.

Feel free to jump to a certain moment(s) in the social media history!

Let’s count down to the top moment in the social media history!

10. The Birth of Facebook

Facebook, the social media network that has an incredible two billion monthly active users (nearly a third of the earth’s population), is the only network that I’ll mention in this post for moments-sake. Given its sheer size, the impact it has made on families, friends, businesses, and world events, I felt as though I might be remiss without a mention of Facebook somewhere!

It’s amazing to imagine what the world might be like if Facebook had never captured the hearts and minds of so many people the way it did. One of my favorite Facebook moments, in particular, is during an early 2004 interview on CNBC with Mark Zuckerberg:

The anchor asks: “Now there’s a new form of cyber matching making, college networking websites. Is this perhaps the next big thing? The Facebook. Mark, if someone was to put the question to you about the magnitude of what you’ve launched; how big do you think your product or service is?”

We all know the rest!

A short six years after this interview (2010), Zuckerberg would go on to become Time’s Person of the Year along with many other accolades along the way. Facebook has changed the way we interact and communicate on all levels and only time will tell if another network will come along and take its place in social media history.

9. Miracle on the Hudson

It was January 15, 2009 when U.S. Airways Flight 1549 took off from LaGuardia Airport in New York and struck a flock of birds on the way up. Moments later, both engines were lost and Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, along with his co-pilot, Jeff Skiles, were asked to pull off the miraculous landing.

When the plane finally landed safely in the frigid Hudson River waters, all 155 passengers on board were safe. The “Miracle on the Hudson” has been called the most successful ditching in aviation history.

But something else happened that day… Jeff Krums tweeted:

http://twitpic.com/135xa – There’s a plane in the Hudson. I’m on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy.

— Janis Krums (@jkrums) January 15, 2009

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey told CNBC in 2013 how that changed Twitter and the way people get news.

It changed everything. Suddenly the world turned its attention because we were the source of news—and it wasn’t us, it was this person in the boat using the service, which is even more amazing.

One small tweet began the Twitter revolution. Hundreds of millions of people now turn to Twitter as a source of news, a place to build a following, a place to share your stories and connect with others.

Twitter is also the platform that our co-founder, Joel Gascoigne, successfully built Buffer on back in 2010! This powerful moment in social media history has a special place in our hearts.

8. Going “Viral”

How many of you have sat around with friends or family and binge-watched several classic YouTube videos in a row? I know I have!

What is now one of the largest social media networks on the planet (more than 1.5 billion people log in every month), started with a few viral hits and began a trend that today we might call, “going viral.” This launched YouTube into a massive entertainment hub – complete with TV streaming, movies, music videos, tutorials, celebrities, vloggers, and of course, viral videos.

Let’s take a look at three early videos that helped to shape the viral side of social media history:

Charlie Bit My Finger (Published: 5/22/2007 – 851,140,074 views)

“Chocolate Rain” (Published: 4/22/2007 – 113,787,749 views)

Numa Numa (Published: 12/11/2006 – 26,800,130 views)

Honorable Mention: “Lazy Sunday”

In December of 2005, the first “viral video” appeared online under the name “Lazy Sunday.” It was the second-ever SNL Digital Short aired and featured cast members, Chris Parnell and Andy Samberg. Following its appearance on SNL, the video appeared on YouTube and was viewed more than five million times until February 2006 when NBC Universal asked the site to remove it.

7. Ellen’s Selfie (and #NuggsForCarter)

Ellen DeGeneres’ selfie that took the social media world by storm is the epitome of everything that is awesome about social media.

If only Bradley’s arm was longer. Best photo ever. #oscars pic.twitter.com/C9U5NOtGap

First, it is the fact that this photo is in “selfie” form which has come to be a staple of how photos are taken and shared across social media platforms. Two, it shows just how light-hearted, yet powerful social media can be. A smiling group of beloved actors, actresses, and performers has the ability to touch the lives of the more than 3,400,000 people who retweeted it and the millions more that saw it. For more than three years, Ellen’s selfie held the title of the most retweeted tweet of all time.

That was until…

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