Early Days The World Wide Web The Internet Goes Public The Dawn of Social Media Credits

The early internet was all research data and e-commerce--how did it get to where it was today?

Social media. It’s an integral part of our lives today, and it all began with a website called GeoCities. This site was very different from others at the time, because it allowed users to customize their experience. Today companies encourage users to create accounts, post content, download the app, and customize their profiles, but in the 90s this concept was very uncommon. GeoCities was one of the first sites to bridge the gap between users and creators, because it allowed users to create their own pages filled with photos, text, and information about their lives and interests. It was almost like an early myspace. It connected people all around the globe, even securing a spot as the fifth most visited site in the late 90s. Unfortunately, when the startup companies investors had poured money into without a second thought began to decrease in value, GeoCities went with them. It shut down for good in October 2009, but this concept lived on.

Now we see customization on almost every website. Even on pages intended only for viewing content, your experience is tailored to your personality. Companies store user data, carefully monitoring user activity on their site and others. They keep information on everything their users have watched or skipped, which posts they’ve interacted with, and what they like in order to decide what to show them next.

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