The Internet has gone through many phases of why and how it is used. Of course, online shopping was one of the first big pushes for the Internet, with year on year seeing increased sales, with 2009 reportedly becoming the first year in which online advertising over took offline advertising, in terms of revenue earned. We then saw the online dating market rapidly rise in popularity, with online dating becoming the new way to meet a potential love interest, something which now seems acceptable and not as “freaky” as some used to think.
We also saw the Internet become the new way to book holidays and find cheap flights and hotels, one of the reasons that the need for Travel Agents seems to have sharply declined, if the lack of them on the high street is anything to go for. And who would of thought that you could view a potential house to buy online, thanks to the rise in the popularity of property portals a few years ago buy worldwide facebook likes .
So, why have social media and networking sites gone from strength to strength this year?
Arguably, Friends Reunited was one of the first networking sites to really hit the big time, with ITV paying millions for it, and then of course losing millions when it later had to sell the website at a big loss.
YouTube has had another amazing year, with videos uploaded rapidly rising on an hourly basis, and the fact you can now watch TV programs from some of the leading channels on there as well. Once they got over the music copyright problems, you can now watch and listen to some of the leading music online as well. Since Google acquired YouTube for a reported $1.65 billion in 2006, the strength of this streaming social media website has just grown to measures most of us could never believe. Lets not forget, YouTube was not launched until 2005, which means in the space of around two years, it went from being worth nothing to billions, something all of us web entrepreneurs will hold onto!
Facebook launched in 2004, initially limited to just members of the founders University. 5 years later it is now the largest social networking and connection website for friends on the Internet and in 2008 estimated to have turn over a revenue of $300 million and is said to employ just short of 1,000 people, which is pretty impressive growth. 2009 was its busiest year, if not its most controversial, but more and more people are now signing up to Facebook, with its age range increasing beyond that of any other year. It was also the year that saw reports that it had now overtaken MySpace in terms of traffic, with more applications and mobile users than ever before.
And what a year it has been for Twitter! More celebrities than ever announced they Tweet, some even threatened to stop Tweeting then changed their minds about quitting. Amazing, founded in just 2006, three years on it now reportedly employs 70+ people and is now ranked one of the top 50 most popular websites according the Alexa with reports of around 6 million monthly users. Undoubtedly it has been the rise of celebrities and well known people now becoming public about using the site, but the unique way that Twitter allows you to communicate with like minded people or friends has really taken social networking to a new, and somewhat strange level.