In 1997, MacroView made what is now recognised as the world’s first social network called Sixdegrees (look it up, I hadn’t heard of it either!) which reached out to 3 and a half million users. Although it was basic, the structure was there, allowing users to interact with friends and family throughout the world. The site paved the way for a world of profiles which allowed you to reach out to all those people you’d promised to stay in touch with from school - soon reminding you why you made the conscious decision to never speak to them again.
Over the next 6 years a series of early social networks were developed which gained favour by the millions - before they moved on to the next one. It wasn’t until 2004 that the world’s prayers were answered in the form of Facebook, allowing the world to communicate and share their opinions without the nightmarish task of physically talking to someone (makes me shudder just thinking about it!).
With this new world of ROFLs, selfies and the ability to share memories that you had tried so hard to bury (that New Year’s Eve was always set to come back and haunt you), Facebook has brought us into a new age of having few secrets and, for many people, having to be very careful about what they are tagged in, tweeted about and even what they read. 79% of global companies use social networking as a tool, with 20% using all of the major social networks not only for research or marketing, but for researching potential new employees and even new customers. And with Social Media set to be re-designing tools such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems to be built around it, maybe now is a good time to look at how you use social media.
At this moment your current employer might not care less about where you were seen planking or what your thoughts were in regards to the latest Twitter trends (#freebieber… really?) but your next might take a very different approach!